7 Tips for Becoming a Smart & Productive Project Manager

Productive Project Manager

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning and focused effort.” – Paul J. Meyer – Pioneer of Self-Improvement Studies

A million light years of disparity exit between projects that are taken on and carried out casually, and those that are planned with military precision, prudence and sophistication. If you want smooth running of projects, meet deadlines, surpass targets and achieve your goal, then you’ll require a solid foundation. That’s where a professional project manager with thorough training and honed skills comes into play.  A project manager has to go through many tough situations. He has to constantly coordinate with not just his team to keep them motivated and reduce stress levels but also satisfy client’s last-minute requests, gain insights from external consultants and ensure vendors deliver the necessary resources on time to keep the project on track.

What follows after this are seven scenarios that most of us face in the project management business. Out of these scenarios I’ve extracted seven tips that will not make a project god but help you become a smart project manager in the long run.

Managing Paltry Issues

One scenario can be where your project team is facing problems that were supposed to be solved earlier by a network engineer. Another example can be that of not enough office space for your team members to sit properly. These issues are not connected to your job description but you must deal with them to make your project go smoothly. You need to act proactively so that you are aware of all the problems that might arise.

Another way is to develop a risk management plan by defining how you and your team members can identify and respond to control risks. At first, it will be not easy at all but with time you will succeed.

Skillfully Dealing with the Workload

Some project managers complain that they can’t keep up with the workload even though they regularly keep track of what they have to do in order to complete the project. If you are experiencing extra workload, you need to prioritize your tasks. Some things are obviously more important, so you need to prefer a task over other. Once all the important tasks are done, then you can move on to other less important ones so that all the important tasks are dealt with.

Balancing the Work & Personal Life

Most project managers, who are early in their careers, complain of work-life imbalance as they are unable to cope up with extra work negatively affecting their personal lives. Needless to say, virtually all of them prioritize work over their personal commitments. But you need to get your act right by determining a point where your work-life is in harmony with your personal life. There are countless examples when a negative event occurs outside the work affect the ability of the project managers to focus on their projects.

Leisure Time is Not an Option

A Certain amount of stress is present in any job and it’s healthy so that a person can remain focused on his job. But too much stress ruins both work and personal life of any person, in our case a project manager. This stress leads to a person committing critical judgmental errors that are detrimental to the project’s success. If you are also on the verge of burning out, then it’s time to take a break and indulge yourself in recreational activities or change the scenery and take the much-needed vaca-time. You will feel less stressed in the days to come after enjoying these mini breaks from work.

Losing Energy & Patience during a Hectic Day

Well, it happens with all of us. During the first-half, we are all charged up but as the day nears its end, we are all down and out & have lost patience. The one trait of a productive individual especially a manager is that he regularly takes time for exercise and get a break from all the mayhem at work. This keeps the energy level up and lightens up your mood as well. This way, you don’t lose patience and your energy level will also remain high enough to enable you to tackle all the assigned tasks deftly.

The 10-minute breaks

If you think that as a new project manager, who has been given lots of responsibilities, finding free space for yourself is impossible, think again. You need to honestly admit that it’s all up to you to find that extra 10 minutes to grab a cup of coffee or get some shut-eye. Evaluate all your tasks for the day and find out which one you can complete in less time. Do it quickly and then move on other tasks. While a PM’s duty can be tough, it is not impossible to find 10 minutes for yourself before you go back to take on the world.

Universe Conspires Against You

Like everyone else, project managers don’t exist in utopias. As a project manager, you will face several situations where you will encounter impediments solely because of someone else’s inabilities and incompetence. There will be times when your team members will come into the meeting totally unprepared and will hamper the proceedings big time. Emails and phone calls will eat up precious time so you won’t be able to complete your tasks inside the deadline. You’ll experience delays in delivery of necessary equipment or materials requisite to developing the solution.

Make a rule for meetings and strictly adhere to it so that everyone attending it will know that no leniency will be shown towards them. Politely tell people that you’re busy or the middle of something important & that you’ll call them back once you’re free. Implement a just in time system to ensure crucial materials are delivered on time.

For all the other cases mentioned above, we have already discussed how prioritizing tasks and taking proactive measures can avoid and solve seemingly impossible tasks.

Final Word

A project manager’s job is just like any other manager in terms of leading the team, prioritizing tasks and completing the assigned tasks. A person with a greater capacity and energy to complete the tasks at hand and the ability to proactively manage untoward situations comes out as the eventual winner.

Please use the comments section below for any feedback, suggestion or question in your mind.