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You’re human. You make mistakes.

Those mistakes can feel a little more immediate, though, when it’s your responsibility to look out for a team or take over the management of a client’s project.

Don’t let stress get the best of you, though. Your team knows that you’re human. When you acknowledge that you’re capable of making mistakes, recovering from a few slip ups will be all the easier.

If you’ve been assigned to a new project, or want a refresher, keep an eye out for the following behavioral trends. See if you can prevent a project management mistake before it’s made.

The Mistake: Over-Independence

You may think that taking on every element of a project on your own will keep you from making any mistakes in the long run.

That’s a noble idea, of course. However, when you try and control a project in its entirety, not only can you exhaust yourself, but you can alienate your team members and coworkers.

The Solution

Remember that you’ve been placed with a team of other people for a reason.

Cooperative work does more than just allow several people to bring ideas to the table. You can work out a system of checks and balances that ensure no one is taking on too much work and that any minor mistakes that get made are corrected quickly and efficiently.

Don’t let your position as the head of a project let you place an unnecessary amount of pressure on your shoulders. You can rely on other people, and in order to succeed, you should.

The Mistake: Poor Pre-Planning

The one problem with working with a team is that those numerous good ideas that get brought to the table may be too diverse.

When your team and client are in a project’s pre-planning stage, you may all get caught up in the brainstorming process and fail to establish attainable way-points to meet over the course of your assignment.

You may also be working with a client who has unreasonable expectations of your team and who dominates the conversation to the point where you can’t establish a workable schedule due to time constraints or force of personality.

The Solution

This is a multi-pronged problem.

Your best starting place is to establish your authority in the planning process. Don’t drown people out. Do make it clear, though, that by the time your initial meeting is finished, you and your team need to have a concrete idea of how you plan on moving forward. Encourage brainstorming, but remind your team that their ideas need to have achievable goals. You all must work within the monetary and time constraints of your project.

Alternatively, your pre-planning problem may turn out to be your client.

If they’re dominating the conversation, don’t be afraid to take them aside after your meeting is finished. Outline with them your individual roles in the project. Your client is receiving a product or service, and you are facilitating that need as an authority. They, after all, came to you and likely don’t know more about what you’re doing than you do. Remind them of this professionally and politely.

Then, return to your team and, with the client, find reasonable goals to meet over the course of your partnership.

The Problem: Over-estimation of Available Time

In your pre-planning phase, you may also over-estimate the amount of time you have to work on a particular project with a particular client.

Alternatively, if a client fiddles with their deadline, you may find that you have less time to complete your work than initially planned.

If the problem is more your client than you, then you want to bring in an authority figure to rework your schedule. If your time management needs some work, though, there are a number of steps you can take towards ensuring that you meet your deadlines.

The Solution

Time management apps and shareable calendars are great ways to ensure that you and your team stay on top of your work schedule.

Arrange meetings and work days in advance in order to see where you think you’ll be with a project. Then, adapt that schedule as necessary to leave room for emergency meetings, or days to catch up on your workload. You can even share some of this information with your client and get their opinion on how long they suspect a project will take, whether or not a deadline is flexible, and when, if possible, you, your team, and theirs can meet in order to discuss a project’s progress.

Part of leading a team is learning how to overcome mistakes. Remember that you, like anyone else, can make a misstep over the course of a project. Swallow any of your injured pride and work with your team to correct the mistake that’s been made.

Not only will your peers appreciate this leadership quality in you, but your projects will continue on more smoothly in the future.

Cover image via Stocksnap.io

The post Common Mistakes in Project Management (and How to Avoid Them) appeared first on Timeneye Blog.

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As the saying goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”.

Going to work knowing that the day is going to be like a battlefield isn’t exactly the best way to start. That doesn’t mean that you can turn the day around and get everything done, surviving the chaos ahead.

To get through a stressful and busy day, make sure to start on the right foot.

Things to do before starting on a tough day
  1. Get rid of email;
  2. Check work of the day before;
  3. Pick 3 top priorities;
  4. Make sure you’ve removed all distractions;
  5. Get in the flow.
Step 1: control the inbox

Usually, the biggest drain into someone’s productivity is email. A scary percentage of workers’  time goes away in just answering email.

So by putting into practice a few email management hacks, you’ll make sure to get the most time-consuming, anxiety-inducing activity out of the way.

After you’ve got all the emails out, you’ll have to make sure they don’t disturb you for a while. So turn off the inbox notification or at least pause them for a while.

