5 tips for Improving your Time Management
On projects, time is the most sacred resource. It’s limited, that’s why it’s a “project” as opposed to “operational” work which is on-going. So it’s imperative that you have good time management skills to cope with the volume of work ahead. Here are 5 tips to help you manage your time better than before:
Tip 1: Get rid of the clutter
There’s an old saying and it goes like this: “a busy desk makes a busy mind”. As a project manager, you don’t want a busy mind. You want a clear mind that remains sharp throughout the day. So start clearing your mind by clearing your desk and office space. Make it paperless if possible. You will feel refreshed, focused and sharper than before.
Tip 2: Bin the Post-its!
Do you have tons of post-it notes that are constant reminders of things to be done? And when they’re important, you stick them to your monitor? Many people do it, but it’s not good time management. The reason why is that it’s pretty hard to prioritize 20 post-it notes, so you end up only working on the ones that are in front of you rather than the ones that are the most critical to the success of your project.
Collate all of the post-it notes from your desk, car and pockets and create a single “To Do” list in Microsoft Excel. Then bin the post it notes. You will end up with a clear desk and a single list of things to do. That’s a great start towards proper time management.
Tip 3: Who shouts loudest
People with poor time management skills adopt the “who shouts loudest” principle. Those who shout loudest get their work done first. But if you have a single To-Do list and you’ve prioritized your work accordingly, then you’ll always follow the priorities in your list, and not those coming from people in emails, phone calls and text messages. Suddenly you’re the one who determines what gets done and when, not others.
Tip 4: Create a work schedule
Now you have a clean desk and a single To-Do list. You’re now ready to create a work schedule. Look at the month ahead and plan your time carefully. Make sure that the important items are scheduled to be done first. Never fill your calendar more than 80%, so that you’re available when unexpected tasks crop up.
Tip 5: Stick to it
It’s hard, but stick to it. Keep your desk clear. Keep a single To-Do list and update it daily. And if you have more than 5 post-it notes on your desk, then you know you’re getting back into clutter. Keep a focused mind and work smart using these simple but effective time management tips.