You know the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland appears to be late for his job with the duchess. If he has exercised effective time management he would have never been late all the time. This is just an instance of the importance of managing time.
For managers, teams, and everyone, project time management is one of the important factors of project management commitment.
“Time is money”, “Time is of the essence”, and many more such phrases clearly shows the importance of controlling the time aspect of a project. Keeping all this in mind, let’s first know what is project time management?
Table of Contents
- What Is Time Management in Project Management?
- What Are the Main Processes in Project Time Management?
- Why is Time Management Important in Project Management?
- Time Management Strategies for Project Managers
What Is Time Management in Project Management?
Project time management refers to a component of overall project management in which a timeline is examined and developed for the completion of a project or deliverable. Time management is a key aspect of managing a project. When a team is working on a project, it needs to be organized to meet deadlines and streamlined to have quick collaboration.
What Are the Main Processes in Project Time Management?
There are six steps that are involved in project time management:
- Activity Definition: The project team should identify and schedule different activities and tasks to be done during the project life cycle. These are the things that are required for timely project deliverables.
- Activity Sequencing: In this step, project managers need to introduce documents and map task dependencies. It defines the order in which deliverables must be completed.
- Estimating Resources: Identifying and defining the resources including people, materials, and machines required to complete a deliverable.
- Activity Duration Estimating: Estimating the timeline using formulas such as PERT(Program Evaluation Review Technique) to develop an exact schedule for completion of durables.
- Project Schedule Development: Plotting the start and end dates for each activity as well as the analysis of the order of activities, timelines, resources, and schedule barriers to having an accurate schedule.
- Schedule Control: Project management intervention so that it is manageable when there is a need to change the product schedule.
Why is Time Management Important in Project Management?
How many times have you felt like you’ve lost hours of your life and will never get it back? There are a lot of ‘time wasters’ in our daily lives. That’s why time management is important in project management. Any project you are working on or you are about to start, has an official end date.
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Every project needs a schedule to meet its end date. A team and the project manager has to manage their own time to ensure that the schedule is met. If you don’t create a project schedule or do not plan the end date, there are chances that years will go by and your project will never get finished.
For project managers, it is important to possess time management skills to be successful. A lack of effective time management will affect the project in the long run. In most cases, time really is money. If you don’t know the effective time management techniques, this article has a list of strategies for project managers to have the best project time management.
Time Management Strategies for Project Managers
1. Use the Right Tools and Equipment
What is the first step in project time management? If you are not aware of it, it is using the right tools and equipment. There are many project management tools for vast, varied needs and it serves many different functions. In project management, a project manager will have to use tools to manage time effectively on projects.
If the right tools and equipment are not available, even the most talented project manager will not be able to meet deadlines. Some areas to look after are communication, project planning software, time tracking software, time management tool, and collaboration software.
ProofHub for project time management is one time tracking software to bring all your time-related data in one place. It’s a full-fledged project management and time tracking software that is loaded with great features and advanced abilities. The best part about this tool for project managers is that the cost for using ProofHub is not charged per user, you just have to pay once for unlimited users.
Toggl is a no-hassle time tracking software that is the perfect add-on to your existing tools to help you be more productive throughout the day. Yet, it’s features are quite limited. Toggl may not be able to reach your and your team’s expectations, especially if you want detailed project time tracking. The tool is usually praised for its simplicity.
Hubstaff is another popular time management app that offers the feature of project time management. The software tracks the time spent on work as well as your team’s leisure time in the form of activity reports. It has a flexible calendar view to see different time entries – daily, weekly or monthly. That’s a great feature to analyze your team’s performance and in managing projects all the time.
ClickTime is a time tracking app for managing project budgets with real-time updates on employee hours, availability and costs. It helps you predict project needs by tracking the amount of time the team is spending on any project. But the software requires a bit of a learning curve and reporting is tricky and inconsistent.
With Teamwork, you can estimate the time you think you’ll need to complete tasks and then log your actual time against it. It lets you track how long activities are taking so you can plan work for your team.
