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If you have ever hired a contractor to fix up your house, add an extension or knock down your conservatory, then they will likely have approached the matter first with some ‘project management’. What this means, is that they will have written a plan for the best way to utilize the time they’ve been given and their resources in order to complete the work.

This will take into account many different factors. For instance, they might choose to do the weather dependent parts of the job first. Why? Because that way, if it rains, they can bring forward the non-weather dependent work so that the time isn’t wasted. Meanwhile, they might choose to do jobs later that require certain materials they won’t get until later. In short, project management means designing the most efficient use of time in order to get work completed most quickly and with the least amount of delays.

That’s project management as it applies to construction and renovation, but it’s also worth considering that a similar approach can be used when deciding on how best to complete tasks that you have set yourself in the office. Here we will look at how the principles of project management can apply in an office setting when working independently.

Dependent Work

As with building a conservatory, which is dependent on sunshine, some aspects of your work may be dependent on external factors – like the presence of a colleague or the availability of a certain system. By deciding to complete this work as early as possible, you can finish it as soon as this resource becomes available so that you aren’t let down when you come to do it later.

Multitasking

Multitasking generally isn’t effective, as the human brain can’t actually focus on more than one thing at a time. That said, some jobs are going to involve long periods of twiddling thumbs – such as calling a service that is likely to put you on hold, editing video or converting files. Likewise you might be able to use the phone while doing something menial like data entry.

In these situations, it’s a good idea to set aside tasks that are smaller and can be done easily

Leaving Some Time

In business, the saying goes that you should ‘under promise and over deliver’. This is true as well when it comes for planning your own work schedule – occasionally there’s always the chance that things won’t go to plan so it’s a very good idea to set aside some time at the end to deal with those tasks.