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Time management - Projects



For the purpose of Time Management we are focussing on multi-step tasks that are not over complex.
Many projects that cover a long time period and exist in specialist areas, for example, construction, pharmaceuticals and I.T. tend to require more sophisticated handling, although the principles here will also apply at some level. These areas often utilise specialist software packages, for example, Microsoft Office, which is too complex for simple Time Management purposes.

In this scenario, whilst the project may have several steps you may not be responsible for all of these although you will be accountable.
If this is the case, make sure you maintain control over the ‘delegated’ step.


The fact that projects are multi-step tasks makes them more complex. It is not a simple case of carrying out actions until all of the steps are complete.
It is likely to be more complex than that.

Detailed planning information for this and larger projects is covered elsewhere [see ‘The Complete Project Management package’] and [see 'The Complete Project Management plus PRINCE2'].

To complete all of the steps correctly you need to plan.

The major steps to complete a project are.

Define the purpose and outcomes required from each step. What are the objectives?
Look at options (strategies) for moving forward with each step.
Evaluate the options and choose a way forward (tactic).
Clarify your next step and put it into action.

The trouble with a lot of projects is people do not always examine enough options.
A good technique for this is to carry out a brain storm. You can do this just for yourself, for small projects, or with others for larger project needs.

Ideas that may help to move on a project should be captured and put into the appropriate Project ‘day file’.

Some projects may require a lot of time and you should allocate the necessary time to them.
If you have problems try not to panic and worry, look for solutions and plan properly.

Whilst planning is a good thing only go to a level that is appropriate, too much detail can lose sight of the objective.
The key thing is to decide what the next action will be, by whom and when the deadline will be.


Whilst many aspects of projects are often controlled at specialist meetings this is not always the case. Many multi-step projects that you will be involved with will not rise to this status. If they do, you can inform the meeting of your progress either in person, by a substitute or in writing.
If possible, try to limit your attendance to your agenda topic to save time.

Look at the section on meetings elsewhere (see ‘meetings 1’ and ‘meetings 2’) for additional information.

Decision and data

Many projects are held up for the want of a decision. This could be yours or that of another or senior management.
If the hold up is with your self you should acquire the necessary information that will help you resolve the impasse.

If it is elsewhere you should add a reminder to the appropriate Project ‘day file’ so that you can pick this up during your weekly review process.

In order to make sure you collect all the information related to Projects (or ‘delayed’ and ‘delegated’) your systems must all be in place.
You should be reviewing all the areas where information arrives, for example, in-trays, e-mail, voice mail etc so that you don’t miss anything.

Non - PRINCE2 information