Project managers are often racing with time. After all, it’s not easy to be responsible for everyone’s schedules and ensure they stick to them. Unforeseen hindrances and issues can also arise anytime and disrupt the entire project’s timeline. But unforeseen or not, any issue can take up a lot of time to resolve for effective project management. Moreover, effective communication required to ensure efficient project management can also take up time.
But there are a few tried and tested tips that project managers can utilize to save the time they spend on management in urgent situations or otherwise. If you are a project manager, you can significantly benefit by applying these tips at work under various circumstances. So without further ado, let’s take a look at some clever time-saving tips:
Make a Schedule and Stick to It
Nothing can save time more than planning a schedule and sticking to it. However, this time-saving tip cannot if you don’t share the schedule with the rest of the team.
As a project manager, you are already responsible for dividing the project into smaller tasks and making a timeline for these tasks. The tip works as an addition to this job responsibility. When arranging the tasks of the project as per the order they need to be done, you only need to set a deadline for each task. With only one additional step, you will create a project schedule.
However, creating the schedule is not enough; the real effort is sticking to it. But you can make this step easy through the following measures:
· Setting a realistic deadline for each task. Don’t try to please the client by setting unrealistic deadlines for the project. Ensure that each task gets done as best as possible so that no complications arise during the quality assessment.
· Next, select those people for your project team who you know are punctual and responsible with their work.
· Third, share the schedule with the team before sharing it with the client. Ask them to inform you if they find any unrealistic timelines in the schedule so that you can tweak them before sharing them with the client. However, don’t tweak the schedule for the wrong reasons.
Once the team agrees on the project schedule, you can share it with the client and get it approved. It would help you save time communicating with the team later on and stressing about the deadlines.
Reduce Distractions for Yourself and Your Team Members
As a project manager, you cannot avoid interruptions as you wish. Every communication goes through you, and you need to stay in touch with everyone. But that doesn’t mean that you can let it affect your focus and miss the deadlines you set for yourself.
The Pomodoro technique is a great tool to reduce distraction for oneself. Since the focus period lasts only twenty-five minutes, you can easily get back to whoever called or texted you when you put your phone on silent to focus on the work. There won’t be a delay in communication, and you will be able to meet your deadlines efficiently. You can also allow team members to communicate amongst themselves to resolve small matters.
While you may not always be in a position to reduce distractions for yourself, you can certainly do so for your team members. It can be easier if your team works from the office. You can encourage a productive and quiet environment at the workplace. Let employees listen to focus music or work in quiet as they please. Limit the breaks and conversations for a couple of hours with fifteen-minute breaks.
If there are shared resources among different projects, schedule a no-interruption time for them to meet deadlines for each project easily. You can also encourage your team members to utilize the time-saving tip of Pomodoro to become more efficient with their time.
Learn to Negotiate Time
Project management is all about meeting deadlines and a shortage of time can make project managers stressed and waste time. After all, the firm that promises the client to deliver their project in time is the one the client selects. But it doesn’t have to be that way. As a project manager, you can greatly benefit by learning to negotiate time during pitch meetings. Besides saving yourself and your team from pulling all-nighters at work, it will also allow you to deliver high-quality work.
Moreover, if the client needs changes in the project after the project has been approved, you can either negotiate the deadline to accommodate the changes or simply say no to the client. Here are a few ways to implement this time-saving tip efficiently:
· Saying no to clients can be the most challenging situation. However, effective communication is also honest communication. You can indirectly say no to a client by informing the client of the cost and time that the changes require. Instead of accommodating and compromising, you can ask the client if the new cost and deadline work for them. This way, the client would allow you the additional time and keep from tweaking the project any further.
· Saying no to supervisors can also be necessary for certain situations. Instead of poorly executing more than your capacity and disappointing your bosses, let them know they will have to prioritize the deadline or the quality. You can then work according to their decision without stress about time.
Utilizing Digital Tools
Last but not least, utilizing digital tools can greatly help save time spent on project management. Project managers can utilize several applications and software to communicate, transfer data and information, hold meetings and discussions, and provide feedback. Built-in phone calendars and smart notifications can also help keep project managers on top of their game while saving their time.
However, if you utilize digital tools as a project manager, don’t forget to turn all work notifications off once you stop working at the end of the day. Constant communication and notifications can drain your mental energy and leave you exhausted in the long run.