Retail Project Managers are always in the hot seat by taking charge of their team and wearing many hats in their day to day tasks. A good Retail Project Manager also becomes an analyst, a change manager, an operational specialist, a facilitator, a problem solver, a negotiator, an innovator and plays other roles as required.

By effectively fulfilling these different roles, a Retail Project Manager will be successful in delivering their project goals.

Personal Productivity Allows You to Play Different Roles

Successful Project Managers appear to be able to do more with less during their careers and projects. They apply the skills that make them essential to the success of any business.

They strive for increasing and improving their own personal productivity as well as that of their team and organisation.

By focusing on and boosting their own productivity, they increase their efficiency and become capable of producing a greater output. By saving time, they can play the various roles as required and deliver successful projects. Therefore, no matter what challenges present themselves, a productive person will be able to ‘roll with it’ to turn activities around quickly. No procrastination. No wasted time.

They have a set of principles to help how they organise and manage their personal workload.

6 Personal Workload Management Tips

You need to define how you will manage, track and control your workload and tasks.

1. Set and define goals

To enhance their personal workload management and that of their team, the best Project Managers set and define their goals clearly.

Your personal workload should be aligned to these goals. You can review your workload periodically to ensure that it continues to align. If particular tasks don’t support one of your goals – why are you thinking of doing it?

Your calendar too should be aligned to these goals. Again, if not – why is that meeting in your diary?

2. Create a “to do” list at the end of every day

This next tip is easily an essential one for Project Managers who are looking to increase their productivity. In 2012, LinkedIn found that 63% of professionals keep to do lists. My guess would be that that successful Project Managers create and maintain a to-do list every day. You can do this at the end of the day, ready to kick start tomorrow, or do it first thing. The important point here is to keep one!

Following this practice will help you because it identifies essential tasks you would want you and your team to achieve in the short term. It enables you to keep a check on your daily progress and see warning signs of upcoming problems.

This to do list will then form the foundations for building efficiency in your personal workload management.

Read more about our to do list tips.

3. Work out what’s important and what’s urgent

Your to do list and plan will be full of big, challenging tasks as well as small, quick and easy activities. It’s easy to do the latter but you’ll find yourself putting off the big, important pieces of work. Cross reference your to do list with your goals to help set the right level of importance.

By allocating the important tasks as well as what’s urgent will allow you to make progress on the big, meaty challenges as well as ensure you aren’t missing deadlines.

4. Schedule the big tasks

The important items in your to-do list and plan can sometimes appear overwhelming. These tasks can make Project Managers procrastinate and waste their time. To tackle this, successful Project Managers schedule set time into their calendar to work on specific tasks. This could be, for example, building a business case, creating a plan or writing an update paper. Whatever the task, by allocating specific time into your diary, you will become more productive.

You can take this a step further by scheduling the work into the times when you’re most focused and most on your game. This habit will help you because you will then tackle the hardest work when you’re at your most energised and most active.

You could also try Timeboxing to help get more out of your time.

5. Knowing what’s good enough

You should be learn to realise when your work is good enough. You don’t need to be a perfectionist but you do need to deliver good quality work. Delivering work of a lower quality will negatively impact on your personal brand as well as your project’s brand. Delivering excessive quality could be classified as wasted effort.

To maximise your personal workload management, you should always aim to deliver good enough.

6. Avoid checking emails and notifications too frequently

Bing. The email toast just popped up on your screen.

Da-ding. Your phone wants your attention.

You’re distracted now. Emails and other notifications take up a lot of essential time. This could be the literal time you spend reading, sorting, thinking about and writing your emails. Or it could even be the impact from switching tasks.

Task switching causes brain downtime and this will increase the amount of time that you take to do something.

When you’re doing a big piece of work, close down Outlook or whatever email system you are using. Will the world really end if you don’t check your emails for a few hours? Your personal productivity will thank you for that one!

Try to limit how often you check your emails. You could even schedule it into your diary. That way, when you’re doing emails – you can give them your full attention. When you’re not doing emails, you won’t be distracted every two minutes.

How to Keep Your Personal Workload Management Principles Alive

Once you have decided how you will keep on top of your workload, you need to cement these working practices into your routine.

One of the common challenges people experience is how to maintain their personal productivity over time. Often, the good principles can be forgotten or can deteriorate, particularly when they are faced with high pressure situations or moments.

A simple way to hold yourself to account is to write down what you are going to commit to and set a regular review. You could even write an email to yourself and set it to send in, perhaps, 4 weeks time. When that email arrives in your inbox, you can challenge yourself. If you’ve forgotten to use the principles to effectively manage your personal workload then this is a great opportunity to breath new life into them.

So, your question now is:

What are you going to do differently to optimise your personal workload management? Comment below or send me a tweet by clicking on the Twitter button.

project management expert Oliver BanksAbout the Author

Oliver Banks is an expert at delivering retail change projects and programmes. He originally managed product development projects in the technology industry before starting to deliver retail operational improvement projects. Oliver is passionate about helping retailers to deliver projects to improve stores, distribution and head office operations.


project management expert Oliver Banks

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