Are time management and task management excellence just something you are born with? Except for possibly my wife and her crazy good organizational skills, I generally say no. Is it something you can easily master? Again, except for my wife I would generally say no. For me it comes down to three key things:
Getting the right tool or tools in our hands to make us great. It's more about the tools we use and getting some decent training and mentoring along the way that helps us to become great time managers. Once you find the right tools to help you on the path to project management success, don't settle there... but keep checking for more tools that can make your projects great.
Recognizing what needs to happen first and doing it. List the tasks that need doing and give each one a priority. Doing them in order and check them off - resisting the temptation to multi-task. Multi-tasking can lead to the habit of getting many tasks started but not getting any finished. When we bought our current house and basically gutted the inside to re-do it how we needed it to fit our large family's needs with all the little kids we have that's what our first contractor did. We had to fire him because he kept making little jobs take forever snd never really finished any sizable tasks. He didn't prioritize and finish anything... he just kept tearing things apart. Gone! Don't let this be you with your projects.
Getting the right training. For project managers, training can be huge. I don't think great PM's are born – I think they are learned and made. And the right training can play a big role in that. Training and certification, training to make us better managers and run our lives better, training to manage time and tasks better... it all goes in to making great project managers who routinely run successful projects.
Summary / call for input
Task and time management is big in project management – it's what most of us project managers do most of our lives when we aren't facilitating team and customer meetings... and even then... You get the picture. I'm sure this information isn't really that new to you, but hopefully it makes you think... and that's why I write this stuff. To challenge all of us to think about best practices and how we can be better project managers tomorrow and run a better project the next time around.
Readers – do you agree with my take of things here? I would love to hear / read your feedback.