Managing Projects with Speed and Clarity

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It is truly dizzying to work in the connected economy. Information is swirling and so easy to create, distribute and push around.

Most people did not go to classes on how to do project work or collaborate like a master. No, the world simply moves and we self-select in our roles, standards and work.

If we like a certain environment we can quickly move there. If we don’t like certain people, we can simply stop working with them. If an opportunity comes along, we can act or miss it based on our responsiveness.

Speed and clarity make you attractive. We are all in the service business and you have a personal brand whether it’s with customers, partners or bosses. Your ability to manage projects and provide world-class service makes you someone to either work with or avoid depending on how you provide service.

Most people are in chaos. They haven’t given thought to their approach to knowledge work, or they may not simply care.

Assuming you do care about personal growth, productivity and being valuable to others, here are a few strategies to manage projects in your world with speed and clarity:

  • Keep lists. Lists are simple, tried and true. They are holding places to organize thoughts into specific categories and actions. They get you ready for taking action. I like using Gmail Tasks.
  • Delete. The best way to complete a project is to simply delete it. At the beginning of each day, take a look at your lists. Your priorities are continually changing. What may have been important may not be that vital anymore. Simple delete it and move on. It’s a quick way to refocus priorities and get you ready towards executing on what matters now.
  • Delegate. We live in a division of labor economy. This amazing leverage allows you to let people who are more efficient than you help you to manage your load and get results. While there are myriad projects you can engage, if you are trying to get results, it’s better to partner with experts. The goal is not to see how many skills you can gain. It is to get the largest results with minimum effort and cost.
  • Focus. Many times you have to block out time for the critical project work that requires deep thinking and engagement. Put those in your calendar. Use early mornings to get the big important work done. When you are low in energy, knock out the lesser tasks. They still have to get done as well. It’s important to know your context, energy and rhythms to get things done consistently.
  • Push. I like to open loops on projects I want to get movement on. This can be starting a discussion, setting a far off meeting date, starting a reading file, or sending a quick email. If a project is worthwhile it will gain momentum and stick. Opening loops with people helps to develop an idea or initiative.

Most projects simply don’t matter. They don’t have the power to dramatically move the needle towards your goals. When you are inundated with information and requests that never stop, you can lose clarity quickly. Having a simple, focused methodology you can use in the trenches goes a long way towards getting results. And, ultimately, that is why you engage in projects in the first place.

Sure, you can play it loose. But, if you don’t prioritize speed and clarity, you miss so many opportunities, many of which you may not even be aware of.

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