I am a believer in the power of project management.
As a professional project manager for nearly twenty years, I have witnessed project success drive business results. I have also proven that project management can change lives and help achieve personal transformation. Now I am sharing some practical tips and techniques that you can use to help achieve your own personal goals, live your best life and become a PM Believer.
Science vs. Art
As I mentioned in my Executive Status Briefing (see You Are Here), project management is both a science and an art. Beyond the formal tools and processes, there are other habits and techniques that project managers use to achieve success. Today’s post explores one of these aspects of the art of project management.
Anything Not Everything
You can do anything but you can’t do everything!
This is one of my favorite reminders in life because it includes two important messages.
- We all have the power to accomplish anything that we want to achieve.
- We can’t do everything at the same time.
This second message is an essential rule of life. Every person has limited time, energy and capacity for how much we can accomplish at one time. This means (see Less is More) we can actually accomplish more if we only focus on one thing at a time. We need to limit our work in progress because we can’t do everything.
To enable this focus, project managers need to become experts in prioritization.
Project managers determine priorities through every step of our daily process. Every issue logged needs a priority ranking. Every risk needs its probability and impact evaluated to determine the overall exposure. The critical path through the project plan (the longest path through the project where, if one task slips, the end of the project extends) needs to be calculated.
Prioritization becomes part of a project manager’s DNA. This helps them ensure that the work being done by the team is the most important work. Because we don’t have time to focus on the lesser important work.
The value of prioritization doesn’t end when you walk out the door at work. Want a quick path to failure with your life goals? Don’t prioritize, try to accomplish all of your goals at the same time.
Here are three quick steps to help you unlock the magic of prioritization.
What goal is most important to you right now? Start by going through all of your goals and “someday” dreams and choose the one goal that is most important to you to accomplish right now. That doesn’t mean the others aren’t important, just that you are going to choose one goal to start working on today.
Next, make a list of everything that you might need to do to achieve this goal. Get it all down on paper to free up space in your mind (see Write Here, Write Now).
Finally, review the list of steps that you just made and rank the items by priority, or “force rank” the list. This means start with number one for the most important step to take right now and then move on to two and so on and so forth.
Once you have your force-ranked list of steps needed to achieve your goal, simply start with number one and move on from there. As you check each item off of your list, repeat the process because you will identify new steps that are needed and will realize that some things on your original list are not needed at all.
Most importantly, as you make progress towards your goal, your understanding of the priorities of your steps will become more clear. So, be ready to adjust as you progress.
Are you ready to be a PM Believer?
We can accomplish anything but not everything. We have limited capacity for what we can accomplish at one time. So we need to make the best use of our days. This means we need to rely on a key part of the project manager’s DNA.
How have you applied project management for your personal success? Tell me about it at OperationMelt.com and make sure to join my email list to have updates delivered to your inbox weekly.
Make sure to help your friends achieve their goals by sharing this post on your social network and by following me on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.
Want to know more about how I changed my life with project management? Pick up your copy of my book Operation Melt: How I Used Life-Changing Project Management to Lose Over 100 Pounds In Under a Year.
About Operation Melt
Operation Melt started as a blog to share my personal transformation and weight loss story. After achieving success with that goal, Operation Melt has evolved into a platform to help inspire, motivate and equip people to achieve their own personal and professional goals so they can live their best lives. My vision is to build a world where no goal ever dies of loneliness.