Time Management Training:
Project Mapping Provides These Opportunities to Save
by Cheryl Clausen
You may not have come across this highly effective technique in your previous time management training. Even though "project mapping" sounds scary it's so easy a child can do it, and it really simplifies things that on the surface may seem complicated. You can use this technique to get things done whether those things are projects, goals, events or any activity or task.
The key to this time management training idea is to quickly get everything that's important for the project down on paper. Begin by writing a project name in the center of your horizontally placed paper. Please recognize that this isn't an exercise that requires neatness or beauty. Rather it's an exercise that gets all your important thoughts down in one place for quick reference and easy organization.
Now that the project is in the center of the page you want to start filling in around the project. You may want to put the project name in a circle or box to make it stand out on the page. Next make another box labeled "the big benefit". Draw arrows from this box and write out the big benefit that results from the completion of this project. You will find that occasionally when you evaluate the potential benefits of a project before you even start, that you find the project isn't even worth doing, and then you save yourself a whole lot of wasted time, effort, and resources.
It's always a good time management training practice to evaluate the bad consequences of not doing something. Make another box labeled "bad consequences" some where on the page. Now draw arrows from the box and write out the things that would happen if this project doesn't get completed or completed on time. The funny thing is that most of the time you are more motivated to avoid the really bad things than you are to enjoy the really good things.
Next label a box "obstacles". This is where time management training really misses the mark most of the time because you don't actively identify the things that could get in your way, so when they happen your stuck. Draw an arrow from your obstacles box and write out the obstacles that could get in your way, and then draw an arrow from each obstacle and list the potential solutions to overcoming that obstacle. This way you have a ready tool kit to head off trouble as soon as it comes up, and you can choose the solution that you've identified that'll work best.
Label another box "desired sequence". Here's where the rubber meets the road. From this box draw arrows to list each action step that you or some one that you delegate a step to will need to take. Number the action steps into the most logical sequence recognizing that you could have a 1a, 1b, 1c etc. for steps that require several people to act at the same time.
Get each action step from your project mapping onto your lowly to do list. The lowly, simple yet highly effective "to do" list is often overlooked in time management training, but that doesn't make it any less powerful. Have one and only one "to do" list for the week, and put all the actions steps that must be taken on your list. Then looking at all the "to do" items for the whole week prioritize them each day, and check off each item as it's completed.
Using this project mapping technique as part of your time management improvements can result in a lot less stress. The project mapping process only takes about 10 minutes, a blank piece of paper, a pencil and presto you have the whole project laid out. The project gets done with few if any hitches, and you have more time for other things.
Would you like to learn more about your time behaviors? Try this Time Management Analysis and find out where your opportunities for improvement are.
When you absolutely must have measurable results to consistently and predictably get where you want to go for Superior Success...visit CoachingMegaAgents to start on your journey for superior success. Cheryl Clausen may be contacted at http://CoachingMegaAgents.com or firstname.lastname@example.org