The importance of time management to project success

Posted by Niall Sullivan

03-Apr-2017 08:00:00

importance of time managementThere are many different factors that contribute to the success of a project. Some of which you can control and some which you can’t.

One aspect that you can keep on top of is time management. With deadlines to meet and a team to keep engaged, every second counts when you’re working on a project. In some cases, not managing your time effectively can lead to its failure.

Stay on track - Download our essential time management checklist

The economic consequences are also staggering. With wasted time costing UK businesses £80bn per year, it’s clear that the importance of time management cannot be overstated.

In this blog post we’re going to look at some of the key issues that lead to wasted time and how you can fix them, so you can be more productive in future projects.

Poor project planning

too much work

The role of a project manager is not for the faint hearted. With the amount of different roles and responsibilities you have, it must feel like you don’t have enough hours in the day to complete all of your tasks!

What can make managing a project even more stressful is a lack of planning. News outlet The Houston Chronicle defines the importance of planning as:

  • The efficient use of resources
  • Establishing goals
  • Managing risk and uncertainty
  • Team building
  • Creating competitive advantages

This process starts before the project has even started! You should initially discuss and agree the common goals with your key stakeholders, (having an effective stakeholder engagement strategy will help you do this.)

Read our blog post on how to create an effective stakeholder engagement strategy

Agreeing these points now will hopefully avoid disagreements that could waste precious time later in the project, as you wait for them to be resolved.

Once that has been decided, you should concentrate and making the best of your resources. Work out priority tasks and then assign team members to them.

However, be careful not to overload them with work. Nearly 70% of workers feel as though they have too much work on their plates and adding to that unnecessarily will only make managing their time more difficult.

Lack of communication

poor communication

Previously we have written about the role of poor communication in the failure of a project. With so many different people working on the project, it is critical that you’re in regular contact with key figures to ensure that everything is running like clockwork.

If you’re doing this already – that’s great! But there are ways in which you can save time. For instance, when you’re arranging meetings. Do you only invite the relevant people? Do you set an agenda and record minutes? Doing this avoids any key points being missed and people’s time being wasted unnecessarily.

With 26% of employees considering email a major productivity killer, you should also consider other communication tools that will save you time.

Online collaboration software is fast becoming the norm for project teams both large and small. Instead of spending time searching through your full inbox, looking through long trails of emails for information, the software allows you to store documents and collaborate on them in real-time.

Here are 10 questions to ask an online collaboration software provider

As project manager, you also get to assign tasks and deadlines to ensure that your team are moving towards the goals that were discussed in the first point of this blog post.

Procrastination

Procrastination

We’ve all been there. There is that one huge, difficult task that needs to be completed. But it’s fine; you can keep putting it off and everything will be fine.

If only! If you think you are saving time by putting off your biggest tasks, then you might be in for a surprise when the deadline for it quickly arrives.

Procrastination is a killer for time management. It affects over 20% of the human population and doesn’t just make you less productive, it also has a knock-on effect on your colleagues and stakeholders, who are impacted by your failure to meet deadlines.

What can you do to stop? There is no simple answer, but removing as many distractions from your vicinity as possible is a good start.

If you have a tendency to visit non-work related websites too often, try installing StayFocsd. It works by giving you an allotted time to visit such sites and then making them inaccessible for the rest of the day.

Always on your mobile phone? There is no need to stop looking at it entirely, but schedule just 5 minutes an hour to check notifications and you will notice how much more time you have to work on your tasks. 

Topics: collaboration tools, project management, project extranets, online collaboration