Manage Projects Before They Manage You


6 Ways to Make your Days More Productive

When you manage projects, you must have in place an effective system to help streamline your daily processes. More than ever before, the number of distractions is legion as we multitask our way through Facebook photos, social media distractions, text messages, online chats and emails by the dozen. It’s easy to whittle away the hours hunched over your computer while getting very little done. When you see time as your most valuable commodity, you use it more wisely. Time is a terrible thing to waste, so here’s how to manage projects like a boss!

Get organized

You will find it easier to manage projects if you start each day with a to-do list. It is said that work expands to fill the time allotted to it, so mapping out a basic structure for your day will help you to get tasks done in a timely fashion. Plot your day in a list in your diary, on your phone, in your online calendar—use any format that blows your hair back. To successfully manage projects you need to list your tasks for the day in order of priority. Stick to the list and don’t be distracted by shiny new tasks that look more interesting.

Power Half Hour

Yes, those long lists of emails and other tedious administrative tasks do sap the lifeblood out of you, but putting them off until you have a huge pile and then spending a horrible day doing them is not the way to properly manage projects. In your to-do list, set aside a couple of power half hours. During these half hours, you must be an efficiency fiend. Make phone calls, answer emails, organize, arrange and delegate. When you only have to do it for half an hour, you’ll be amazed at how tolerable it becomes. Getting these things done means your team is more organized, client queries are answered and events are arranged without you really feeling the drag of administrative duties. A word of caution: When you are being amazing during your power half hour, concentrate on one thing at a time. Do it well, do it once.

Limit Distractions

When you manage projects, you don’t need to check your email, your phone, your social sites and your watch every five minutes. Close all those open websites that you find distracting. Check all these things during your power half hours and don’t waste time with them the rest of the day. When you manage projects, you must delegate tasks to your team members and then trust them to take care of it. Don’t check up on them all the time. Encourage independence.

Face time is best

When you manage projects, you have to be a master at communications. You have to manage a team, deal with upper management and keep clients informed while organizing, coordinating and troubleshooting. Emails and texts are great in a pinch, but there’s nothing like face-to-face communication. It takes less time and is far less likely to be ignored than a note in the inbox. When you want something done or when you want to communicate clearly, do so in person. It may take a little more effort initially, but it will save you time (and probably money) in the long run. When you manage projects, there’s nothing like the personal touch for a job well done.

Just say no

It sounds easy doesn’t it? But when you manage projects, you may feel like you need to take on every task assigned to you. The thing is, no one really notices how hard you work, but they will notice when you manage projects successfully. If you want to be the best, then only manage projects that you can do well. Saying no to work you can’t handle will be difficult at first, but you will soon get the hang of it, and you and your ability to manage projects will be better for it. When your plate is full; just say no to new tasks.

Take a break

If you are feeling overwhelmed, the last thing you have the time for is a break, right? Wrong. To manage projects effectively, you have to be on top of your game. Take regular breaks throughout the day and you will return to work with a fresh perspective and renewed vigor. The same goes for holidays, weekends and evenings. While everyone has to work overtime at some point, doing so regularly will compromise your ability to work effectively. Get enough sleep, eat well, exercise and take time off if you want to manage projects successfully.

Successful project management means making the most of your day. Having these policies in place from the start will help you to limit distractions and spend each minute of your day productively.