As project managers, we have a great responsibility to organize and manage the work of projects for our project sponsors and clients. The effort we put into this sometimes makes it difficult or impossible for us to be as personally organized as we might want or need. Unfortunately this might reflect poorly on our project management efforts, so we need to be as efficient and effective as possible to manage ourselves.
Here are 5 tips that can help you be better organized:
- Be proactive: First and foremost, being proactive can keep us better organize. We need to take an immediate and active role in managing the various situations that arise, rather than allowing them to manage us. Don't wait for someone to ask you to plan - lead the way. Don't wait for the project sponsor to ask you to handle an issue - handle it and let them know you are on it. Unlike wine, issues tend not age well over time.
- Improve time management: Time is something that works against us when we want to be proactive, so an ability to manage time is critical. With great time management skills, you will be able to prioritize and plan your work better. If you need help in improving time management, consider checking out a previous article, 8 Time Management Tips for Project Managers. Making more productive use of time will allow you to be more proactive and better organized.
- Use appropriate tools: The use of appropriate tools can also help us get more time and be more organized. We need to use the tools that actually work and best solve the problems we need solved. For example, I used a time management tool for many years. But as responsibilities grew, the tool was taking more time than I had to devote to it - it was time to find a new method or tool. Be sure to read How to Choose the Right Project Management Tools for more tips and ideas.
- Don't reinvent the wheel: Use what works - no need to reinvent the wheel. Study past projects, especially those managed by others, to see if there are some organizational tools and ideas you can put to immediate use. There are also literally thousands of project management templates available. Don't build one from scratch - start with one that provides most of what you need, then tailor it to your project circumstances. Check out Creating Project Templates for more tips and ideas. And of course, check out our available templates.
- Effectively delegate and assign work: It will be nearly impossible for you to do everything, including any unexpected work that may arise during the course of the project, so be sure you know how to effectively delegate and assign work to others. You may be able to get some small help with project management tasks, and should definitely be sure the team is doing all the project work. For some tips on effective delegation, be sure to check out 4 Steps to Diligent Delegation.
Being personally organized as well as the project is will help you succeed. It will also set the example for how the team should be organized. Along with building trust, setting an example for the team is a great way to start building a high performing team.
Do you have any favorite tips for organizing? Please leave them in the comments below!
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