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Three Time Management Tips for Project Managers

written by: C.D. Crowder • edited by: Marlene Gundlach • updated: 3/11/2013

A project manager is responsible for planning and overseeing the planning and execution of various project-related tasks. Each task incorporates many different resources functioning together. There are some basic tips that every project manager can use to manage projects effectively.

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    A Daunting Task

    Being a dynamic project manager isn't a difficult proposition, as long as you are able to effectively manage your time. The reason is simple: A project manager is responsible for planning and overseeing the planning and execution of various project-related tasks. Each task incorporates many different resources functioning together. That means being constantly asked to address various project-related issues, which is a daunting task. This creates an urgent need for being able to divide your scheduled working time to raise your productivity and that of the entire team.There are some basic tips that every project manager can use to create a more time-effective working strategy.

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    Effective Planning

    This may sound like the most repeated and conventional tip, but most people don’t realize how many different aspects planning entails. Being able to effectively plan means that you are successful at creating a streamlined working order and every project activity can be executed in an articulated manner. It includes controlling the time consumed for each assignment through its entire lifecycle. For effectively planning your time, you need to:

    • Set Targets — Specific time-bound goals should be set for each team member. The nature of the project in terms of its urgency should be clearly explained to every concerned personnel. This removes any scope for procrastination of work and hence delays in delivering the completed assignment.
    • Prioritize — It is essential that you are able to schedule more time for projects that are either critical or are bound to consume more time. For this, you need to create a hierarchy of various tasks in terms of their significance, so that more time can be dedicated for handling tougher assignments. This ideology has also been endorsed by a famous time-saving technique called the 80/20 Rule or the Pareto Principle. The philosophy here is simple: Choosing and executing tasks that would gain you the maximum recognition and help extract utmost productivity from your team should be at the top of your priority list.
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    Smarter Tracking

    Many project managers mistakenly micro-manage the various responsibilities they have delegated. This means that they are overly involved at every stage of a project in progress. It creates problems such as wastage of time and a feeling of insecurity among the team members. Once the job responsibilities and performance expectations have been clearly defined, a Project Manager needs to merely supervise the arterial points of the workflow.

    The idea is here is not to decrease the amount of management but to make it smarter, more productive, and time savvy. There are a number of project management tools like software applications being used by tech-friendly project managers. Their purpose is to essentially eliminate the need to be involved at every step of carrying-out a task. Instead, they can simply oversee the execution of various project-related tasks across various teams, glance at team performance levels, and send out messages or reminders to those who are lagging behind.

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    Eliminate Wasted Time

    Most businesses are guilty of blindly following many established working patterns like holding regular team meetings or planning activities at the workplace in the name of employee ‘recreation.’ However, it makes better sense in evaluating the eventual productivity of such activities.

    • Are team meetings being held just to maintain an organizational norm?
    • Are team members unwilling to participate in workplace ‘fun’ activities?

    Solution — The emphasis should be to tweak such time-consuming patterns towards being more time-friendly. This can be done by reducing the duration of team meetings or having fewer but more engaging recreational activities. As a result, you can still adhere to company policies, maintain compatibility with the team members and save considerable time.

    Time management is a skill that has become essential for all project managers as the pressures for being more effective at workplaces are increasing with every passing day. However, most of the mentioned tips cannot be adopted overnight — they need to be incorporated gradually, after tweaking them to suit individual working styles and workplace demands.