Team members must work in harmony to ensure the project is executed well. This would require them to possess work prioritization and time management skills, in addition to the ability to follow the project schedule.
So, if you are a team member, how can you polish these two important skills? By mastering the following five activities and continuing to better yourself in those areas.
Estimate the project schedule and any required changes
It is, of course, the first thing that you must master. Being aware of the timeframe of a task and the changes that follow are often underlooked. You can only work satisfactorily if you understand the scope of the task, the detailed activities required to complete it, and how long it would take for you to finish. If you make a good estimate of what is expected and your actual skill level, most likely you can manage to complete it on time.
Choose the most urgent and time-consuming task first
Sometimes, we choose the easiest thing to do first or the least time-consuming. However, whenever possible, such as when you encounter a series of tasks that don’t need to be completed within a certain sequence, consider doing the most time-consuming task first. Alternatively, the most urgent. The “most time-consuming task” can be the most difficult to complete or simply take a long time to finish due to the level of details involved. Once it is tackled early on, you can speedily progress to working on other less time-consuming tasks.
Exclude all other tasks and distractions until this task is completed
Make sure that your work area, which can be a desk, room, or anything required in the project, is free from distraction. This means minimal noise, no tempting social media, and other things that can distract you from completing the task. If your task involves using a computer, close unnecessary windows. Turn off your phone’s notification sounds and set it on silence or vibrate. The key is the less distracted you are, the more focused you are on the task. Avoid multitasking as much as possible. Focus all your efforts on first completing the task at hand before moving on to anything else.
Use productivity apps
If you have not used any productivity apps before, consider using one. One of the most popular is the Pomodoro Timer, which features a red tomato symbol. The default setting is 25-minute plus 5-minute blocks. This way, you can monitor your productivity within those minutes and can take 5-minute rests afterward. For instance, when completing Task A, you can set the timer for One Pomodoro (25 minutes). If you need more time, you can set for another 25-minute block. Take note of how many blocked time you needed to finish the task so that it can be repeated in the future.
Take mini-breaks to compose
A good time manager knows when to work hard and when to take a rest. According to the study of psychology, a human’s attention span is effective for 45 minutes. Beyond that, the quality of attention would go downhill. It is, thus, recommended to take a short break every 45 minutes, such as 5 to 7 minutes, to compose yourself and refresh your mind. Take a few sips of water or walk a few steps would be sufficient.
Last but not least, for a project to be successful, every team member must master work-prioritization and time-management skills, which can be polished over time with awareness. The role of the project manager is ensuring that the team members are well-equipped and prepared to work optimally.