Quick email management Hacks:

– Use templates or Gmail’s smart reply feature to clear the inbox more quickly;
– Use scheduling tools for your responses, like Boomerang;
– Turn off notifications altogether.

Step 2: check the work you’ve done the day before

Knowing what you have already done will help you get a headstart on the rest of the day.

Not to mention, you’ll be able to pick up from what you’ve left behind the previous day, and also check how your work is progressing.

Whether you manage your tasks with a project management tool, a kanban board, a time tracking tool, or a simple piece of paper, make sure to always have a full picture of your work.

An easy way to keep an eye on the time tracked is the Timeneye dashboard

Without it, you’ll risk hopping from task to task hopelessly while neglecting the tasks that really matter.

Tools that help you track your work:

Timeneye for Time tracking and reporting on your time;
Todoist for your to-dos
Trello for tracking the progress of your work, kanban-style
Asana and Basecamp for monitoring whole projects.

Step 3: pick the top 3 priorities of the day

I know what you’re thinking: how is it possible to pick a priority when everything is a priority?

The very definition of a “busy” day implies that it’s full of to-dos to be completed within the day with the utmost urgency.

Still, having clear priorities is essential to navigating through the day.

One popular way to do it is based on the Eisenhower matrix and it involves assigning different levels of urgent and important:

Urgent and important: do immediately
Urgent and not important: delegate
Not urgent and important: schedule it within the week
Not urgent and not important: cut it

Step 4: make sure you’ve removed all distractions

You’ve already turned off the email notifications by now. But that doesn’t mean you’ll be safe from distractions.

Given that during the day there will be things beyond our control, make sure you can work without interruptions by removing the distractions you can control:

Snooze notifications on your phone from social media and messaging apps;
– Better yet, turn the airplane mode on;
– Make sure to solve all possible questions and queries from your colleagues before you get to work, and be clear about your availability during the day.

Step 5: get in the flow

Block time on your day to get rid of the top priority task, as you have established in the step #3.

Working non-stop until those tasks are done is your best chance to end the day achieving something productive.

Don’t forget to resist the urge of multitasking: it’s easy to think that by having two or three tasks at hand at the same time, you’ll work more quickly. But contrary to popular belief, to multitask effectively is extremely difficult and can actually slow us down.

Now that you have set off on the right path, you can take on everything that the workday will throw at you!

Photo by Jo Szczepanska on Unsplash

The post Tough Day Ahead? Here’s How To Save Time And Get Everything Done appeared first on Timeneye Blog.

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Everyone’s got some stress in their lives.

When at work, though, it’s best for your productivity – not to mention your health – if you do what you can to reduce the amount of stress you feel over the course of a day. When you’re put in charge of a project with a team, client, and looming deadline, managing your stress levels may be the last thing on your mind. It should be, though.

As a project manager, not only is it your job to manage your own stress levels, but you’ll need to keep an eye on your team to ensure that their relationship with your client remains healthy.

There are a number of steps you can take if you want to keep stress out of your office space and away from the bulk of your team members:

Schedule Breaks

Time management is essential to ensuring a project goes as smoothly as possible.

There’s more to keeping track of the time, though, than scheduling meetings and workdays with your client. Take a peek at a time management app and see if you can schedule breaks for yourself and for your team.
Concentrated periods of time spent away from your work, either as a group or on your own, will do more for you all than keep your stress levels lower.

Taking a break from a project can allow you to return to that project with fresh eyes. Sometimes, time away from your work is exactly what you need to break through a project block. Time management rools or shared calendars, then, to establish deliberate break times for every member of your team.

Diversify and Personalize Team Meetings

Team meetings are also a great time to assess your peers’ state of mind and make moves, either in terms of assignments or day-to-day responsibilities, that will lessen the stress of your project.

Establish weekly meetings with the members of your team in advance. Discuss with them, specifically, if you all want to involve the client in these meetings or if you want a separate weekly meeting for discussions with the client.

Once these specifics are established and the dates are set, make sure you, as the project manager, take advantage of this time and check in with your team members. Discuss everyone’s needs, in terms of the project, and assess progress as well as obstacles that may have arisen. Together, you can find ways to overcome these difficulties and offer support for each other’s work over the course of a project.

Keeping track of an ongoing meeting thanks to Timeneye and Google Calendar Communicate With Your Client

In order to keep everyone’s stress levels under control, you’ll also need to consider your client.

Keeping your client happy – genuinely happy, too, not just quiet with reassurances – will make your work at the office much easier.

