Productivity is simply being more effective in your effort to do something. If you’re reading this, then that something is usually project-related. The more productive you are in managing that project, the less likely you’ll be coming home to a dark house and a TV dinner.
It’s not only your well-being, of course, but the success of the project depends on being productive. If you’re not producing, then you’re wasting your stakeholder’s investment and your team’s time.
Oh, no. Maybe you’re not a productive project manager. Maybe you are burning the midnight oil, exhausting yourself and your team, with deadlines looming like impending doom. Yikes!
Don’t worry! No matter how productive you are or aren’t, there’s always room for improvement. You can improve your task management through tools and by following these simple productivity strategies.
Track Your Tasks
Productivity goes out the window when you’re not paying attention to it. Just focusing on your work isn’t going to cut it. You can lose track of time, get bogged down in minutia or you might complete your tasks on time, but without a process to reign you in when you’re falling behind you’re working blind.
That’s where task tracking come in. Creating a system of managing your tasks, helps you so you can keep concentrating on your work, but have an overseeing process to create the boundaries you need in order not to go off schedule and take the whole project off track.
Of course, you’re estimating the amount of time each task is going to take when you’re making your project plan, but as you know, the best laid plans of mice and men often goes astray. With the right tool you get the head’s up you need.
Emails can be automated, for instance, to notify you when a deadline is approaching, pulling you out of the work long enough to see where you are. Now you can adjust accordingly, and get that work done without dragging the project off-track.
That doesn’t mean you work constantly, and wait for your tool to tap you on the shoulder, saying, “Okay, you’re falling behind—hurry up!” It’s important to limit the time you take on each task, but it’s equally crucial for you to give yourself a break. When you lack the backing of a project management office, self-management is crucial.
Wait a minute, seriously, take a break? What about deadlines, schedule? They’re important, but if you’re pushing yourself too hard you’re going to hit a wall and then you’re stuck. It’s good to take short breaks, especially when working through long tasks, to your brain and body a chance to rest. This way, you return to the work refreshed and more productive. This is just one of the many ways to be more productive.
This is the modern world, and we have a lot of great tools that are designed to help us improve productivity. We briefly noted above how software can be part of one of part of your productivity strategies, but it can also be the main thrust of it, too.
For one thing, you can create task lists, which are a way to organize and systematically address your work. This gives you one place in which to view what you must do and when it’s due. Even better, you can filter these task lists to customize them by their due date or whatever data column you wish.
Things will change and those changes are going to impact your task list. That might happen while you’re in the office or not. Task management tools, however, are easy to update, and if they’re cloud-based, then you can do so wherever you are, whatever time of day it is.
Tasks aren’t completed in isolation. Whether you’re working with other people or alone, you’re likely going to have a lot of related materials, documents, images, etc. Software features allow you to attach files, notes and links right at the task level. If you’re working with others, then you can also carry on a dialogue at the task level, and that conversation is archived, so you can easily return to it as needed.
Continuing with the no-task-is-an-island theme, if you’re working with others and want to share and collaborate on tasks, you can. With an online tool, you can share the URL, and now others can view your task and each of you can update it as you progress. Productivity in the workplace is enhanced with the right software.
Technology can be great, like all those fantastic tool features you can use to control your work and boost your productivity. But technology is also like a flame to the months of our distraction. We fly into it and get burned in the process. You can’t turn back the clock, but there are things you can do.
One off the first things you can do to get a handle of your personal time management is turning off those darn notifications. Not the ones that relate to the timeliness of your tasks, but the constant ping of your computer and phone? The moment your notified of a new email, social post or even an old-fashioned phone call, is the moment your pulled out of your task.
It’s important to set up good habits and electronic devices can be a problem. By all means, if you’re using a tool, keep that active, but mute the rest.
Other distractions can be physical, like your workspace. Is it cluttered, clean, in the middle of office traffic, isolated? What kind of setting do you work best in? There’s no hard and fast rule here, some people need quiet, while others are more productive in busy environments. Figure out what kind of worker you are and then get your workspace to reflect that temperament.
Sartre said hell is other people. Well, maybe, but they certainly can be a distraction. Therefore, you want to create boundaries, like office hours for a college professor, in which you’re available to meet with others. Along these same lines, you want to keep a professional and civil relationship with those you work with. If you’re aiming to be more efficient at work, nothing is more distracting than office drama.
All these strategies and more should be employed to help increase your productivity. This is not a one-size-fits-all approach. That said, there is only one project management software you’ll need to help you work more productively, and that’s ProjectManager.com. Our cloud-based tool gives you the task management you want and delivers it in real-time to give you the most accurate view of your project’s progress possible. See how it can help you be more productive by taking this free 30-day trial.