Personal Acceleration: Five Ways to Get More Done Each Day

clock-head-tinyThere are many methods you  you can use to get more done each day and here a few suggestions that are simple and effective and won’t cost more money.  In many projects, it may be a task or resource scheduling that prevents completion but the one area with the most control is how much you can accomplish in a day and for most people we are not even tapping into the potential that you have. Here are some ideas to make sure you are operating effectively while managing your projects.
Do Things You’re Best At
Do things at which you excel or no one else can do. The better you are in a key skill area the more you can accomplish.  Because you are better at these tasks  you will be able to get them done with less effort and have fun doing them.  It is important to become relentless at evaluating what work you are doing and who else on team can accomplish that type of work. Identifying what can be eliminated from your day and delegating will create more time and space so you can do your genius work and produce the highest impact and value from your activities.
Work Harder
Work harder than you are working today. You may be thinking this is not possible but it is.  If you can create an environment that allows you to have greater focus you will be able to work with greater intensity and accomplish more.  Being able to focuse without  distraction is a learned skill.  If you think about it, how often does that happen?  Usually you are on phone, email, instant messenger and not focusing on the strategic plan and follow through to make sure resources clearly understand work and will finish early.  You can work harder than anyone else, which is a key to great success that will pay back dividends.

Work Faster
You can work faster.  If you pushed the gas pedal down a little more, what is result?  Small changes in your speed will get it done faster and others will respond faster as well in work they are doing.  As leader of a project, you can develop a faster tempo that will carry through the whole team and often drive a higher commitment to accomplishing work faster.    By focusing on speed, you will need to cut time down on tasks and eliminates a lot of the factor of people waiting till a due date to finish work.  Its adopting a “get it done now” attitude and eliminating distractions.  When you combine working harder and working faster, you can get more done in a single day than most people get done in a week.

Batch your Tasks
You can batch your tasks as in manufacturing theory it is more productive and more is produced. It eliminates the constant shift from start and stop on different activities. By batching and getting like activities done together you can take advantage of learning curve and efficiencies that you can employ to get tasks done.
Make Fewer Mistakes
To get more done, you can focus on doing it right the first time.  You’ve heard it said, “there is never enough time to do it right, but there is always enough time to do it over.”  Take the time to make sure you have latest info and its understood clearly what is needed. Redoing work is never fun and causes frustration.  This can be as simple as verifying you have the latest version of file, validating the analysis or test criteria, checking on design requirements with customer or what ever is relevant to your work. One of the best time management techniques is to do it right the first time.

As leader of your team, it is important you continue to use strategies to boost output and accelerate work as others on the team will learn and model from your habits. Small improvements made across a team of 30 people  drives large boost in overall team output. Take action now and implement an improvement today.

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Project: Vacation in New Zealand

When you have worked hard through a big project it is key to go rest and relax doing something you enjoy. My current project is to see as much of New Zealand for 25 days and then spend a week with family catching up for the holidays. So how does vacation relate to project management?  It is a project. You can choose to purchase a tour which is paying a company to plan and book in advance for you or you can self guide and plan it all in advance. Given I spend most of my time planning, I choose to approach vacation with a more casual approach by booking a destination, place ticket and travel guide with some general plans about route. Then I use the time travelling to plan the next destination, travel means and take advantage of talking with locals and other travellers about the best places to go. This ensure I have time for spontanaity and not missing the best places that may not be in the guidebook. I usually use a mix of accomodations sometimes camping, hotels or hostel type places based on what’s available. So far I have packed in kayaking, hiking, abseiling 100 meters, climbing through limestone caves, touring cities of Auckland, Wellington and many small townships along the way. A “helihike” is coming up soon at the Franz Joseph Glacier. I am very excited and looking forward to a great day!  New Zealand is an amazing country full of national parks, tons of lakes, coastal sights and hiking trails. It is also full of adrenalin boosting extreme sports and sky diving seems to be a popular activity with other travellers. The escape from projects and normal routine is inspiring me with many new projects and ideas for when I return. So take this as a reminder to make sure you take down time and go do your favorite activities or plan your next adventure to see the big amazing world out there to explore!  I will post some pics when I return.

Collaborate for success

Collaboration is one of the driving forces behind superior project and program management. No matter what you read, you’ll probably find something in it about collaboration these days. There are many views. Interestingly, in the Dictionary, “collaboration” has two definitions:

1. working together—the act of working together with one or more people in order to achieve something

2. working with enemy—the betrayal of others by working with an enemy, especially an occupying force

Most people have experienced collaboration and have also had experience where little to none was present. In the project environment, it is critical. The depth of strength of planning and development is dependant on how well you can coordinate and facilitate collaboration in the team. Having a team that is integrated, aligned and working together well will be a key driver in delivering successful projects.

As I meet other project managers, I’m impressed to see the progress you’ve made in building project teams one piece at a time. You are great PM, working to advocate the need to work together creatively, and making sure that project collaboration is recognized as a crucial piece to the team delivering a project.

Partnering with vendors, contractors, managers, team member is what collaboration is about and a foundational element to productive work. this can be hiring, outsourcing, consultants, and finding the very best people you can to work on your team. The better the collaboration between parties, the better the results will be. It is each individual who really makes it all work. Continue to pursue excellence by creatively collaborating with others, and you will elevate the project to world-class status.

How do you collaborate in difficult situations?