What is the most precious asset? I say it is time. Any job in professional services is based on usage of time, and that, of course, includes project management. Time is the ultimate equalizer. We all have 24 hours in a day, and it is what we do with those 24 hours that makes a difference.
It is very important to develop a work system to manage your productivity. This is true for your work life, but also for your personal life. A system well-developed will:
- Increase your productivity
- Increase efficiency
- Increase quality
- and reduce stress.
Too many persons think that working with no system is just as good. It is an illusion. It may have worked in the past (but often at the cost of efficiency, it is just that you could handle being inefficient at that time). As your career progresses, you must learn to master your usage of time and be focused on actual results. At some point, it is even essential to have a competitive advantage. If you don’t do it, then maybe others will offer the same service more efficiently.
I think that it is important if you want to be productive to free your mind from managing projects, tasks and issues. And that means having a system outside your head to manage your work. Yes, it is true that a pen and a pen could do it, but I am a strong believer IT systems, especially online system, to manage projects and team collaboration.
On this subject, PM for the Masses podcast has a good episode on Getting Things Done with David Allen
Forbes had this good article on the importance of taking control of your time. Among other things, the article explained the importance of knowing where you spend your time.
Want To Increase Your Productivity? Take Control Of Your Time
A friend of mine recently told me about a problem she was having at work. “I usually think I have enough time to get things done, but something always comes up and then I’m behind schedule on projects,” she said. “My boss spoke to me about this, and I’m worried that if it happens again she’ll include it as a negative comment in my next performance appraisal. Any ideas on how I can better manage my time at work?”
I explained to her that the key to becoming good at time management is to understand where your time actually goes. I had my friend document what she did every hour of each day at work for a week, so she could visualize it. When we sat down to chat afterwards, she was surprised.
You can also look at this article on managing your time as a professional. I think it is very important to have clear goals, remove from your schedule activities that are wasting your time, and focus on achieving your goals. Also to free your time, make sure you only receive emails that bring you closer to your goals. Even if they are related in some ways, if you don’t have time to process them, then unsubscribe. (Isn’t it nice, someone on a website you tells you to unsubscribe)
Managing Your Time as a Professional
I briefly considered titling this blog “Managing Your Time as a Tech Professional,” but I quickly realized that not everyone who reads a tech blog is necessarily working in the tech industry. Most people are probably entrepreneurs who are looking for the right tools to be successful.
I don’t know about you, but time management is definitely not one of my strongest suits. This is particularly true when it comes to working on the Internet. The web has a nearly infinite amount of ways to distract yourself from what you really should be doing, whether it’s writing, blogging, updating, researching, or any number of other professional endeavors.
So here are my key questions to you:
- Have you defined the key activities on which you want to spend time in your life, personal and professional?
- Have you reduced as much as you can time spent on activities not aligned with your goal? This is the only way to maximize the time you spend on your goals.
- Do you have more goals than you can achieve? If so, then focus and prioritize. To success, what you do not do is just as important as what you do. Because it frees your time and your energy to move forward on your goals.
You can have dreams, but it is actions that will convert them to reality. And actions require that you invest time.
Remember: Time is precious, so manage it!
Michel Dion, PMP, CPA
Founder and Developer of Project-Aria
Discover my book:
Leadership Toolbox for Project Managers: Achieve Better Results in a Dynamic World