No matter the business you’re in, there will always be many projects going on at once. While we may wish the workload would slow down, we can’t just press pause. So, how should you stay organized and make sure each project is on track? Here are four key project management tips that we rely on at All Around Creative.
1. Build Templates
When you have a complex plan with multiple parts and phases, it can be easy to get caught up in individual tasks. And if you’re rebuilding your processes from scratch each time, you’re going to end up doing a lot of repetitive work.
Templates streamline your work, so you can be efficient and focus on what really matters. For example, 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, there are plenty of places to download examples. In the past, we’ve used Project Manager to download templates for Gantt charts to keep everything organized. We also develop a lot of our own templates and then reuse them once we find that they work for us.
2. Use Scheduling and Automation
When you’re shooting to get everything out the door on time, it helps to schedule in advance whenever possible. There are plenty of services that let you schedule tactical activities like social posts or emails, set due date reminders on tasks for yourself or teammates, or automate reports so they’re on your desktop when you need them. Marketing automation tools like HubSpot or team collaboration and project management tools like Basecamp are some of our personal favorites.
Scheduling also lets you attack larger pieces of your project more strategically when you do have the time, so you’re not in a rush to finish simpler, repetitive tasks when you’re already busy.
3. Set Goals and Ways to Measure Them
Perhaps the most important part of project management is knowing whether your project has been successful. It’s critical to define success before you begin, setting metrics in advance and determining how you will tangibly measure them.
Setting goals helps you stay on track throughout the project by allowing you to prioritize more effectively. Use these goals as checkpoints that need to be hit as the project moves along. The work can’t really move forward until each milestone is met along the way.
Once you know what needs to be accomplished and what’s expected from it at the end, you’ll be able to keep the project running smoothly and quickly address what needs troubleshooting.
4. 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 project all of a sudden gets accelerated, or your supervisor or the client requests a critical change just before approvals. This can be frustrating, especially if you’ve already spent time trying to stay organized.
Accepting that some level of chaos are pretty much inevitable is actually part of keeping the project on task. It’s great to have a plan in place, but the most important part of planning is the activity itself, since it helps you think about things from different angles. Once things are in motion, your plan is likely going to change. Recognizing when and how to adjust on the fly is perhaps the most important part of staying organized.
Of course, if you try these project management tips and still find it difficult to stay on top of your workload, don’t worry. Our team is always ready to step in, and you can contact me at any time to get started.