One of the best ways to cheer your client and ensure that your relationship is as stress-free as possible is to communicate with them frequently. This doesn’t mean that you need to be sending emails out at 3am every day or reaching out on weekends. All relationships, after all, benefit from boundaries.

However, do what you can to keep your client up to date on your team’s project progress:

  • Check in with the client to ensure that your work is on track;
  • Make sure, too, that their needs are being met;
  • Invite your client to weekly meetings with your team to make sure everyone knows everyone else.

This way, everyone’s ideas, grievances, and potential obstacles can be shared. This communication will make the client feel like part of the team. It will also allow your own peers to better express any difficulties they may be having with the project to the person who initiated it.

The social dynamics maystill  elicit a different sort of stress. But without any communication at all, a project is sure to falter.

Rely on Your Peers

Finally, remember that you’re not working on your project alone.

Even if you’re the only person assigned to a project, you have supervisors and peers you can reach out to when your own stress levels start to interfere with your work. When you’re managing a team, it can feel like all of the responsibilities for peoples’ individual states rests on your shoulders.

You should feel able to reach out to your team members and ask for help, whether with your own work-related stress or with managing the stress of others. Project teams work because they allow for coworkers to have each other’s backs. Don’t feel the need to be overly-independent while working on a project, even if you feel it will reduce everyone’s stress levels.

By taking on the bulk of a project on your own, you may, in fact, make the work more stressful for everyone else.

Stress while at work is inevitable.

However, as a project manager, you can work with your team in order to reduce the amount of stress you all feel over the course of an assignment. Reach out when you need to and remember: everyone on your team, including your client, is human.

Humans are allowed to be messy and stressed once in a while. All you have to do is seek out the right solution.

Cover image via Stocksnap.io

The post Ease Up the Office: Finding Project Management Stress Relief appeared first on Timeneye Blog.

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Despite the unwritten rule that small teams work better, sometimes you may need to bring in some extra helping hands to get a project done. Here’s how to make the process as painless as possible.

When a project’s scope grows mid-stream, you may find yourself and your team suddenly incapable of keeping up. Or you simply may be experiencing the natural growth of your company, requiring new workforce to be hired. Or maybe you’re experimenting with a new, unexpected activity, for which it may be worth investing in new people and skills.

Regardless of which scenario you’re in, one thing for sure is: a new team member is coming.

Every team as its own balance, habits, and workflow. Having a new team member on board will definitely be an enrichment (and sometimes, a saving grace). On the other hand, you as the manager will want to avoid any disruption and make sure the addition goes smoothly.

How to bring in people mid-project: a checklist Prepare the set up for the new person to work:
  • Create accounts in the tools and services you use
  • Prepare a physical space (desk, chair etc) if needed
  • Provide equipment (laptop and such, unless you’ve established otherwise)

Make sure that the new person is set up and ready to start. Given that you’ve already taken care of the bureaucracy of hiring, contracts and so on, prepare accounts, permissions, and add the newcomer to the tools your team is using. You’ll save a lot of time and he/she will begin to work immediately.

Prepare the briefing, including:
  • The scope of the project
  • Details of the tasks
  • Status of the project
  • Who’s in charge of what
  • Client contact information (if needed)
  • Material (documents, files, images, etc)

A killer briefing is vital for any project, even more so if you have to update a person who’s just arrived and has no idea what’s been done so far.

Make sure that he/she’s given a brief outline of the project and its scope. List all the tasks required, and make sure to include the ones that have been already done.

It should be also immediately clear who will be in charge of what, to avoid roles overlapping and disrupting each other.

In case the new team member is expected to interact with the client directly, then make sure to pass over the client contact information, too. An introduction meeting with you, the new team member, and the client may also be necessary.

It may take up some of your time, but one of the upsides is that while you prepare the briefing you’ll also have the chance to assess the project’s progress, and take stock of what’s been done that far, which never hurts.

Set up responsibilities and expectations
  • Who will be in charge of what from that moment on
  • Which tasks/responsibilities are to be taken on by the newcomer
  • Who to direct questions to

Having a new person on board can change the balance and workflow of the team. It’s important that the work is organized so that everybody knows what they supposed to do.

Define who’s in charge of what, and who to call in case unexpected problems arise.

Bringing a new resource will inevitably change the expectations over the whole project: don’t leave anything unsaid and make sure everybody knows what they’re supposed to do from that moment on.

