With the COVID-19 virus outbreak, many companies suddenly have to support an entirely remote workforce. Though remote work is a great way to combine personal and professional life, many project managers face the problem of planning their employees’ time productively.
Time is something that project managers want the most but often have the least. Poor time management can have a negative impact on the whole project in long terms. Moreover, it can also lead to great stress and anxiety for team members. The business world is moving at a crazy pace, so you are probably under pressure to deliver project results more quickly than ever before.
Time management is the process of planning and exercising conscious control of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity. Each project has an official end date and every highly-skilled project manager should have the ability to organize project tasks and activities to ensure that he can meet the deadlines with the best results. Using the time-management techniques you will have the ability to produce good results in short terms – even when time is limited and pressures are high.
Below, we offer five time management strategies that can be used to keep any project on track and manage your time effectively during the COVID-19 pandemic:
If your team experiences remote working for the first, you will discover that it is quite difficult for them to concentrate on the project and ignore external factors. Our devices, that play a vital role in accomplishing our tasks can also become hindrances when trying to focus on the project. If it’s possible, schedule your team members’ important job duties for a part of the day when there are fewer interruptions. Further to this, remind your employees, that distractions are inevitable throughout the day, so they should allow extra time for unexpected distractions. If you succeed to manage your team’s work wisely, you will have more time for new ideas.
Creating a schedule based on your workload is probably the most important part of time management. A little time spent on understanding what your team needs to do will have a good impact on your profit. Learning how to schedule your employees’ time effectively in order to complete the project in the allotted time can be a real challenge. First, you need to do your planning, and then you should create all the tasks and define their duration. Consider providing employees with task management tools, such as business management software, online calendars, or a simple to-do list. It will help you schedule activities and assign resources easily.
To manage your team’s time more effectively, you need to identify which tasks are the most important. Eisenhower Matrix is a great time management strategy. An Urgent important matrix is the most effective tool for creating your to-do list based on the level of importance and urgency of your tasks.
- Important and urgent: These are tasks that should be done as soon as possible. There is no chance to extend the deadline.
- Important but not urgent: These are the tasks that have a solid due date, but they aren’t so urgent to be done immediately.
- Not important but urgent: You probably have tasks that need to be completed immediately, but they aren’t so important for your project. In this case, delegating your task to someone will be a great solution. If you have team members, you shouldn’t do everything by yourself.
- Not important and not urgent: These tasks are neither important for your project nor urgent for achieving long-term goals.
Remote work is becoming very popular during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it also increases the risk of procrastination. According to the research by Joseph Ferrari, a psychology professor at DePaul University, Chicago about 20% of employees considers themselves real procrastinators. Procrastination is the worst enemy of time management. It doesn’t only make you less productive but also affects your colleagues’ work and leads to failures. Many managers claim that assigning a lot of tasks to their employees will help get the job done and avoid procrastination. In fact, it will lead to worse consequences- employees will try to delay their work. Set strict deadlines for your employees and supervise the project process. Get the easiest tasks done fast and leave much time for the difficult ones.
“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main”․ – Excerpt from a book by John Donne
You can’t find a single person in the world having all the skills for making the project happen. So why are you trying to do everything by yourself?
They are a lot of professionals working on the same project that have the required skills and enough time to help you complete the tasks you struggle with. As mentioned in the Eisenhower matrix, it’s actually recommended to find the tasks you can delegate, so you can concentrate on more important and urgent ones. Delegating your work to others actually means that you put trust in them and let them make a decision.
Don’t get lost in the mess of details, pay attention to the bigger picture and use the time to your advantage to ensure a project’s success. Effective time management is important for project managers working with a team to ensure a smooth process for the project. After the COVID-19, the world may never be the same again as this mass remote working will become a very successful experiment. Will the companies ever return to their office in the same way?
Stay safe and productive!