“Time” … such a feisty concept! No sooner than you try to define it, it wiggles its way outside of your grasp and makes a run toward Olympic gold. Yet, many tasks we set out to do are framed by it. Before you deploy the search and rescue over a tightly scheduled project that seems like it will never cross the finish line, remember these tips when scheduling more work around it:
Track your time. This can help to establish a reliable starting point for scheduling similar projects in the future. It’ll also serve as a clear record of where all your time went and why things moved more quickly, or slowly, than planned.
Improvise when needed. If you sense that a particular work process is not going smoothly, don’t let things fall far behind. Take charge. Try a new direction that might work better, and stay adaptable if you need to change up the pace yet again.
Make room for new skills. Take a class that will increase your value and confidence in the workplace, read up on relevant materials on the web or in trade publications, or attend conferences where you can network and brainstorm with other professionals. All of that will strengthen your work methods, boost your creative thinking and introduce more opportunities for you to become a better manager. You will learn to incorporate more time-saving shortcuts that can complement any project.
Engage past experiences. Experience is an excellent teacher. Learn from past scheduling mishaps and fight the urge to abbreviate any part of the timeline. While some time managers may advocate for padding estimates, it’s best to be transparent with your team and encourage them to stay flexible. Allow for a range because additional tasks may suddenly pile on that you didn’t know were coming, a personal conflict may arise that strains your availability on any given day, or you’re about to enter the year-end holiday season when time seems even more elusive.