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Time Management Hacks for the Busy Engineering Project Manager

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With critical skills shortages and an ever-increasing demand for IT services in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems there has never been more pressure on engineering project managers to deliver. Whether it’s installing new network technology, updating existing infrastructure, or upgrading legacy systems, the focus and technical expertise of these professionals is in high demand.

Although these professionals can seemingly deliver the right technical outcomes at the right time, every time, without breaking a sweat, it can still be difficult to balance all of these conflicting priorities over time.

Are you or someone you know an engineering project manager looking to take a breath and reset your schedule? If so, we have a list of time management tips compiled from our experience as a trusted managed services provider. You can use it to get more done in less time.

Realize Multitasking Doesn’t Work

Although you may feel like you are able to effectively read an email while reviewing a network schematic during a conference call, you aren’t actually performing each of these tasks to the best of your ability.

As one researcher from Ohio State University, Zheng Wang, notes, "There's this myth among some people that multitasking makes them more productive. But they seem to be misperceiving the positive feelings they get from multitasking. They are not being more productive—they just feel more emotionally satisfied from their work."

In other words, while you like the feeling of being productive and “getting things done,” you actually aren’t being as productive as you could be. Instead, Wang suggests, people are most effective and productive when they concentrate on one thing at a time until it is done. Take this concentration to the next level by silencing your device notifications and cleaning up your workspace, and you will be able to focus more and get more tasks done right.

 

Focus on Your Priorities

If you are starting the week, or even the day, without a game plan for what you hope to accomplish, you may quickly find out that your time can spin out of your control.

Instead, take some time the night before to set a plan for your next day, and then work to tackle these most important items right away in the morning. This strategy can help you maximize the productivity and energy that fuels you at the beginning of your workday. Along the same lines, this technique to organize your day helps you to know when you can gracefully say “no” to a new request that doesn’t meet the priority of your other tasks.

 

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Delegate and Empower Your Team

After you define your priorities, identify which tasks you can pass on to your team so you can better share the load.

Although this can be difficult if you are used to handling everything on your own, it may help if you change your perspective on the idea of delegation. For example, if you keep in mind that delegating also gives your team a chance to grow and learn new skills while freeing up your time for more advanced or strategic tasks, you will quickly realize the benefits for everyone involved.

 

Map How Your Time Is Spent

Have you ever wondered where the day went? Although you may feel like you are constantly busy, moving from task to task, if you actually reflect on how your time is spent, you may be surprised to find some opportunities to improve your time management.

Take a week or two to map how you spend your time and the tasks that you do. At the end of the week, reflect on the time spent and the types of activities you do, and see how they align with your plan for the week. You will likely find some glaring opportunities for change. There are plenty of online resources and apps that can help you get started with this time evaluation and analysis.

 

Take Time to Recharge

No matter how your work arrangement has changed in the last year, it is probably safe to say that taking some time to focus on yourself and your own growth has been put on the back burner.

It can be easy to feel guilty for taking time for yourself in this work environment, but you need to remember the balance that exercise, sleep, and even getting (safely) away when you can give you a new perspective and energy. Without it, you can burn out and your performance can suffer.

 

Bringing It All Together

These tips can go a long way toward helping you in your quest to get more done without extending your work day, but sometimes having the right partner can also be a real accelerator toward powering through your organizational to-do list.

If you have already considered leaning on the experience of a trusted managed services provider, a team like VectorUSA has the experience, skilled staff, and depth of services to help with every phase of your projects for the long haul.

Ready to learn more? Contact us for a free consultation.

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