By Abdulkabir Olatunji
You probably know someone that never seems to do things at the right time – they tend to wait till the proverbial last minute before trying to complete the task or whatever assignment it is. Very often, they fail to meet the deadline or deliver a poor job. This may end-up costing they or their team precious resources like money, time and the inability to complete other important tasks that they have on queue. Let us assume we have a restaurant and the chef is notorious for not completing meals on time even when they deliver quality meals. Several things are likely to happen – first, the restaurant might have to stay open for longer hours on busy nights and for every minute they stay open beyond their normal opening hours, they incur higher costs in terms of energy bills, potential overtime payments and fatigued or demotivated coworkers. Other negative effects include a high probability of lower customer satisfaction and a lower retention rate. These are just some of the disadvantages of not been able to manage time effectively.
Time management is an important skill for success in the modern world. However, many people struggle when it comes to managing their time effectively. There are a variety of reasons why this is the case, from procrastination to lack of planning. Here are some of the main reasons why many people fail with time management.
- Poor Planning – One of the most common reasons why people fail with time management is due to a lack of planning. Without setting realistic goals and deadlines, it’s easy to get sidetracked or overwhelmed. To combat this, it’s important to take the time to plan ahead and create a schedule that works for you.
- Procrastination – Procrastination is a major obstacle when it comes to time management. People tend to put off tasks that they find difficult or unpleasant, which then leads to a snowball effect of missed deadlines and missed opportunities. The best way to deal with procrastination is to break tasks down into smaller pieces and reward yourself for completing them.
- Poor Prioritization – People often fail to prioritize their tasks, which can lead to a disorganized and inefficient workflow. To avoid this, it’s important to identify which tasks are most important and focus on them first. This will help to ensure that you are working on the tasks that are most beneficial to you.
- Distractions – Distractions are another major problem when it comes to time management. People can easily get sidetracked by their phones, social media, or other activities. To avoid this, it’s important to create a distraction-free environment and limit your access to these distractions when you’re trying to complete a task.
In project management, there are three major objectives that any project should meet for it to be considered a success; completing the set goals for which the project was started which is its scope, ensuring that it is completed within budget and it is delivered on schedule which is mostly about time management. Getting the element of time right in project management is critical to staying within budget and effectively meeting the goals of the project (scope).
Time management ensures that every step of the project is completed on time and that there are no delays. It also helps to ensure that the project is properly planned and well-structured, so that tasks are completed in the most efficient and effective way. Time management also helps to ensure that resources are used efficiently, and that there are no wasted efforts or cost. It helps to ensure that the project is completed within the specified timeline and is essential in preventing delays thereby keeping the project on track. With proper time management, you can ensure that the project is managed in a way that is both cost-effective and efficient.
Time management is a critical skill for any project manager. As a project manager, you are responsible for leading a team, managing resources, and meeting deadlines. To maximize your time and get the most out of every day, there are a few key steps you can take.
First, prioritize the tasks that require your immediate attention. Identify what tasks are most critical for the project and those that can be delegated to other team members. This will help you focus on the tasks that need to be completed right away and leave the rest to others.
Second, plan ahead. Set deadlines and timetables for each task and make sure that everyone is aware of them. This will help to ensure that tasks are completed in a timely manner.
Third, delegate the right tasks to the right people. Not all tasks are suitable for everyone, so take the time to think about who is best suited to complete each task. This will help to ensure that tasks are completed efficiently and on time.
Fourth, use technology to your advantage. There are many project management tools available that can help you to manage your time more effectively. Utilize these tools to help you keep track of deadlines and resources.
Fifth, take breaks. You can’t be productive if you’re exhausted. Make sure to take regular breaks throughout the day and give yourself and your team time to recharge.
Sixth, ensure you open clearly agreed and understood communication channels that might include emails, project management software discussion platforms, phone calls or instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp. Physical meetings at least, once a week (where possible) to review progress and challenges are a great way to receive important feedback on issues that might affect your schedule effectively. Virtual meetings can serve the same purpose especially for teams that are in diverse locations.
