Most of us will set ourselves some goals or targets that we want to achieve at some time or another. However, unless we’ve clearly set out a timescale in which we want to complete our aims or a target which will move them on to the next stage, it’s often easy to get sidetracked.
One of the ways in which we can ensure that we hit our targets is to plan ahead more efficiently. Ask yourself what you want to achieve in both your personal and professional life and write it down. Set time frames by which you either want to have fully accomplished a personal goal or, if it’s on a much larger scale, still set time frames and set yourself targets which will move the project on to the next level.
If you don’t have to plan your working week meticulously, it can help if you start doing that of your own accord. An efficient work time management system can enable you to stay on top of things, keeps you more organised and, ultimately, this not only improves your performance at work but will alleviate any work related stress which often results due to bad planning. Set aside specific time slots for things like making phone calls, answering e-mails, attending meetings and other administrative duties or, if your work isn’t office based, you’ll still be able to plan other routine tasks similarly. Don’t forget to prioritise each of your tasks so that, even if you’re not able to complete everything scheduled for a particular day, then at least you’ve got the most important things out of the way.
Plan for the week ahead before it starts. That way, if you simply don’t find enough time to complete all of your tasks on any given day, you can just add them onto the next day’s ‘things to do’ list. Review this on a weekly basis and if you’re constantly finding that you can never complete everything on your lists by the end of each week, then you might need to revise your time management strategy and see if you can make any adjustments.
Keep an eye out for interruptions. Unfortunately, unforeseen interruptions are often beyond your control but sometimes necessary. Keep a record of these on a daily basis and how long each one takes to resolve. Analyse which ones were beyond your control and which ones were self-imposed and try to reduce the latter to make you more efficient. You’ll be quite surprised just how much time interruptions can make up of your working day and they will cost you energy, time and, perhaps, even money.
Make sure your goals are measurable as this is the only way you can sustain your motivation. For example, if you are saving up for a holiday and need to accumulate £1,000 within 6 months, keep a record of how much your savings have increased month by month as you’re more likely to reach your target ahead of time, and be more efficient as a result, if you can see how far you are from the finishing post on a monthly basis.
Good project organisational skills go hand in hand with good leadership and efficiency. A skilled project organiser should be able to clearly set out the objectives of the task to all the other members of a team and to inspire them to work towards the goals.
Good communication remains of paramount importance when organising a project. Responsibility, performance, feedback, giving guidelines and expectations should all be incorporated here and communication should be open and direct.
Whilst a plan should be formulated it’s important that it’s followed through and on schedule. Many people often think they are good organisers and set out clearly defined strategies but never back that up with supported actions.
Enthusiasm, competence, self-belief, a healthy regard to teamwork and team spirit and a ‘can-do’ attitude are also important, as is the ability to delegate when it comes to project organisation and whilst many of the skills and qualities touched upon here relate to project management of a team, they are also relevant to autonomous project organisation if you are working solo.