Posted by Ariella Saucier on September 28, 2017
No matter what kind of business you’re in, it’s inevitable that there are going to be many different projects to handle at once. We all wish that the workload would slow down to give us time to handle every priority we have, but unfortunately, we can’t always press the pause button. So how do you stay organized and on top of each individual project to make sure they’re progressing as they should?
Here are some of the best project management organization tips we’ve put to use here at All Around Creative.
When you’re trying to carry out a plan with multiple parts and phases, it’s very easy to get caught up in each individual task. But if you’re building from scratch each time you need to create something, you’re probably going to end up doing a lot of repetitive work.
Templates cut down on the repetitiveness and streamline your work, so that you can be efficient with your time and focus on what really matters. You can use a template for an email campaign so you don’t have to rebuild each email every time you need to send one. Or, you can create a spreadsheet template if you know you’re going to be tracking similar data from project to project.
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to creating a template for a project, there are plenty of places online to download examples. In the past at AAC, we’ve used Project Manager to download templates for Gantt charts to keep everything organized.
No matter how you develop your templates, you’ll save a lot of time at the beginning of each project if you already have the base built for what you need done.
Use Scheduling and Automation
If you’re shooting to get everything out the door on time, it helps to schedule things in advance so you can stay ahead of what’s coming. There are plenty of services that allow you to schedule things like social media posts and emails, set due dates on tasks for yourself or teammates, or to automate reports so that they’re on your desk when you need them. Tools like HubSpot and Basecamp are some great examples. Check out several of our favorite project management tools for even more detail.
When you’re juggling different projects at once, scheduling out content or tasks ensures that the work will get done when it needs to be, so you don’t lose track and get behind. Scheduling also allows you to handle bigger chunks of your project when you have the time, so you’re not in a rush to finish up a task when it gets too hectic.
Have Goals and a Way to Measure Them
Maybe the most important part of project management is being able to know whether or not it’s successful. This is why it’s critical to define exactly what you want to accomplish before you begin–and how you can tangibly measure what that looks like.
Setting goals also helps you stay on track throughout the project. Think of them as checkpoints or milestones that need to be hit as the project moves along. The work can’t move forward until each goal is met along the way, so not setting any goals or checkpoints ahead of time can lead to a lot of disarray.
If you know what needs to be accomplished, you’ll be able to keep the project running smoothly and gain a much clearer picture of what needs troubleshooting.
When You Can’t Be Organized, Be Flexible
It goes without saying that things don’t always go as planned. Maybe the deadline on a major initiative all of a sudden gets bumped up, or at the last minute your supervisor or client decides a key piece needs to be changed before it’s approved. This can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you already spent time trying to develop a plan and get yourself organized.
Accepting that those chaotic times are pretty much inevitable is crucial to keeping the project on task. It’s great to have structure and organization, but sometimes you need a little bit of a wiggle room to get the same end result. Recognizing when and how to adjust to changes on the fly is perhaps the most important part of staying organized as a project manager.
Of course, if you try some of these tips and still find it difficult to stay on top of your workload, don’t worry. Our team at All Around Creative is always ready to step in, and you can contact me at any time to get started.