We all know that time management is the key to success, no matter what industry you’re in. But all seasoned project managers know that being able to manage your time properly is a HUGELY pertinent part of the job. There’s no way to keep a project afloat if you can’t keep yourself on a strict (and healthy) timeline. Most project managers aim to be as productive as possible with all available work hours, and work to eliminate time-wasters from their day to day.
There’s absolutely an overload of “time saving tips” online, but not all of them are realistic or helpful from a project management perspective. These are two of my favorite tips and tricks for getting everything accomplished, from one project manager to another:
Determine What Your Biggest Time Sinks Are (and then avoid them!)
The first step to becoming better with your time is to understand where you waste it. You know yourself better than anyone else, so observe yourself over the span of a few days. Take note of where you are spending your time. On days where it feels like you’re particularly rushed, analyze what behaviors led to you feeling this way. Some of the most common time wasters for project managers are:
- Emails (and other forms of communication). As project managers, we all know that it would quite literally be possible to spend an entire 8 hour day going back and forth via email exchanges. The same can be said about phone calls and texts.
- Casual Conversations. It can be easy to lose chunks of your day to casual conversation with the people in your work area. Think about it, having a ten minute conversation with 6 different people a day is an entire hour of your work day that you’ve lost.
- Micromanagement. We all know this feeling. As a project manager, it’s easy to want to be involved in every little detail of the project. But, every little check-in adds up, and before you know it, your worry about other people’s work has impeded on your ability to do your own.
Learn to Delegate
This is a similar line of thought as micromanagement. Project managers often get caught up in the all of the tasks that need to be completed, and may sometimes go so far as to do the work. But that’s not what you’re there for! You’re there to manage the progression of the project, so don’t feel bad about that. Learn to become comfortable with delegating all necessary tasks, and you’ll be surprised at how much smoother your days will run.
All in all, there are a million different ways for project managers to get a hold of their time management. But, the real key is checking in with yourself, and determining how you can be using your time more wisely!