12 effective project management time strategies (with tips)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 6 July 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Time management allows you to complete a project more productively. When you learn to organise your time well, you're more likely to meet your deadlines and complete more assignments. Learning about different strategies for managing your time during a project can help you work more effectively. In this article, we explain the importance of project management time strategies and list 11 strategies you can try to manage your time at work.
What are project management time strategies?
Project management time strategies are methods that project managers and other professionals can use to better manage their time while working on projects or completing individual tasks. Most commonly, through using time management strategies to manage your work, you can build and maintain healthy habits that help you stay productive. Doing this is especially important if you're a project manager or team leader, as others on the team can see your positive approach to time management as an inspiration to improve their performance.
Using different time management strategies to manage your workday can help you make sure you meet all your deadlines and complete every project on time. Typically, determining which strategies to choose to manage your work time requires that you analyse your thought process and behaviour at work. Knowing what works best for you can help you reduce stress and anxiety, improve the quality of your work and complete more tasks in a day.
12 strategies to manage time during projects
One of the most helpful things that junior project managers can do to improve their skill set is developing effective time management strategies that they can use to better manage projects. Here are some helpful strategies to consider:
1. Develop a clear project plan
One of the most important thing you can do to make sure you know how to manage your time well during a project is to create a clear and organised project plan. Following a good project plan allows you to easily visualise the entire timeline of a project and better understand what's necessary for its completion. It defines your path to success by listing all individual tasks, stages of the project, key milestones and important deadlines. It's also vital that you make the project plan accessible to all team members, as this streamlines communication and helps them stay on track.
2. Learn to effectively communicate with stakeholders
In many instances, project managers who struggle with managing time during projects have problems with establishing effective communication channels. Through learning more about key project stakeholders, you can determine which methods of communication can work best for sharing updates or asking for feedback. As a result, you can make sure the work goes smoothly and everyone has access to the resources necessary for completing their tasks.
3. Delegate tasks
Another thing that can help you manage time involves delegating tasks to others on the team. To do that effectively, it's vital to use a reporting and progress tracking system, which can show you who has the capacity to take on more tasks. You can also consider making sure you get to know your team members well, as this allows you to determine their strengths and weaknesses. You can use this knowledge to determine how much time to allocate to them and which types of tasks they can complete well.
4. Allow flexibility in your project schedule
Implementing flexibility is a helpful thing to do when developing a project schedule. By remaining flexible, you can make sure that you can quickly analyse and address any unforeseen issues that arise throughout the duration of a project without extending your deadlines. To learn how to be flexible while remaining productive, consider developing a risk management strategy as you enter a new project.
5. Determine the duration of each task
To better manage your time during a project, you can set a time limit for each task for which your team is responsible. For instance, if you're managing the work of a marketing team, you can notify them that you're expecting that they spend a maximum of five working days completing a press release or blog article. During this time, they can create as many drafts as they want, as long as they submit the final version before the deadline.
6. Use time management tools
Time management tools are helpful software programmes and systems that allow you to take advantage of technology to manage time during a project. Using them is a standard practice for project managers regardless of the industry or the size of a team, as they are many useful tools that are scalable. These tools are especially essential for managing a remote team, as they simplify communication or information and file sharing.
7. Avoid multitasking
Although the ability to multitask can be helpful during critical situations and when you're solving an unexpected problem, many people struggle with continuously doing so while staying productive during their normal workdays. Instead, they prefer to focus on one task at a time, which allows them to significantly improve the quality of their work. An effective way to learn single-tasking involves time blocking. To do that, you can divide your workday into several time frames with short breaks between them and dedicate a single task to each time frame.
8. Learn more about your biological clock
Your body's biological clock is a natural, internal process that regulates your day and determines when you're ready to sleep. Through learning about your body's natural cycle, you can determine your productive time and use that information to schedule your work. For example, if you notice that your peak working time is in the morning, you can consider scheduling any high-priority tasks for that time. This can help you use your energy more effectively throughout the day.
9. Prioritise tasks
Another technique for successfully managing time is learning to prioritise tasks. When managing a project, you may find that the team can begin working on some tasks only when they complete other ones. Determining these connections and assigning priority labels to assignments is a vital part of effective time management. To do that effectively, you can also consider assigning the following categories to tasks:
important and urgent
important but not urgent
not important but urgent
not important or urgent
10. Schedule breaks
Although it may seem like squeezing in as much work as possible during the day is ideal, taking regular breaks is critical for making sure you can stay productive. During your breaks, make sure to do something fun that helps you relax and mentally recuperate. There are different ways in which you can approach work breaks. For example, you can schedule one short break after each task you complete, or take a longer break every hour or so.
11. Automate recurring tasks
Learning to automate recurring tasks is likely to save you a lot of time during the day. For example, instead of sending a team meeting invitation manually, consider scheduling these emails in advance. You can also prepare several email templates that you can use in different instances, for example, when sharing a project update or requesting something from a supplier.
12. Regularly review progress
At the end of each day, week or month, review the work that you and your team did to push the project forward. Focus on the things that went well and identify if there were any weaknesses that you can address before the next project cycle. If you notice that there are any incomplete tasks in the team's queue, you can prioritise them to make sure the team completes them on time. Performing regular progress reviews is also helpful because they show how much the team has already accomplished and can motivate them.
Tips for implementing time management strategies
When selecting which time management method to implement in your work, consider different options and think about your individual preferences that might impact the decision. Here are some additional tips to follow to make sure you get to know yourself well enough to implement the most effective method:
Try out different strategies: There are various effective strategies that you can consider to organise and manage your time well. Trying out different methods before deciding to choose one strategy can help you learn more about yourself and when you are most productive.
Consider your daily routine: When you're trying to decide which time management strategies can work best for you, it's vital that you consider your daily routine in the process. This can tell you if you're more effective in the morning, during the day or at night.
Ask for help: If you're struggling with designing the best time management strategy for yourself, consider asking someone to guide you through the process. This can be a supervisor, mentor or even your colleague who's already worked out the best method for managing their time during projects.
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