by Lorin McCann
Someone once said, “Don’t make change too complicated, just begin”.
My natural bent is to be a perfectionist, so that quotation has become a daily mantra. Getting started is truly the toughest part of overcoming any project or task. That includes starting AGAIN after hitting a wall or bumping up against an obstacle along the way.
After spending the past several years experimenting with countless project management tactics, there are only a few tried-and-true habits that still allow me to leverage my time most effectively.
Here are the 6 game-changing project management resolutions for 2016.
1. Plan your day the night before
There’s nothing like hitting the ground running before you’ve even had your morning coffee or checked your inbox. Absolute clarity on your most important goals for the day frees up mental bandwidth so you can focus on getting things done rather than aimlessly shifting from task to task throughout the day.
2. Prioritize important tasks before urgent tasks
It’s easy to get these two mixed up, but it’s crucial to understand the difference between the seemingly important and the “actually urgent”.
Urgent: Other people’s demands, “putting out fires”
- Unexpected client deadlines
- Checking email
- Updating social media
- Putting out someone else’s fires
Important: Business development, marketing, growth
- Planning an editorial calendar
- Sending newsletters regularly
- Financial planning
- Networking, webinar production, speaking
Staying on top of where you spend your time is tough, especially when there are so many external demands vying for attention.
Decide that spending time on your important tasks is not an option.
3. Consolidate projects into one easily-manageable place
If you have a team or manage clients, relying on email for collaboration is nearly always inefficient and costly. Even if you’re a solopreneur, you need a system for staying on top of day-to-day tasks, client projects, and ongoing business development initiatives.
Project management software will make completing all of your projects faster and more efficient. Here are some of the most popular project management solutions I’ve tried:
4. Meet face-to-face to move projects forward faster
If you work remotely with clients, subcontractors, team members, employees, or even just your accountant, meeting face-to-face (at least once) is incredibly effective at establishing rapport and building a better working relationship.
And if you’ve ever endured a less-than-great professional relationship you know how much it can decrease your productivity. Some of the project management software solutions mentioned above have built-in video conferencing software, but in case you choose one that doesn’t, Redbooth is a great free resource for online meetings.
5. Incorporate accountability into your weekly schedule
I always outline my most important goals at the beginning of the week, put them on my calendar, and keep them top-of-mind during the week.
And, once a week I review my goals and deadlines to assess what was accomplished and what wasn’t. Not only does this practice keep me accountable, it keeps me motivated. I achieve my goals more consistently than I ever did before adopting this habit.
Have a team? Check in with them at the end of the week to evaluate progress and celebrate successes from the week.
6. Make it happen
These simple project management habits will make a huge difference in what you’re able to accomplish, so don’t wait to try them out, just begin!
Lorin is an inbound marketer and growth strategist Vrtical, digital marketing for solopreneurs, startups, and small businesses. She also works on growth hacking projects at Lotus Growth, a B2B marketing consultancy. Follow her on Twitter here.
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