Project Management Tips: Prepare for Success

Make tomorrow more productive by doing some simple preparation today.

Secure sensitive materials in a locked cabinet or drawer. Nothing can ruin a relaxing evening (and put you into a stressful state of mind in the morning) like wondering if that confidential file is still sitting open on your desk.

Clear your outbox. Deliver materials to project management team members, return borrowed project documentation, put outbound items in the mail, and recycle or shred any trash. Your work area will remain uncluttered, and the action items you’re delivering to others can be incorporated into their task list.

Consolidate incoming materials. Anything that arrived by “chair mail” or other means should go into your inbox. Tomorrow’s priorities will be more obvious — and easier to tackle — when they’re all in one place.

Review tomorrow’s calendar. You’ll know precisely how much time you have available for tasks and other activities. It’s also a good way to avoid inadvertently overbooking yourself with other commitments.

Review any shared or group calendars. If you’re relying on fellow team members for information or materials, you’ll know to shift your expectations or make other arrangements if you see they’re scheduled to be in meetings or out of the office.

Identify downtime opportunities. For commuters able to get online on the train or bus, you may be able to knock out e-mails during what might otherwise be downtime. Commuting by car can be a good opportunity to make or return phone calls, or listen to voicemail messages — using a hands-free device, of course.

List your top 3 priorities for tomorrow. It’ll make you productive first thing in the morning, as well as help streamline any thoughts you might have about work that evening. You can now begin accomplishing your objectives as soon as you walk into the office.

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