project management principles to improve daily life

3 Project Management Principles to Improve Your Everyday Life

Almost all jobs provide you with skills to use during your daily routines. Statistical Analysts can calculate the probability of the Lakers winning against the Kings. Dermatologists can diagnose their friends’ sketchy-looking moles. But what can Project Managers do when they’re not sitting in the office? What project management principles can improve your daily life?

There are 3 main principles that guide a Project Manager’s work: Communication, Organization, and Efficiency. Let’s break it down.

 

Communication

Projects can involve a LOT of people and it’s the PM’s job to make sure that everyone is in the know at all times. Some people prefer as much detail as you can possibly fit into an email message, while others simply prefer the bottom line. It’s all dependent on how they respond to your messages. If they ask a million questions, then you know to include more detail next time. If they reply with “I’m not reading this. I’m not your English teacher” (true story), maybe they would prefer you keep it to a couple of sentences. It’s up to you to figure out what your audience prefers.

 

How to apply it to your personal life:

The takeaway here is to be able to gauge how people prefer to be communicated with. When you’re having a conversation, it’s never your intention to bore your conversation partner. You want to be as engaging as possible, and the best way to do this is to match their preferred communication style.

 

Try this:

Pay attention to how people respond or react to your statements or questions when having a conversation. It’s easy to tell if someone is engaged – they smile, make eye contact, and have an aura of genuine interest. On the other hand, if they appear distracted, this probably means that you should change the subject or let them talk about themselves for a while. This may sound like standard social etiquette, but I’ve found that my personal communication has improved quite drastically since becoming a PM.


Organization

With so much stuff going on, PMs need to know how to keep everything in order. They’re usually managing more than one project at a time, and if not careful, things can start to overlap. They might end up sending an email to the wrong person or forget to complete a step. This is why PMs use project management software like Asana, Wrike, or Mavenlink. Everything is always in order and they’re easily able to distinguish one project from another very easily. In a fast-paced environment, it’s vital to be able to derive information from a single glance.

 

How to apply it to your personal life:

When you’re not working, you’ve probably got some stuff that needs to get done. Get groceries, feed the dog, do laundry, take the dog to the vet because she accidentally ate a pebble, do yoga. To-do lists can be useful, but there is a more effective way.

 

Try this:

Project management software doesn’t just have to be for PMs – you can use it too. Asana has a smartphone app that is free, easy to use, and way better than any to-do list. Next time you’ve got a ton of stuff to do, just take a moment to throw everything into Asana and start knocking them out. Checking them off is one of the most satisfying things in the world.


Efficiency

PMs have a responsibility to keep costs to a minimum while maintaining high-quality results. One of my favorite ways to do that is to automate whatever doesn’t need to be done by a human. Filling in Excel spreadsheets with emails, creating automatic Google Calendars invites, and instantly extracting email attachments to Dropbox are just a few things that PMs do to shave a few seconds here and there. There are plenty of tools to help you do these kinds of things, but my all-time favorite is the free and simple Zapier.

 

How to apply it to your personal life:

It may sound odd that you’d want to automate aspects of your personal life, but the time saved from cutting out micro-tasks can add up and give you more freedom. A great book to read would be The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. In it, he discusses the many ways that one can automate their lives, both work and personal, to only have 4 hours of work per week (hence the title).

 

Try this:

Sign up for Zapier and start looking for Zaps that can automate software that you use. You can automate Facebook, Gmail, Instagram, and over 700 other apps, even Asana (make your organization even more efficient, yeah!). For example, you can set up a Zap so that every time you make a new Spotify playlist, it will automatically share to Facebook. You can also integrate Facebook and Instagram so that when you a post a photo on Facebook, it also gets posted on your Instagram, and vice versa. Small things, but again, they can really add up.

 

Written by: Juan Juy

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