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Author: Lauren Lowe

Time Management is Crucial for Project Management

Without time management, your project management efforts will fall short. Time management is crucial to any project manager’s success. Proper time management is using your time effectively and knowing what types of tasks should be done first and what can be done last. That way you’re not burning all your energy on a task that becomes tedious and time-consuming. Tasks that take longer typically require a more focused and set time blocked out on your calendar. 

 

Key Time Management Approaches

Time management is different for everyone. Time management is not just about getting as much done as you can in one day, it is about effectively planning out your day so that you are able to get your work done properly and efficiently without leading to burnout. 

 

Some key approaches are to …

  • Set aside a block of time every morning to make a list.
  • Block out times on your calendar to dedicate to a specific task.
  • Check your email 3 times a day (Begining, Middle, and before the end of the workday.) 
  • Schedule breaks – Give yourself breathing room. Take a walk or have a snack to re-energize.
  • Prioritize your tasks – What takes longer? What needs to be done first? (Hint: Not everything needs to be done first)

 

Time Management & Taking Care of Yourself

I get it. Sometimes we get caught up in the idea that everything has to be done right away at the same time. Sometimes it gets hard to get away from that concept. However, not allowing yourself to breakdown your day and digest what is going on will lead to burnout. Prioritize your work so that you are able to get those true high priority items done.  As a project manager, there will be hectic days and there will be slow days. If needed, you should break down your workload down by the week. Decide what will be the primary focus of each day and knock it out. Make designated times for breaks. 

 

Without proper time management, you can’t be an effective project manager, so Study & Practice, you’ll get better.

 

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Deciding what project gets done first can be tough at times right? Sometimes you just don’t know exactly how to pick what will take priority over the other since they are at the same level. In the case of this, there is a strategy that I employ to make sure that I am making the right choice, even though it may push another project back by a week. Pushing a project back by a week is not always the worst, especially if you’re like me and set an internal deadline a week or two prior to when the client wants it to be completed.

 

Determining What Makes the Cut

It is kind of like a pro’s and con’s list. As the account manager you have to break down each project to determine the amount of work that will have to go into it, the level of expectation each client has, and the deadline that the client may or may have not stated to you at the start. Every agency has a standard for projects. Here are some important factors to take into account. You have to break down each project and understand what it all includes.

  • Level of work the project includes. Is it all hands on deck or maybe one or two?
  • Does this require the assistance of a designer? Because designing can take time.
  • Will this project overload one or more team-member?

 

Communicating the Change

While everyone on your team was aware of the projects at hand, they may have been working on the parts that they knew they were going to have to take ownership. Send out a memo to the team about what is getting moved around and what the expected timeline is for each project. Schedule a meeting to discuss it and get everyone’s opinion on it, especially if this project may overload one individual but not the rest. When shifting projects it is not just about the client, but about your team and their ability to efficiently and correctly get the project done without cutting corners. Projects sometimes come in waves, and sometimes one at a time.

Knowing your team and what they can handle makes project management manageable.

 

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The Project Shuffle – When One Client Takes Priority Over Another

The project shuffle – gets tedious and exhausting, doesn’t it? However, it happens more often than not when you work in the constantly changing digital marketing landscape. This is where your project management skills are put to the test. It is where you learn the quirks of the client and how to move the processes along with each task to meet the deadlines.

 

How Do You Prioritize with Project Management?

Determining priorities with client projects means that you have to sit down and take a look at the bigger picture. It is not the simple shuffle of tasks that will make things run smoother, its the negotiation in your mind that tells you okay this makes sense and it will not interfere with the workflow. That it will benefit the team.

  • Read the client contracts
  • Learn your client’s quirks and what they pay the most attention to.
  • Sit down with Team Members to discuss tasks at hand.

 

Agreeing On What Needs to Be Reprioritized

Project management with multiple clients is not just about you and the client. The bigger picture is to make sure that projects are getting done correctly and efficiently without overloading team members with tasks for that project on top of other client projects. When it comes down to making these changes, an internal meeting with all team members involved is important. Sit down, write out what is happening on a whiteboard, and reach a consensus as to what can be put on hold and pushed back. More often than not reprioritizing can be difficult if one team member is responsible for major portions of work and already has a lot on their plate. Talk with them and discuss what can be done to alleviate the stress and make it possible to reprioritize projects.

 

Talking it out with all team members involved is more important than just deciding on your own as the Project Manager.

 

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Project management tools come and go. There are those that work for a while and then they lose their value as your workload increases and the functionality does not meet your needs. This is why I keep my project management starting at a basic old school technique of my trusty notebook and pen while using the Wrike project management platform.

 

As 2019 rolled around we gained a handful of new clients and that meant my workload doubled within a short amount of time. In order to keep up with the fast pace of an increasing workload, I continued using my notebook and list system to keep track and prioritize items that I had to check and follow-up on in Wrike.

 

The 6 steps I take every morning to manage daily tasks

  1. Make coffee (the most important step)
  2. Sit-down and go through emails
  3. Make my to-do list
  4. Discuss priority items with specific team members
  5. Go through current Wrike tasks for clients and check-in
  6. Create new tasks in Wrike and assign them out.

 

Repeat this step as needed and daily. It helps me keep track of progress and what is moving forward or on hold. Missing those important emails in the sea of subscriptions and newsletters will push you back in progress on projects. Not everyone works in the same time zones, some people get started on work super early, and some work late into the night.

 

It is also important to understand that when managing multiple clients with various projects, that not everything can be done at once and that prioritizing is important. Each project has its differences, but the best thing to do is to sit down, organize, and get things together before seizing the day. Think strategically about how the workflow will play out for not just you, but your team as a whole.

 

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