One day, I happened to find my old memo entitled “To-do list for a project”. I had completely forgotten about it until that moment, but I am deeply imbued with the “To-dos” in the memo even today. I learned the precious tips from my respected boss when I just embarked on my career more than ten years ago. The checklist is just a simple handwritten memo, but I find it quite useful, so I would like to share it with you here.
<Eight Tips for Task Management>
1 Keep the deadline
If you cannot meet the deadline, you never be a professional. Meeting the deadline establishes your trust, develops your management skills and generates profit.
2 Avoid ambiguity. Define a goal for every element in the job
In most cases, your client does not have a solid idea for each small detail of the project, but expects you to complete the job. For example, they say, “Collect audience for a seminar”. Your job is to listen to your client and clarify the details, the target audience, the number, the purpose, the budget, etc. Your client does not want to spend a lot of time and energy on thinking and discussing details, so the client asks you to do that part and manage the whole job as a professional.
Talk with your client, listen and investigate what the client seeks. By the time you reach an agreement for every piece of the project with your client, half of your job will have already accomplished.
3 Delegate the work
The job you have undertaken is like a big rock at first. You can neither deal with it nor share it with someone.
Don’t try to take on all of a job from the start.
Break the huge rock into small pieces if you need someone to help you, obtain some expertise for the job, or make a project schedule towards the deadline. You can finally get started with the job after task delegation.
4 Start with a tough part
Difficult jobs, especially, tasks you do not know what to do are much more time-consuming than you think. Usually, it takes twice or three times longer than you estimate. You never want to find it out right before the deadline.
5 When get stuck, talk with your client
In some cases, your client is asking you to complete the job without a big-picture vision. The client could make an “impossible request” and it does not look so until you get started and actually reach that point. Striving ahead towards an unrealistic goal is a waste of time for both you and your client. Talk with your client when you encounter any extreme difficulty in the job. The later you tell your client the truth, the more trust you will lose.
6 Never forget to explain
Ever since your client got you to do a job, the client is always anxious about how the project is going, so report the progress at least once a week. Try to make a good report. (The one not too long, not too short)
How much logical the report is as well as how much articulately you explain the progress of the project reflect how much you are capable in your job.
7 Do not reinvent the wheel
You never be the first one to face the job. When a company operates, the business structure generates pretty similar tasks.
Look for a previous example. Ask someone within or outside your company. Hit a book store or go online. You will find the answer.
8 Find a project partner or a team as early as possible.
You rarely complete a job all by yourself. When you need someone to work with, ask him/her/them as early as you can.
Then, make sure your partner/team do their jobs following these tips.