From our experience, one of the biggest concerns that printers have when embarking on an implementation project is how they will find the time to complete their tasks. Take a look at the results of a poll we conducted during a webinar on this subject.
If you fall into this 39% and are currently having a few sleepless nights worrying about your implementation project tasks and deadlines, then take a look at these 6 time management hacks:
Don’t let yourself get distracted when you’re supposed to be focusing on one particular task you’ve blocked time out for. Adopt strategies to prevent this, such as not opening up your emails until you reach the time block you have set aside to do that. So be brave, put an Out of Office on if you need to, keep away from social media and put your phone on airplane mode.
Stay motivated by rewarding yourself for focusing on each time block. So if you’ve spent 2 hours working on a difficult task, reward yourself at the end by spending 5/10 minutes flicking through social media, or making a brew or having a chat with someone.
Being prepared to say ‘No’ is a great bit of advice too. It’s a brave thing to do but if you’re working on a project that has defined goals, and you get a request from someone that involves your time, you need to find a nice way to say no if it doesn’t help you achieve those goals.
Create calendar appointments that block out chunks of time for you to focus on different tasks. There’s a whole load of information about how to Time Block your calendar online, but it basically consists of doing something like the below screenshot. It’s important to make sure you’re being realistic with how many tasks you can achieve within a day, don’t try and overwhelm yourself by putting 50 tasks in there when you know that’s not achievable.
Think about the days running up to a long break away from work, when you have to clear your workload before you go – aren’t you super productive and efficient? That’s because you’re being more ruthless than normal: firing out emails without reading them 3 times to make them perfect, finishing tasks in a ‘good enough’ way rather than trying to achieve perfection, making decisions with 80% of information rather than spending hours trying to research every tiny thing, and delegating tasks to others who are more than capable of doing them.
If you booked an ‘Implementation Break’, where you would be away from your office, working elsewhere on the project, you could use these same tactics to clear your desk beforehand. Many of the most successful implementations we’ve seen have adopted this sort of approach – project team members have been told to stay away from their normal day-to-day tasks and focus on the project only.
Studies from the University of California have shown that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get your concentration back on track after you’ve been distracted. So avoid interruptions wherever possible. Think of your brain like a press that needs the same amount of make-ready time before it can start printing - if the press has to stop, it takes another 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back up to optimum runspeed. So create an environment that minimizes interruptions and avoid multitasking. Remember – “30 seconds to check my phone” is not 30 seconds down the drain, it’s actually 23 minutes and 45 seconds down the drain.
It’s really just a question of getting and staying organized. If you put some effort into doing this before the project starts, you will feel much more confident about being able to hit those deadlines.
Assuming everyone on your team is pulling their weight and tasks are distributed equally, if you’re still not hitting your deadlines after implementing the above, then you’ve stretched yourself too far. So just speak to your MIS partner and get them to readjust the timeline to a more manageable one. Your partner will want you to have the best possible experience during your implementation project and won’t mind one bit. Honest!