Discover How To Monitor & Control Work With Project Time Management
The project time management process involves monitoring and controlling time that you spend within a project. By intelligently using time sheets and time management logs, you can keep track of how much you have spent and the progress you’ve made on the project.
This allows flexibility, modification and resource allocation that increases the chance of meeting schedules and delivering on time.
Project time management is distinctly different from personal time management in several ways.
A critical subject for any management student or full time manager, the concept includes all processes that make up the system which is designed to efficiently complete a project in a timely manner.
Basics of Time Management for Projects
Time management is very important to the successful completion of any project.
The managers who are most valued always meet their project schedules and bring it in within budget.
Schedule management that sets and matches deadlines can minimize cost overruns and save money. There is time management software that makes this simpler and more efficient.
You can break down any project into a sequence of tasks. A manager’s role is to
- identify the tasks,
- estimate their duration,
- find out what resources you’ll need, and
- prioritize the execution of each step by its relative importance.
Together, these elements make up the entire project.
Leaving out critical components can cause failure. Incorrect time estimates can lead to costly delays and not meeting deadlines.
If you clearly understand the nature of the work and become familiar with the steps, you can streamline this process. Not following the correct sequence of steps can throw the schedule out of gear.
Components of Project Time Management
There are 5 main components of project time management.
1. Activity definition – this involves clearly establishing the steps and tasks that are needed to deliver on the project and its promises.
2. Activity sequencing – this analyzes how the different tasks interact with each other and depend upon one another.
3. Duration estimates – a judgement based task that strives to estimate the amount of effort and time needed to get the job done.
4. Schedule development – with the information above, it is possible to draw up a project schedule that also takes available resources into consideration.
5. Schedule control – this is needed to manage and control changes made to the project in the course of its execution.
Project time management enters the most critical phase right at the beginning, when the project plan is being hammered out. When done correctly, a project plan can set the tone for the rest of the work, and contributes in a major way to the overall success of it.
After drawing up a plan, you still have to flesh it out with specific deadlines and milestones by creating a project schedule.
After finalizing the schedule, all that remains is to finish the work by following the timetable without delays and hurdles.
Time management is only a subset of broader project management.
Project management takes into consideration several other things along with time management. This component of the whole is however crucial to each of them.
That’s because it ensures timely delivery and meeting deadlines. Time management software that helps streamline these steps can be very useful in executing these steps.
Pitfalls In Managing Time on Projects
Project schedules are difficult to create and manage because of the ubiquitous shortage of resources and time to get the job done comfortably.
Intelligent project time management is about correctly prioritizing tasks and making do with the available material and manpower. Project management software can enhance efficiency.
Even on critical pathways, you can add or remove items depending upon circumstances. But it takes an experienced manager to decide when and what to remove or modify to enhance effectiveness. And despite how well you are able to manage time, there is another constraint to keep in mind – your budget.
To learn more about project time management and other aspects of personal time management, sign up for the free weekly newsletter, the “Time Taozine“.
Stress Management Is Really Simple
Stress management is a complex subject. Hundreds of books have been written about it. Courses, seminars and workshops are held around the world about managing stress better.
An entire branch of medical specialists have evolved around the concept of eliminating stress or mitigating its ill effects.
Yet, essentially, stress management is actually simple.
And there’s a secret to it.
Here it is.
Ignore small things – and some big ones, too.
Once upon a long time ago, I would worry about a lot about things.
- Like unanswered emails (there are now over 6,000 in my inbox I’ve not even read).
- Or partnership offers from people I know (there’s now a system I follow to deal with these).
- Like a notebook full of profitable ideas, but each needing a week or two to execute (I’m now on notebook #4).
I no longer obsess, worry or stress about these things. The small things I ignore. The bigger things often look smaller after a while, so I’ve started letting go of them too.
And even if they continue to remain important, I’ve learned to stop worrying if I really don’t have the time to tackle them.
After all, worrying about it won’t bring me an extra hour a day to get the task done. Instead, it only stresses me out so I’m not able to focus attention on the things that I must do.
Stress Management Is Simple
Cutting out the worry and adopting this simple stress management attitude alone has saved time and helped achieve more in the limited time available.
There’s a lot more to say and teach about stress management. But unless this basic tenet becomes a part of your philosophy of life, you’re going to suffer from stress.
A lovely book that places stuff in the right perspective is “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff” (with a wonderful sub-title, “And It’s All Small Stuff”).
How many times have you rushed off, dropping everything else, to carry out a task or project that seemed urgent – only to discover later on that it really wasn’t so critical, really?
Yes, there are emergencies. But unless you’re on call in the ER of a busy hospital, chances are these emergencies aren’t really as urgent as they first seem.
Some People Love Stress
We all know folks who thrive on stress – so much that they go out and create it for themselves, magnifying every little ‘problem’ into a life-threatening ‘crisis’.
Functioning in ‘constant crisis’ mode is not just inefficient. It is also unhealthy.
Keeping the right perspective, learning to prioritize correctly, and staying focused on doing the important things first will all combine in stress management, helping you avoid ‘sweating the small stuff’.
Another effective technique for stress management is being better organized and working on a plan. There is nothing as sensible as having a practical plan. A plan as we know it is something that is well thought-out and charted in advance before starting work on it.
But even when you know the benefits of working on a plan, many of us only rarely resort to planning before we start a course of action.
Do You Mean…?
No, I’m not referring to a mental picture that we chart out in our minds that is vague and unclear. A real plan in black and white, written on a sheet of paper, is quite unusual.
Do not underestimate the power of a written down plan. Once we write down something it clears up a lot of hazy areas and opens aspects that we might overlook.
And, most important of all, you’ll get a rough estimate of how much time it will take to complete. All these things help manage stress effectively.
Always make time bound plans. That’s where we get the relation between time management and planning.
In fact planning is as fundamental to time and stress management as organizing and prioritizing. It’s at the heart of the Time Management Tao approach which is based upon learning how to
- Find your center – know WHAT to do
- Understand your order – know HOW to do it
- Pick your timing – know WHO to use & WHEN
There are many other techniques to manage time that will help in lowering stress. You’ll learn them by exploring other sections of this site, and from the Ming Vase Time Management series of guides.