The load of work that project managers have can never fit in the limited number of work hours in a day.
Making the most of 9 to 5 is what all project managers aspire for to achieve peak productivity and work-life balance.
But, to aspire for something and to actually achieve it are two different things.
When work time is not managed well to achieve the maximum output, project delays and burnout are likely to occur.
If you are a project manager looking for a solution to this persistent problem, you’ve come to the right place.
This blog draws light on the power of time management and reveals the top time management strategies that can help you manage projects and meet deadlines without putting in those extra hours or disturbing your work-life balance.
What Is Time Management?
Time management refers to the process of effectively utilizing the available time to plan projects and achieve specific tasks and activities. It ensures effective utilization of time to achieve maximum productivity with minimum wastage of effort and resources. Time management done right is the best recipe for getting more done in less time.
Importance of Time Management
Did you know that during the last 20 years, working time has increased by 15% and leisure time has decreased by 33%.
That’s quite an alarming number. And, that is why you need to work smarter (and not harder) to achieve more in less time.
Now, we’ll quickly have a look at some amazing benefits of managing your time the right way. Here we go!
1. Better Focus
Struggling to stay focused? Time management can help.
It’s hard to stay focused at work with constant distractions every 10 minutes. A good time management strategy makes sure that your entire focus is on the most critical tasks. The more focused you are in completing tasks that really matter, the better you perform, and the faster the projects are completed.
2. Higher Productivity
Eliminate regrets at the end of your day, thinking about putting in more effort, and close the day while feeling happier and content. Time management is a sure shot way to be in control of your workflow. Set tasks and give your all to achieve them in the predefined time. It will help in being confident of your work and delivering work as expected.
3. Less Stress
Inability to deliver quality content within the set timeline is one of the key factors contributing to daily stress at work. Solution? Time management. It helps you manage your day, or should we say work hours, prioritize critical tasks and stay focused on work that really matters. This prevents tasks from piling up and thereby reduces stress.
4. Reduces Procrastination
Time management refers to organizing and prioritizing your tasks so that you can accomplish goals on time. It eases how you execute your projects and also speeds up every task and activity that you commence. Managing time requires you to commit and take up tasks proactively.
5. Improved Performance
Enhance your performance tenfold simply by managing your time. With effective time management strategies in place, you can deliver more work than expected while putting in less effort to achieve the same amount of work.
Effective Time Management Strategies: Follow These 13 Methods & Meet Deadlines Effortlessly!
Want to manage time but struggling to do so? These powerful time management strategies will go a long way towards reaching your end goal. Let’s uncover 13 time management techniques that’ll surely help you manage your time in a better manner.
1. Always Have a Time Management Action Plan in Place
Executing a project without knowing what needs to be done is setting a path to failure.
No matter how easy or difficult a project is to implement, you must create a time management action plan. Right from when you take on a project, it is essential for you to:
- First, understand what your client wants as an end result
- Second, sit down with your team members and discuss the requirement at hand
- Third, ensure all parameters are covered in the discussion to know how to go about executing the project
- Last, create a detailed plan that includes who has to work on what and deliver it by when.
This time management action plan ensures that your project activities are streamlined to attain the set business objectives with a robust strategy in place.
Keep the project plan simple and accurate. Simply mention a who, what, when, and create a project timeline to ensure your team stays on track when executing the project.
Read more: Time Management Tips for Working remotely
2. Delegate Tasks & Keep Everyone on the Same Page
Having a full-proof plan is not enough to execute a project successfully.
Once a plan is made, it is essential to clearly define everyone’s role in completing the project in time. Every single team member must know what they need to do and by when so that the deadlines are met effortlessly.
For this, task delegation is essential. You must delegate tasks to the relevant team members and always mention the:
- Due date
- Task description
- Comments to specify any additional requirements
This way, it becomes easy to keep everyone on track and deliver work on time.
Categorize tasks based on priority and delegate them accordingly. Always make sure you assign tasks to the relevant teams, who specialize in implementing that particular part of projects.
3. Create & Maintain a To-Do List
This is crucial. Maintaining a to-do list may sound childish, but it is the best way to ensure you don’t miss out on any essential aspect of a project during the implementation process.
The ideal time to create this to-do list is when you have a clear idea of what the project is all about and how it needs to be implemented. A to-do list needs to cover:
- Categories of components to be implemented in the project
- Project category definitions
- Blueprint of how these categories will be implemented
- A clear definition of who will implement what
Creating a plan and a to-do list is different. Basically, a plan is a more elaborative “to-do” list. Whatever is mentioned in your to-do list is explained in detail in your project plan. So, the best way to go about this is to create a plan and pin-point the major events, and create a to-do list.
