The Juggling Act: Time Management as a Project Manager

Whether you own your own small creative business, or you’re in the manufacturing industry, you have quality, budget, and schedule to consider as you manage your day-to-day.  How do you make sure your projects are completed smoothly and on time?  The secret is to manage your time as well as you manage your projects.

Thankfully, great time management = great risk management = great project management.  If you follow the tips below, your project will have a much better chance of being a success.

1.  Prioritize

Focus exclusively on the important stuff.  The Pareto Principle states that 20% of any given work will give you 80% of the results.  This means that if you spend more time working on those important tasks, the reward will be much greater than if you spent your time worrying about the other 80%.

How do you know which 20% of those tasks are the important ones?  Well, I hope you remembered to…

2.  Document and Measure Everything

Write everything down.  Not only will this give you valuable data to analyze later, but documenting everything will help with any immediate changes in project scope or direction.  Your time will be measured, your resources will be allocated correctly, and you and your team will always know exactly what is happening and when.

First, outline the project’s activities, budget, and duration/effort estimates.  Figure out the highest level tasks and deliverables, then break down each task into smaller tasks.  Then create the schedule based on duration estimates, then create the budget for each step.

Of course, you can’t expect to do everything yourself.  That’s why you…

3.  Delegate

Avoid micro-managing.  You have a brilliant team to do the work, right?  Let them do their job.  If you involve yourself in completing tasks others should be doing, you won’t be doing your job as project manager, which is bad news.  Never neglect the management of the project for the “doing” of the project.  That’s like leaving the captain’s wheel to mop the deck.

What if you don’t have a team, and you’re a one-person biz?  Then it’s time to hire an assistant.  Outsource menial tasks so you can focus on that 20% we mentioned earlier.  This will allow you freedom to manage your time in the most productive manner.

You have so much to do in the course of the day, often changing tracks every hour or so.  Make sure you…

4.  Keep your momentum

When switching from one task to another – especially if there is disparity in the nature of the tasks – it is tempting to ask yourself if you want to jump into the next activity so suddenly.  The answer will almost always be no, and you’ll lose steam.  Not good.  There’s this sort of momentum you build up when you’re doing something.  So if you go straight to the next task, you won’t have to build up that momentum again.  It’ll be easier to alternate quickly between tasks if you simply don’t think about it.


To better manage your time, try out Copper Project Management Software‘s free 30-day trial!  It has all the features to track your time, budget, tasks, clients, and team members so you can be productive and organized.  Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Sara Border is a guest author for Copper.  She’s an experienced time manager and somehow fits superfluous activities into her very packed schedule.  See her other work over at her website.