Successful project managers are celebrated for their ability to get things done. Many entrepreneurs are bursting with amazing ideas but struggle with execution. Whether you have an enterprise of one or 100, moving projects forward can be challenging.
Rather than thinking of yourself as a business owner, start thinking of yourself as a project manager—and your business is the project.
Here are eight tips for becoming your own project manager and getting things done.
Start with Basic Time Management Skills
Developing your time management skills is an integral first step to getting things done in your business. In essence, a successful project manager starts with a grasp of this concept and knows how to implement it in an organizational capacity.
Start by auditing your time and determining where you’re getting distracted, how much time you’re wasting, and what tasks take the longest to accomplish. Using a time auditing program like RescueTime can help you identify how much of your day is spent scrolling through Instagram or answering emails. Sometimes this “Aha!” moment is enough to elicit behavior changes.
From there, put a system in place that helps you focus and allows for reasonable break periods. Try a time-blocking strategy to organize what tasks you should be focused on and when.
Choose Intuitive Tools
Once you’ve started a better time management routine, start the process of investigating project management tools. There are endless options available, so refuse to get stuck in the weeds here. In fact, consider setting up some time blocks with limitations around how much time you’ll spend finding a tool.
When choosing a project management tool, the key thing to remember is to look beyond the bells and whistles to select something intuitive. The extra features don’t matter if no one uses them.
As a self-led project manager, you’ll want something that’s:
- easy to navigate
- easy to update
- clear at a high-level
Consider looking for a tool that also integrates with time-tracking and daily to-do summaries to simplify the process.
Invest in Training
Taking project management training can help you direct projects in your own business and improve processes with your clients. Don’t forget that it’s also a business expense, so choose training programs wisely.
Invest in an industry-recognized training program like Lean Six Sigma to help you learn how to analyze processes, make data-driven decisions, and introduce changes that improve projects and business protocols.
Reverse-Engineer Your Goals
As any skilled project manager will tell you, you should always begin with the end in mind.
Outline your projects by starting with the goal and moving backward to determine what needs to be accomplished to get you there. Continue reverse-engineering your plan until you have monthly, weekly, and daily steps that lead to success.
Entrepreneurs often experience intrinsic motivation when they get things done. In other words, the sense of accomplishment in achieving one’s goal is rewarding enough for the effort. However, adding an extrinsic reward can also help you celebrate milestones and wins along the way.
Project managers know the importance of setting aside time to celebrate success. It creates a positive response and restorative period for a job well done.
Project managers also know that reviewing failures and analyzing losses is as vital as celebrating wins. Not every project or goal will be a winner. Take these learnings to apply to the next project, and learn from your mistakes.
Start Each Day with an MIT
Never underestimate the importance of highlighting a top priority on your daily to-do list. This item is the thing that you must do, regardless of what the day brings. It could be something that’s holding up progress in other areas or be crucial for revenue. Highlight an MIT each day, and “swallow the frog” by getting it done first.
Set Aside Admin Time
Finally, understand that project management can be an admin-heavy job. Administrative work often gets put on the backburner for entrepreneurs, creating disorganization and waste within the business. Use time blocking to factor in admin time, and outsource as needed.
With these simple tips, you can become a successful project manager within your own business, creating productivity and profits over time.