As project managers, we all know that there is never enough time – but are we right? Is it conceivable that there is usually enough time, but we just don’t manage it well?

 

“How did it get so late so soon?” – Dr. Seuss

We also know that feeling – “I didn’t see the time going”, “I didn’t realise it had got so late”, and “I have so many things to finish before close of business”. At the same time, we all know effective people who get through their work within the normal working day, and still manage to lead a hectic social life as well.

It is time to take control of your own time.

To quote Drucker again: “Know where your time goes”.

Do you know where your time goes?

Do you even know what your time today was spent on?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, then you should! You owe it to yourself, and as a project manager you owe it to your profession.

 

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Exercise:

For the next 5 working days, keep a record of how you spend your time in 15 minute blocks, throughout your day. Keep it in your phone, or on your laptop, or in a notebook. At the end of the 5 days (and not until the 5 days have elapsed!), analyse your time under the following categories:

  1. Very productive
  2. Marginally productive
  3. Barely worth doing
  4. Waste of time

Having done this, if you find yourself mainly scoring 3s or 4s, then you have a time management issue. If this is so, continue this recording of your time into the future until you have sorted out the problem. If you apply yourself to this exercise, the problem will sort itself.

Do this privately. Don’t let anyone else see the results. That way you can be totally honest with yourself. It is only for your own benefit.

“Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.” – Winston Churchill

As a result of applying this you will:

  • be far more productive
  • be a much more effective Project Manager
  • feel more in control of your life
  • have a better work/life balance
  • be less stressed, less worried
  • be better company socially
  • be a nicer person
  • be more likely to improve your promotion prospects

 

“Heck, by the time a man scratches his behind, clears his throat, and tells me how smart he is, we’ve already wasted fifteen minutes.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

 

Article by Peter F. Drucker