Here’s how you can use ProofHub for time management:
- Make manual time entries
- Set time estimates for each task and subtask
- Multiple timesheets to record time data
- Multiple timers to track time spent on different tasks
- Get by-minute details for accurate time estimates
- Export timesheets for hassle-free invoicing
- Create custom time reports
If you’re constantly juggling with deadlines and deliverables, then it is sure that you would benefit from a dedicated time management software.
Boost your productivity day by day. Start using ProofHub.
2. Know-How You Spend Your Time
Keep a log of time so you are able to find how you are using your time. Time is the most valuable asset. If you’re overlooking your routine, it can lead to a loss in productivity. Record what you are doing for 15-minute intervals for some time. When you are mindful of what task is taking your time and what you are spending your time one, you can better manage it.
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” ~Annie Dillard
Find your most time-consuming tasks and see if you are investing your time in the most important activities. When everyone has the same number of hours in the day, why do some seem to get so much more done? Because they have a good sense of where they spend their time on routine tasks and estimate how much time is available for the rest of the activities.
3. Set Priorities
Setting priorities to manage your time effectively requires a difference between what is important and what is urgent. When the goals are set and you’ve determined the individual tasks that you need to do, it’s time to prioritize. Prioritizing is a way to get things done if it is done in the right way.
For example, look at your daily tasks and prioritize according to:
- Important and urgent: Do these tasks right away.
- Important but not urgent: Decide when to do these tasks.
- Urgent but not important: Delegate these tasks if possible.
- Not urgent and not important: Set these aside to do later.
Focusing on your tasks according to the above format you can have greater control over your time and time management will always be by your side. Also, one of the easiest ways to prioritize is to make a “to-do” list on a project management tool. When you’re making the list, be careful it doesn’t get out of control. Rank the items in order of priority to have a sense of accomplishment as you move down the list.
4. Organize Your Task List
Task Lists is a compound of all the project responsibilities for teams and the project manager. A powerful thing that we can do to better manage time is to organize it. Sure, organizing your task list is a great thing and there are several different ways you can do it.
Organize Tasks By Due Date
This is one important thing that managers and employees choose to do when organizing tasks over task management software. Some due dates need to be hit and it should be done for time management. When you’ve got a due date, you’ll be motivated to accomplish the task.
Simply add start and due dates to each task or sub-tasks in your task list and sort them out by due date. This will give you an idea of what needs to be done today and what is to be done in the next coming days.
Pro Tip: Using ProofHub you can set the due date to make a task recurring, set recurrence, see overdue tasks on your list, and change the dates in case of unforeseen requirements.
Organize Tasks by Progress (with Kanban)
Every task includes sub-tasks that help you move through your goals smoothly. Having to manage these tasks and sub-tasks on Kanban is a great method to manage your time as you organize your work by progress. Simply make a to-do list on the Kanban board.
Kanban board lets you organize and manage your process by visualizing every step of your workflow. When you move your tasks through stages as it progresses, you can complete projects efficiently.
5. Avoid Over Commitment
This one can be tricky because most of the time project managers and teams doubt if they are working on the right initiative that requires minimizing interruptions. Over-commitment or commitment fallacy is a fear in the modern workplace as it can lead to failing projects. And sometimes we refuse to move away from a project because we’ve already given a lot of work into it.
Even when it is a better option to work on something else. But if you have to improve your time management skills, it becomes important to know what should you be working on that will bring an utmost impact. This way you can quickly move from project to project without wasting time and avoid wasteful work.
Use the 80/20 rule
Also known as the Pareto principle, the 80/20 rule is one of the helpful concepts of time management. It states that approximately 80% of your results will come from 20% of the work that you do. This principle is important to learn and understand to optimize your workday and to learn how to prioritize your tasks, days, weeks, and months.
Much like money, time is both valuable and limited. People who practice good time management techniques;
- Are more productive
- Have more energy
- Feel less stressed
- Get more things done
- Feel great about themselves
Therefore, it is a good idea to find a time management strategy that works best for you. There you go. Good luck!