4. Stay Focused & Meet Daily Deadlines
No matter how focused you are as an individual, it is easy to get distracted from your work time and again.
There could be a personal emergency or just an annoying colleague who doesn’t let you work in peace. There can be a million reasons for you to lose your focus in your workplace.
But, no matter how distracted you get, it is crucial that you maintain your focus. Make sure you have a work calendar that gives you a clear picture of what needs to be completed on a daily basis. This way, you know what you need to do and what is the work committed for that one day.
So, it becomes easy to stay focused and complete the work instead of wasting time in activities that don’t matter.
Don’t get distracted easily. Focus on your work and no matter what, make sure nothing comes in the way. In case a colleague or any other issue affects your focus, simply close your eyes and count to 10. Get your focus back and continue working!
5. Automate as Much as You Can
Did you know that 73% of organizations worldwide are now using automation technologies?
Automation is here to stay. Will it take over your work too? Certainly not. But it will take away the unnecessary tasks so that you can concentrate on your main work.
So what can be these unnecessary tasks that we’re talking about?
These can be creating recurring tasks, scheduling appointments, sorting mails, extracting project reports, and generating invoices. These tasks are only a few of the many things that you can automate and significantly save time.
Automation lets you sit back and relax because all the menial tasks are well taken care of. Give your undivided attention to your ongoing tasks and achieve milestones faster. Just set it up and keep on working your way to successful project delivery.
6. Spend Your Time Right
Do you know how many times a day you tend to pick up your phone and end up scrolling for the next half an hour? Guilty? Well, we all are.
So, how do you go about it? The key is to know where you invest your working hours. Be aware that when you set your work aside and indulge in a conversation with your co-worker, pick up the phone but don’t start scrolling through it. Just attend the call or leave a message and get right back to work.
Try limiting activities not related to work. One is bound to get distracted. So what really counts at the end of the day is how you optimize your time and deliver the desired results.
Have you often wondered where your time flies?
Start by tracking each hour at work. At the end of each hour, determine the number and quality of tasks that you accomplished. Now, analyze and decide whether you could exceed your expectations in terms of quality and speed.
7. Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize!
Setting task priorities is one of the most relevant strategies for time management. Prioritization of daily tasks is essential to organize your daily or monthly work. A well-organized work schedule promises greater efficiency and timely completion.
Working with a prioritized list of tasks and activities will clarify which task demands absolute attention first and which task can be handled later in the day. If you go ahead with just a random order of tasks, the chances are that you might face urgent task requirements later in the day.
To avoid last-minute work, create a priority list. Layout your tasks for the month first, then categorize them as to which ones need prioritization for the first few days. Once you have categories, your work is halfway through. Now, take these categories one by one and prioritize tasks within them too. And voila! You have seamlessly prioritized tasks that ensure that you don’t ever have to be in chaos again at work.
Identify the tasks that need prioritization and start accomplishing them one by one. In case, urgent tasks come up, attend the urgent task first and get back to your priority list again.
8. Stop Glorifying Multitasking
Yes. Please stop it. While multitasking is an excellent skill that attracts praise at its very mention, do not glorify the skill when it comes to handling projects.
Why do we say that?
Going by the study, it is clear that multitasking lowers efficiency while focusing on merely getting things done. And, simply getting things done will not guarantee the successful project delivery.
Do away with multitasking. Start and finish each task before hopping on to the next. It will bring better clarity and help you accomplish each task with greater zest.
9. Clear the Clutter
Is your workspace – neat, clean, and inspiring. Or is it messy, cluttered, and dreary?
If your desk space sounds more like the latter, then it’s time to revamp your desk right away.
Clear those pens lying aimlessly on top of the other and put them in a case. Stack those scattered files one by one. Throw away the empty snack wrappers in the bin. Keep your note pads within reach and dust off the surface.
Guess what you have? A sparkling clean desk that keeps you in the right frame of mind and inspires everyday productivity. It will automatically increase your focus at work leading to better time management.
Declutter your desk. You cannot neglect the importance of a proper workspace. When you spend a good 9-10 hours of your day at a desk, the desk ought to be vibrant and inviting.
10. Use the Mighty Time Management Tool!
Never underestimate the reliability of a time management tool. It instantly elevates your productivity and performance.
