Have you ever had the feeling that everything in your to-do list has maximum priority? If yes, which method do you use to identify what can be postponed?
Being a project manager, you know that managing project timelines is crucial; with a correct and realistic plan you will be able to work better, and all your team as well, if organized, will give its best.
There are several methods for improving work time management, each one focused on a different aspect of the problem: minimizing interruptions, identifying realistic deadlines, correct project planning, and organizing activities according to their importance. You have to find the method that best reflects your work strategy to maximize productivity.
Here are 3 effective methods that will help you improve your organization:
Define real priorities:
You think to have a high priority to-do list, but sometimes what is urgent can be confused with what is really important. Thanks to instant messaging systems such as Skype or Slack, working together with the team has become much easier, however, the number of interruptions has grown exponentially, with the result that you often receive urgencies that were not yours. The same e-mail, if used as a to-do list, introduces an incorrect concept of urgency, transmitting a sense of rush away from reality. The last mail always seems the most important.
You need to learn to recognize what is really important, what is urgent and what can be postponed.
The best moment to set and categorize your priorities is in the morning, as soon as you arrive at the office, even before checking your inbox.
To determine if a to do is really important you need to make some considerations about its effort, its due date, and its cost. Properly planning your job will greatly help you improving work time management, when a project has a clear end date and your effort has been established, you will be able to define its importance more easily.
How much is missing at the end of the project? How much time do I need to close this activity? Can I postpone it?
Once the sequence of project activities has been established, you can analyze the urgencies by placing them in the list already created. In general, interruptions are perceived as urgencies and must therefore be minimized. If an urgency, interrupting your concentration on a specific activity, leads to waste resources and reduces your productivity, it must be postponed. It is therefore important to use some strategies to minimize interruptions, for example check mail only in the morning and after lunch or use tools that tell your colleagues that you can not be disturbed.
Ask for help and delegate:
If you cannot complete an activity within the established schedule without delaying the project, it is important to ask for help. Hiring a colleague with a lower workload can save the project from an undesirable delay. In general, whenever possible, it’s always a good idea to involve and delegate your team. In this case, controlling their workload is crucial, not to overburden those who already have a dense to-do list.
A method that works very well is to analyze the list of priorities in a shared meeting so that you can balance tasks across all project resources. This improves the management of the entire team’s work time by maximizing productivity and improving team culture.
Using an agile approach to project management, for example, greatly helps the entire team to work on the time allocation and distribution method. This method requires that the team meets regularly to analyze deadlines on a small and selected activity list. By dividing the entire project into recursive steps it will be easier to keep control.
To organize your team’s activities, it can be of great help to use a tool that tracks your things to do and lets you set up priorities. Writing a list of activities on a paper is risky: every change requires effort and you can not show it to anyone who works with you in real time.
If you rely on a software to manage your project timings, it will be easier to have a look at what to do and when, for yourself and for your team. For example, by entering a project with milestones, you will receive a notification when approaching, that will allow you to act promptly in case of delays, or by entering assignments to all resources, you can facilitate communication and swap activities, speeding up the process.
Another advantage, planning your activities with an ad hoc tool, is to be able to control your colleagues’ workload by identifying who is less committed, as well as having a history of how much they spent dealing with certain activities for an increasingly precise and realistic organization.
By following these simple work time management tips you will learn how to manage your processes better:
- Create a list of realistic priorities and minimize interruptions / urgencies: learn to identify important things against urgent things/interruptions
- Share your tasks with your team by optimizing time: learn to balance work within your team, count on your colleague and delegate.
- Use a project management software to maximize productivity: rely on a tool that can help you checking your ordered to-do list, keeping you focused on what has to be done.
If you want to learn more about how a project management software can help you, download Twproject and begin to improve your organization right away.