Time is a commodity that we always need more of urgently, but there’s never enough of it. Don’t take the White Rabbit at Alice in Wonderland as your role model when it comes to keeping time, since if he had exercised greater time management he would not have been late all the time. Time Management is essentially the ability to organize and plan the time spent on activities per day. The end result of good time management is increased effectiveness and productivity. It is an integral part of project management and involves skills such as planning, setting goals and prioritizing for a better performance.Why Is It Important? Have you ever thought “I just lost an hour of my life and I will never get it back”? You probably did a lot of occasions.
There are a good deal of ‘time wasters’ in our daily (working) lives, which is why we need a way to manage our time better. Time Management is frequently associated with business, but you need this ability in every part of life. For project managers, it is particularly important to possess time management skills to be successful.A lack of effective time management can have a negative impact on a project in the long run. Time is one of the three triple constraints and any deviation from the schedule has an influence on the cost and scope of a project. Typically time really is money. Ineffective time management may also increase tension and frustration in the project manager and the team members. The key to good time management isn’t to work more, but to work more efficiently.
This means that you need to structure your time so you get more done in less time (without stress of course). A study from Stanford University found out that those who work more hours (more than 55 hours per week) do not actually get more done than those who work less than that. Here are some methods to manage your time more efficiently:Avoid distractions Today’s world offers a lot of distractions. Emails, instant messages, funny animal videos and so forth. It’s very important to eliminate these distractions while working so that you can focus on the important tasks at hand. This doesn’t mean that you’re never allowed to watch Maru jumping into a box, but there’s a time and place for everything. If you manage your time wisely you will get work done faster, which leaves more time to relax — and yes, watch cat videos. An effective planning procedure is to identify all the tasks that you need to do to complete a project. This can be achieved by making a to-do or task list. The next step is to prioritize these tasks. You can implement methods like the Pareto principle or the Eisenhower method to identify which tasks take less time, but create the most value (Pareto) or which are important and urgent (Eisenhower).
It’s much better to do the more complex ones first. Doing easier tasks at the end is more sensible, because it is less probable that they will cause delays. After you’ve identified and prioritize the tasks it is time to estimate how long it will take to complete them. Make certain that you include all constraints and other factors in your estimation. Most of the time things won’t go as planned, so include buffer times for unforeseen events into your project schedule. Also leave enough time for research, testing, meetings and other necessary activities. They are only human, which means they can’t work non-stop, but need breaks to recharge. Luckily, there are a lot of applications that help you track the time nowadays. One more advantage of ‘digitizing’ your schedule is that it reduces paper, which is not only good for the environment, but it also helps reduce the stress of having an inevitable paper chaos.Create a schedule After all of the planning and estimating, you can create a project schedule, which includes all tasks and their duration. I know I mention them a lot, but Gantlet charts are really a staple of project management that help you schedule activities and assign resources. For more complex projects, add a critical path to visualize which tasks are most important to finish the project.