Time management is a crucial part of success as a project manager. When your role requires you to wear many hats, as project management does, it’s important to be deliberate with you how spend your time.
Often it can take months (or years) of experimentation to develop the perfect time management system for your work style. To help you get started, keep reading for 5 time management strategies our Perficient project managers employ to find project success.
Try them out and see the difference!
1. Templatize Your Week
Create a reusable, weekly template that includes all your workstreams and regular meetings. At the start of the week, copy the template, label it for the current week, and fill it in with your to-do’s, priorities, and follow-ups. As you complete an item, cross it off, add the date completed, and move on to the next item until you’ve finished everything in this the template. Copy any outstanding items into the next week’s template to complete.
Hint: Order items by priority, so you can address the most important tasks first.
2. Set Reasonable Goals for Your Day
As a PM, you’re stretched in many directions, and your priorities can change throughout the workday. So, don’t try to tackle everything in one day. Instead, identify the most important/deadline driven tasks, and work your way through those. Any items you don’t finish that day – communicate accordingly and pick them back up tomorrow. If you pile too much onto your plate, it’s hard to prioritize – try to avoid this by setting achievable daily goals for yourself.
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Hint: If you have a large item that will take multiple days to finish, break it up into smaller tasks you can track until the item is fully completed.
3. Use Your Calendar to Track Deadlines & Block Off Work Time
Your calendar should be the source of truth for your time management. Odds are, you always have it pulled up – why not maximize it? In Outlook, you can add Appointments to your calendar week to track delivery deadlines, follow-ups, and reminders so all your time-sensitive tasks live in one place. Mark these as “Free” to keep your calendar appearing available.
Have a large task that requires heads-down time? Create an Appointment for an hour or two & mark as “Busy” to make sure you allocate enough time in your day to get it completed.
Hint: Find a method that works for you to mark these Appointments as completed. I like to gray out my finished tasks using the Categories option.
4. Use an Agenda in Every Meeting
Agendas are key to efficient meetings. Even if you don’t send out a formal agenda, create one for yourself to reference during the call. Use your agenda to keep the meeting focused on the most important topics and limit unnecessary tangents. Add key talking points you’d like to cover during the meeting and keep track of action items for the team, taking notes on your agenda throughout the meeting.
Hint: Store the meeting agendas in a central location (like OneNote) so that you have a repo of meeting notes to reference at any time.
5. Use Downtime to Prepare Emails & Teams Posts
If you find yourself with free time in your workday, make the most of it. Use your downtime to prepare communications in advance. This is the perfect time to author Teams posts, email communications, or other templates for the coming weeks. Then on busier days, you won’t have to worry about crafting a brand-new post – just copy & paste!
Hint: Friday afternoons are a great time for prep like this.