Forget always being on your toes. A good time management tool creates tasks, assigns resources, and sets deadlines for all team members. You can use it to track the tasks on your plate, timelines for each task, and even monitor progress as you work towards achieving your daily goals.
It is a sure-shot way to ensure efficient time management and increased productivity with each task that you take up. The tool has also proven to reduce stress by organizing and scheduling all project tasks effectively.
Work smart with a robust time management tool. The tool allows you to automate most of your recurring tasks. Check progress and enhance productivity with an all-in-one time management tool.
11. Use a Timer
Setting a time limit for each task and activity allows you to minimize distractions and strive to complete tasks faster. It is one of the best practices for time management.
Identify the type of task at hand and determine an ideal time by when you should get done with it. Set a realistic time limit based on your past performance.
This technique ensures increased focus and determination to get to the desired result in the quickest way possible. By the end of each task, you will get the feeling of accomplishment and better productivity. And yes, you get to have a mini-break after achieving each task.
A timer can become your best friend. Set a realistic time limit based on your past performance. As you start setting timers and achieving tasks, you may even find yourself completing tasks much before the timer rings!
12. Breakdown Tasks
How often have you procrastinated on a particular task or project? Also, what do you think is the reason that you procrastinate?
We know why! Complex tasks and projects can be overwhelming and end up being picked up in the end.
However, here’s a solution. Break your tasks down into manageable subtasks. That’s it! It’s that simple.
You will see yourself gravitating towards accomplishing smaller tasks more often, and as you start taking up one task after another, you will soon complete a good number of tasks to achieve the project’s final goal on time.
Take it step by step. Divide your tasks into smaller ones. Prioritize the tasks and get started. You are bound to achieve more within a shorter period. It simplifies the complex task and makes it easier to execute.
13. Rethink & Revisit
Rethink and revisit your time management strategy. No matter how much of analysis has gone into your process, there’s always room for improvement, and rightly so. As you set a plan and get to work, you encounter roadblocks and get aware of the limitations of a specific strategy. Understand that it is okay to face such hindrances.
You must know that you can alter or change your strategy any time you feel necessary. Don’t refrain from adopting a new strategy if your workflow is not complementing the previous one. Take a step back and reset the strategy with a more appropriate one.
No one strategy works for all. If a particular approach worked amazingly for a specific person, that doesn’t mean that the same approach will work for everyone. Never fall for one size fits all. Analyze and select a strategy that best suits you and your team.
Time Management Stats & Figures
- The average manager spends three hours per day handling unforeseen interruptions and problems.
- Multi-tasking without time tracking decreases productivity to 45%.
- Employees spend four hours per week in meetings, and they consider more than half of those hours a waste of time.
- More than 34% say they waste between 2-5 hours per week on calls or meetings that don’t accomplish anything.
- It takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task.
Adopt Smart Strategies for Excellent Time Management
“Either you run the day or the day runs you.” -Jim Rohn
How you achieve your goals relies solely on your ability to implement effective time management strategies. The strategy that you select can depend on the type of project or your ability to utilize a specific time management technique successfully.
One of the most crucial aspects project members get stuck on is how to manage their time effectively. And the answer lies in implementing a good time management strategy.
With easy organization and prioritization of activities along with a robust time management strategy in place, meeting deadlines will be a cakewalk. Also, adopting a solid time management tool further eases timely task accomplishment. Remember, the more you plan your tasks, the less you have to work.
Q. What are the signs of poor time management?
- Missed deadlines
- Poor performance
- Rushing and impatience
- Poorly defined action items and goals
- Poor punctuality
- Delayed projects
Q. How can I learn time management fast?
Start with the basics such as keeping to-do lists and completing the tasks in a prioritized manner. Set an amount of time for a task and complete it during that time. Block your time for the task at hand. Avoid multitasking and go for delegation or outsourcing when needed.
Q. What are the basic principles of time management?
The most notable principles of time management are:
- Using automation for task allotment, tracking, and management
- Prioritizing the daily tasks
- Cultivating discipline
- Time blocking
- Grouping the similar tasks in a batch
- Staying organized
- Keep the mornings for the most important tasks
- Avoiding multitasking to avoid losing focus
Q. What is the 80-20 rule in time management?
Also called the Pareto principle, the 80-20 rule states that 20% of your activities account for 80% of the future results. Thus, the rule implies planning your goals and activities effectively to execute projects in the best possible way.
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