As a project manager, you are constantly on the lookout for ways to achieve more. You have expectations to meet and excel in terms of time, quality, and budget. However, once one of these factors goes out of sync, the entire project can derail. This is why efficiency always needs to be your main priority.
It’s not about working harder; it is about working smarter. You and your team need to look for ways to achieve more with your time. After all, it is likely that you are wasting precious moments without even realising it. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some tips on working smarter not harder.
1) Schedule times for checking emails
Unless your team members are in customer-facing roles and they need to respond to emails on a regular basis, you should schedule times throughout the day for this. One of the biggest time wasters is when people respond to emails as and when they arrive. This causes endless distractions throughout the day.
2) Make sure you have clear and concise processes
If you do not have concise and clear processes in place, people will find themselves running around in circles. There is a direct correlation between a lack of processes and extra work. People end up working harder simply because there is no organisation. Make sure you have a proper plan for employees to refer to throughout.
3) Create a weekly schedule
Are you currently creating effective schedules for the entire team? Or, do you simply dash out tasks at random? If the latter applies, it is unlikely that you are going to be working as efficiently as you should be. Look at how to create a weekly schedule template, and you will be able to put an effective plan in place every week so that your team has focus and can reach all of their milestones.
4) Automate with technology
Technology has changed the way we work in all environments, and there is simply no need to do everything manually these days. Some tasks are much better off being automated or streamlined. You can easily find tech to match the tasks you carry out.
After all, there seems to be software for virtually everything nowadays, from employee management and scheduling to sales and project management. Of course, you should not invest in a tool just for the sake of it, you need to make sure it makes sense for your business and that it will lead to greater efficiencies.
5) Delegate efficiently and use the collective power of your team
Do not delegate tasks based on a first come first serve basis. While there will always be a little element of this involved, you do need to make sure skill is taken into account too. Not only this, but you should encourage your team to work smarter by thinking about how the strengths of each person can be paired in order to get work done more efficiently.
6) Do one thing at a time
There is a common misconception that you achieve more when you are multi-tasking, but this is most certainly not the case. You would be much better off doing one day at a time. To do this, your day should be chartered, you need to figure out a realistic to-do list, and make sure you always start with your most important tasks first.
7) Tighten up meetings
Last but not least, meetings can be a massive time waster for project teams. No, you should not banish meetings altogether. But you do need to get rid of the ineffective meetings. Only invite people to the meeting that are directly impacted by what is being discussed. Moreover, create a schedule for every meeting and make sure you stick to it – don’t go off track.
So there you have it: some of the best ways you can start working smarter, not harder on your projects. If you implement the advice that has been provided above, you should begin to notice differences to the way your team work.
Some of these changes will take effect quickly, whereas others will take some time to show their worth, so you do need to be patient, but it will all be worth it in the end.