Project Manage Yourself

By Michelle Symonds

If you’re feeling quite stressed and run-down it may be time to start project managing yourself. That’s not to say you need to start planning a project management framework for a team of one (you), but you need to take back control and reorganise so you can get back on track. What you don’t get taught in project management training is the fact it can be an extremely pressured job that sometimes takes its toll.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed it’s time to make a few easy changes to your life so you can regain control and effectively do you job and live your life.

  1. Do you know how you spend your time?A big mistake project managers make is burning themselves into the ground without any real awareness of where their time goes. Use an App to chart what you do with your time every day. By charting your days you can have a clearer understanding of where your time goes.
  2. What are your real priorities?

    Are you prioritizing your workload? If you’re doing work that is not at the top of your priority list, you’re spending your time incorrectly. Make sure you use your time to concentrate on the most important tasks.

  3. Know your limits

    Are you one of those people who always wants to push the boundaries no matter what is stopping you? This is a fantastic attitude to have but you must know your limits. If you’ve noticed your list of things to do continually drags on day after day and never seems to get completed you are probably expecting too much of yourself. Remember you are only human and you need to eat, sleep and drink properly in order to do your job properly. Reconsider your ‘list’, reorganize it into priority order and finally remove unnecessary tasks.

  4. Delegate, delegate, delegate!

    It is important to offload work that does not need to be completed by you. Do not feel guilty for reallocating tasks, your role as project manager is to effectively guide your team to success, which you can’t do when you’re swamped with unnecessary tasks.

  5. Make a schedule for you

    In the same way you will have a schedule and task list for your project, you need one for yourself as well. Ensure you have a plan for the next few months or longer that details your work life milestones and your personal milestones.

  6. Be prepared

    Always update your plan and check it regularly, that way you’ll feel more in control and prepared for the next day at work.

  7. Resist the technology

    Let’s face it, most people sync pretty much every piece of technology they own, and that’s fine, but what you don’t want is several calendars floating around with different information on. As tempting as it is, you shouldn’t ever be referring to more than one calendar.

  8. Give yourself some time out

    This doesn’t mean book a holiday (although if you want to, great!) but it does mean giving yourself some much needed time out. When you’re feeling truly overcome by everything around you, it is important to remove yourself mentally (and physically if possible) and gain some perspective.

Remember when you’re feeling overwhelmed by a failing project it can be much easier than you think to take back control, as long as you’re willing to use your project management skills on yourself.

Michelle Symonds is a qualified PRINCE2 Project Manager and believes that the right project management training can transform a good project manager into a great project manager and is essential for a successful outcome to any project.

There is a wide range of formal and informal training courses now available that include online learning and podcasts as well as more traditional classroom courses from organizations such as Parallel Project Training.

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