As a project manager, it is essential to stick to a schedule. Not only does this help to ensure that projects are completed on time, but it also allows for better planning and organization of resources. Unfortunately, not sticking to a schedule can have a significant negative impact on the success of a project. Not sticking to the schedule can lead to costly delays. When a project manager fails to adhere to the timeline, it can cause delays in the completion of a project, which can lead to financial losses, strained relationships, and a poor reputation. If deadlines are consistently missed, the project manager might eventually find themselves out of a job. It can also lead to poor resource management and budget overruns. When project managers fail to stick to the schedule, they may not allocate resources correctly or accurately estimate the cost of the project. This can lead to budget overruns, which can be especially damaging for small businesses. Not sticking to a project’s schedule can lead to decreased morale among team members. When project managers fail to adhere to the timeline, it can be frustrating and demoralizing for team members who are trying to meet deadlines. This can lead to decreased motivation and productivity, which can be a major impediment to the successful completion of a project.
Time management is essential for any project manager. Without it, it is impossible to be successful in delivering projects on time and within budget. Effective time management can help project managers stay organized and increase efficiency, productivity, and ultimately, success. Here are some of the key benefits of effective time management for project managers.
- Improved Productivity: By managing their time more efficiently, project managers can get more work done in a shorter amount of time. This helps to reduce the amount of time spent on tasks and frees up more time for other tasks. By focusing on the most important tasks first, project managers can prioritize and complete tasks faster.
- Increased Focus: Time management helps project managers focus on the most important tasks and eliminate distractions. This helps to ensure that tasks are completed on time and that the project is on track.
- Better Decision Making: Effective time management helps project managers to be more informed when making decisions. With the right information and resources, project managers can make smarter and quicker decisions that will benefit the project in the long run.
- Improved Team Morale: By managing their time, project managers can ensure that the team is working at its best. This helps to create a positive work environment and improves team morale, which can lead to better results.
- Ability to Manage Risks Better: With good time management, you incorporate some slack into your schedule such that when unforeseen and unexpected events or circumstances that can derail your project come-up, you still have enough time to address them without going beyond schedule.
- Increased Confidence in Yourself: Project management is a tough job and it requires a project manager to be confident in themselves and their abilities. This confidence can then be shared by your team members across board making it easier to work on and complete the project as required.
- Opportunities for Career Growth: Whether within or outside your current organization, your chances of getting promoted to higher positions and taking-on bigger projects become greater when you are known as an effective time manager.
- Makes You a Better Leader: By the nature of the job, project managers are leaders and one of the critical skills of great leaders is effective time management. Mastering it is a good indicator of your leadership capacity.
- Helps You Maintain a Positive Attitude: Fewer things drain positivity out of an individual or team than having to stay longer on a particular task or project than is actually planned or required. It can lead to loss of confidence, morale and even depression. Good time management is great for your mental, emotional and physical health.
- Improved Work-Life Balance: With great project management skills, you get the chance to stay off work for longer periods and spend more time with family and friends as well as get the chance to pursue some of your hobbies and interests.
Time is a critical resource and as such, how you manage it can have a huge impact on your career, your relationship with family and friends as well as your health. In the context of the workplace, it is almost impossible to have a successful career without good time management – at the very least; you will not be able to maximize your full potential. It requires discipline, dedication and a strong will to manage time effectively. When it comes to completing projects on time, there is no substitute for dedication. Projects of any size can quickly become overwhelming if the necessary dedication isn’t present. In order to ensure that projects are completed on schedule and to the best of their abilities, project managers must be willing to put in the effort required to make sure that nothing is overlooked. The next key to keeping projects on schedule is to stay organized. This means that project managers must stay on top of their tasks, ensuring that nothing important to the success of the project is ignored. This includes regular check-ins and progress reports to ensure that all tasks are being completed in a timely manner and that any potential issues are being addressed. They must also be willing to make difficult decisions. Sometimes, this means putting in extra hours in order to meet deadlines or having tough conversations with team members about their work. Making the hard choices is often necessary in order to keep projects on track.
The best project managers understand the importance of timing to the success of their projects. From the initiation stage they seek to make realistic estimates for different tasks within their project plan, they also add additional time (slack) to manage contingencies or emergencies. During project execution they seek to maintain adherence to the schedule and use effective communication as a tool to keep up-to-date about how the project is going. Where changes have to be made, they are brave enough to make the decision and communicate them effectively with their team members. They lead by example and show the necessary discipline and dedication that is required to complete projects on schedule. These are things that make you a great project manager and you should try to improve your skills to attain this high standard of time management.
I wish you the best in this quest.