Whether you are a student, an executive, or a stay-at-home parent, how you spend your time is valuable to you and others, and wasted time is often wasted energy. No matter the size or scope of a particular project, you’re going to have to learn to manage your time wisely. Here are some simple skills you can use to get started.
Before making a major purchase, you are likely to figure out just what you want, when you want it, and what your budget is. The same concept applies to project time management. Understand exactly what is required of you, when it is due, and then approximate how much time it will take to complete. If in doubt, overestimate. Deadlines are there for a reason: if you know the end date, you can use the potential stress of a deadline to your advantage if you plan accordingly.
Once you know your time budget, prioritize your tasks. What absolutely must be done first? What’s the most important facet of the project? Is there something you absolutely must do in order to even get the project off the ground? Answer these questions in the form of a to-do list. Put tasks in order of importance, and then be willing to edit the list as needed when you hit roadblocks and setbacks.
Now that you have your to-do list in place, set goals for yourself. These can be daily, weekly, or monthly, depending on the scope of the project. Set the long-term goal for project completion, then break that down into smaller, measurable short-term goals that are relevant to the overall completion of the project. Meeting those goals will not only encourage you to keep moving toward the project’s completion, but they will work to assure that you stay focused on the bigger picture.
Procrastination is part of human nature. Faced with a large task, it is easy to get overwhelmed and avoid starting. Taking the first step toward completing a project can be the hardest. But if you have a clear sense of where you are going, what needs to be done first, and what your goals are, you can beat the temptation to put off starting.
So long as you invest some time up front to determine how to manage the time allotted for a major project, you can stay on task and spend your time wisely.