When it comes to being a project manager, you have a lot of responsibilities on your hands. You not only have to manage the whole entire project but the employees as well. This can cause a lot of stress on your part because you end up having problems getting the work done well and on time.
A bottleneck is sort of a back log. When you have too much to do, you can’t seem to get everything done on time. This can cause major problems for you and your clients. Not only can having bottleneck issues cause you to lose money from projects when you can’t complete on time but you may even lose clients because of not being able to get all the work done.
Here are some major bottlenecks for project managers and some things you can do to help ease the problems and get more done, faster:
Every morning you log on to your computer to a ton of email from overnight. Some could be from your clients which are very important while others could be from things not so important. In fact according to Radicati Group employees receive and send over 100 emails every day. Email is so overwhelming that it is the first thing employees do when they get to work and the last they do before leaving for the day. As you can see email can be overwhelming.
So what can you do about getting through your email faster? You could hire an assistant to work through the backlog of email. You can also make labels for your email and have certain emails go straight to those labels. The best email client to do this would be Gmail because it is free and has the label feature that is really easy to set-up.
However, if you need to respond to important emails, hiring an assistant to help you with this might be a better idea. Have your assistant respond to your important emails while you focus on actual work.
If you need to find certain information faster in your important emails and spend too much time sorting through all of the information until finding the important stuff, you could install special software that helps find the information faster.
2. Waiting on Client Responses
If you spend a long time waiting on clients to respond to you through email, it is time to do something about making them respond faster.
Let them know your time is valuable and you don’t have time to wait all day for what you need to know and would appreciate it if they would respond in a timely manner. Use software that categorizes emails depending on their priority: low, medium and high priority.
Your clients will see that you need a quick response to your high priority emails and respond faster.
When you have too much work and are sorting through a ton of documents to find what you need to work on first, you definitely need to get organized. Disorganization and clutter leads to reduced productivity. A study by the Office Depot shows that close to 8 out of 10 Americans experience reduced productivity as a result of clutter and disorganization.
Getting organized will help you get things done faster. One way to organize your work is to make a list of everything you need to do every day. Write down the most important things first and get them done and then work your way through the list. You can use Google Docs and other software for this.
Use Google Sheets to make a spreadsheet to keep track of the work you have with what clients so you will know who and when to invoice for the project. Make sure to also mark down what is owed to you for the week or the month.
4. Incorrect Estimates
Estimate what you will be making on a project before taking it on…that’s obvious. However, it’s something that can become a recurring issue if you don’t pay attention, learn from mistakes and add contingencies.
This can help you decide if it is worth it. Calculate the time it will take to do the project and how much you are going to get to help you decide if you should take the project.
If something promises to pay well but it takes too long to do the project, then it is not worth your time. Time is money and this is something you have to think about before taking on each project you are asked to do.
5. Low Priority Distractions
Keeping all distractions away at all times will help you get your work done. This means turning the phone off, staying off of social media websites, staying away from the TV, and even signing out of your personal email. According to a survey over 50 percent of the survey respondents said that distractions impact their productivity negatively. These distractions cost business in America close to $650 billion annually.
So if you need to have your work email up while working, that is fine but try to refrain from checking it every time you get an email. Although you will need to get back to clients in a timely manner, wait until it is break time and check email and respond to it. They can wait up to at least 30 minutes.
However, if it is really important and they need to contact you, tell them to contact you on an Instant Messenger like Skype. This way you can text chat or video chat really quick to find out what they need and then get right back to work as soon as you can. Like mentioned before, time is money.
Having all of these bottlenecks out of your way and using all these tips can really help you get your work done in the time it needs to be done. The section about getting distracted is very important to remember because distractions are a major bottleneck for project managers.
You don’t need to check your email every 5 minutes but you do need to get your work done. Another thing to remember, don’t take on too much at a time because this will cost you. If someone asks you to work for them and you have enough on your plate as it is, you can either tell them no or let go a client that pays the least and take the higher paying ones on.
Checking those that don’t pay as much and letting them go is not a big deal. We all need to pay our bills and this is one way we can make sure we are doing what we need to do to make as much money as we can every month.
Using these tips will help you overcome your bottleneck issues and ensure you get through your day without too much stress.