Simple habits and rituals to help level-up your Project Management skills

improve your personal productivity

In our last post we looked at ‘Personal Productivity’ and shared a few ideas on how you can get the most out of your day, by focusing on your health, fitness and nutrition. In this post, we focus on Project Management – sharing some rituals and ideas you can test-out in your work life, to ensure you are maximising your productivity and creating some good habits.

Ignore the news

You don’t need to keep up-to-date on the news throughout the day. If something major happens you’ll find out one way or another. Start the day with a coffee and focus on what’s useful, actionable and needs your attention - the morning is when you are usually at your most productive, don’t waste it!

The 'two-minute' rule

If a task takes less than two minutes to complete, you should do it immediately. Whether that means responding to an email, making a quick phone call to a client or updating a team status report - get those small tasks done, rather than letting them pile up.

Begin with Brussel sprouts

Traditionally the mighty Brussel sprout has never been the most loved of vegetables (although we’re all big fans at dyzio!). The truth is that you'll enjoy your roast meat and potatoes much more if you eliminate the Brussels sprouts first. The same is true for productivity - eliminate your least favourite tasks in the morning and you'll find the rest of your day to be less stressful and productive.

Have shorter and more productive meetings

Make meetings more productive or don’t have them at all. Meetings waste an enormous amount of time and money because there are too many people in attendance that don’t need to be there and most of them are replying to emails or focusing on something other than the meeting. It’s also true that most meetings never need more than 30 minutes to accomplish their missions and many only need 15 minutes. 
Co-founder and CEO of Warby, Parker Neil Blumenthal, implemented the following meeting rules in his business: -

  • No more update meetings — only decision meetings

  • Relevant information must be shared with meeting attendees in advance

  • Everyone must do their homework before entering the conference room

  • No devices allowed

"We've found that all of the above practices ensure that team members (including me!) spend meeting time actually engaging our brains rather than 'getting on the same page' — which, after all, should be a prerequisite of any meeting, and not a result," he writes. 

Tear up the ‘To-Do List’ – and ‘Schedule’ your day instead

Do you ever get the feeling that some items never get ticked off your To-Do list or that you never get to the bigger projects! Scheduling requires you to be realistic about what you can get done. It makes you seriously sit down and consider your available time and what specific times you can designate to completing certain tasks in each day. So, block-out time to complete these tasks (e.g. "create new proposal," or "write product spec doc”) - if you don't block out that time those tasks will slip, or worse, they won't get done.

Make bad habits difficult for yourself

Sometimes the best way to break a bad habit is by making things incredibly difficult for yourself. If you can't help but surf the internet when you need to be focusing on a report, disconnect from the network for an hour. While the extreme lengths you take to avoid certain habits can seem excessive, once those habits are broken it will be well worth the struggle. 

Make sure your goals are realistic

Setting unrealistic expectations for yourself sets you up for failure. Don't be afraid to start with small steps and work up from there. If you want to be a Microsoft Project expert, start by trying to learn just one new MS Project feature a day. Your goals shouldn't be lofty ideals you never plan on reaching, they should be real and attainable. Once you meet your goals, create new ones that raise the bar even higher.

on Sunday night

Sunday is a day for relaxing, but if you often get overwhelmed come Monday morning, logging in briefly Sunday evening may help you alleviate some of that Monday stress. You don't need to make calls or even answer emails, simply assess key tasks and create a game plan for the week ahead. Look at your calendar, review what meetings are scheduled and what key tasks you want to accomplish - then schedule time for these tasks during the week. The key is to create structure and discipline for your week ahead – so you tackle those big tasks head-on and don’t let the week get away from you, as urgent issues will take over.