When you’re completing a project on your own or in collaboration with others, a schedule can be your best ally in ensuring that your plans and ideas come to fruition. Following that schedule can help ensure that you have adequate time to complete the work to your satisfaction; make it easier to stay on budget; and, ultimately, help you meet (or beat!) an established deadline. A carefully written schedule can also serve as a visible reminder that motivates you to stay on track and on task… especially when you’re distracted by other appealing opportunities (such as a summertime picnic, trip to the lake, or swim in the pool).
As you may have discovered, a useful schedule is based on a clear plan for accomplishing the various steps involved in completing your project, married with time estimates that are neither too tight nor too lax. In Contemporary Project Management, Second Edition, Timothy Kloppenborg offers a concise list of suggestions that can help you set a realistic time estimate for the work you need to accomplish. This advice is especially helpful if you’re working with others, but these points can also apply if you’re working independently and want to manage your time and resources in an efficient and effective manner:
- Unexpected meetings
- Inaccuracy in work instructions
- Learning curves
- Competing priorities
- Emergencies and illness
- Resources or information not available on time
Reference: Kloppenborg, Timothy. 2012. Contemporary Project Management, Second Ed. Mason, OH: South-Western, Cengage Learning.
How do you keep yourself on time and on task? Share your suggestions for setting effective schedules below.
Looking for other suggestions? Read our posts on time management.