On big projects with established teams, the stakes may be high. Don’t let your fresh resource succumb to pressure, but don’t hide your expectations, either.

Prepare yourself for questions

You didn’t think your responsibilities were over, did you?

Even if you’ve set things correctly and the work is proceeding steadily prepare yourself and be available for questions.

Bear in mind that a first period of adaptation will be necessary for everybody – so you may need to repeat and review many things multiple times, and that’s ok.

Monitor things closely

Keep an eye on the situation from time to time to make sure everything is going ok. You don’t have to watch your employees like a hawk, otherwise they may feel the pressure to perform- especially the latest arrival!

You can watch their work discretely, via your project management tool or a time tracking tool. Many of these tools provide project managers with a summary and team views where they can check the progress.

The Team status view in Timeneye

To ease the whole process, take advantage of any tool and feature that can automate the most tedious parts of the job. After all, a period of adaptation will be necessary for you, too, especially if you manage multiple projects.

Timeneye lets you set up a weekly recap email with a summary of the time tracked, sent directly in your inbox

From time to time, you can organize short check-in meetings. Try not to overdo it, though, as meetings are notoriously one of the most hated parts of everybody’s work.

What are your best tips for onboarding new people into a project? Let us know in the comments!

The post How To Bring In New People <br> Mid-Project appeared first on Timeneye Blog.

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Word around the office space nowadays is that apps primarily lead to distracted employees, not increased productivity.

What would you say, though, if we told you that wasn’t true? Employee productivity – or lack thereof – is based on a lot of things, including humanity’s ability to focus. The number of hours which a person is actually able to stay productive for might actually surprise you, as it’s much lower than the prescribed eight hours a day we’re supposed to be working.

Apps, then, can ensure that the hours a person does spend being productive are as streamlined as possible. How?

Let’s explore the various ways that integrating apps into daily office work makes your day more organized, productive, and manageable, especially as technology and the demands of a consumer audience grow in abundance.

Dispelling App Myths

Let’s talk about smartphones in the office for a minute, though.

Smartphones are associated with the millennial generation, which has an unearned reputation for being distractible. As more millennials enter into office spaces (most millennials are between the ages of 23 and 35, at this point, meaning that they’re more than likely your peers), the technology associated with them follows.

Apps, then, have accidentally picked up a millennial-esque reputation – they’re considered not serious enough to have a place in the modern workplace.

This is not the case. Some apps are designed to help a person limit the use of their phone over the course of a day. Many of the apps we’ll explore here also help a person stay connected to their work while on the go. These apps are meant to eliminate the need to multi-task. Even though you may feel on top of your work when you’re multi-tasking, you’re actually more likely to make work-related errors.

In light of all of this, don’t let apps’ unearned, bar reputation keep you from seeing their benefit. If you make the effort to integrate them into your workday, you may find that they’re more helpful than you could have imagined.

Apps and Time Management

Let’s start somewhere a little bit obvious: with apps and their ability to improve the way you schedule your day.

Time management apps allow you to access your daily schedule from your phone as well as your desktop. This means that if you’re trying to schedule a meeting while at a working lunch, you don’t have to rush back to your computer in order to put it in your calendar. This accessibility will help you keep from overbooking yourself and will ensure that you stay on top of your deadlines – or, that at least you’ll know when they’re approaching.

Use your smartphone to keep track of your responsibilities, and you may find that you’re more grateful for technology in the office than you previously realized.

The Timeneye apps for Android and iOS allows you to track time on the go Apps and Office Communication

Apps can do more than just keep you on track over the course of a day, though.

There are different apps aimed at communication that’ll make it simpler for you to reach out to your fellow employees and to your clients. Slack, for example, has taken the modern office by storm. This app and those like it are strictly professional spaces. They operate as instant messaging systems that can be monitored and controlled.

With these sort of apps, you can send messages to the whole of the office, if you like – say, if someone cooked fish in the communal microwave again. Alternatively, you can send them privately to coworkers you happen to be working on a project with. Either way, this specific space in which you can communicate with your peers will allow you to focus on your work while also staying in touch with the people you need to talk to.

No need to look at any personal messages you may have missed in your phone’s messaging app. Just go into the app your office uses to communicate, and you’ll be able to maintain your focus and productivity.

Apps and Clutter

Are you a desktop hoarder? Is your computer monitor cluttered?

There are a number of apps available that can help you improve your personal organization. Ditch paper hard copies in favor of a space in the cloud. Digital clouds are organizational hubs. They offer varying degrees of security and space in which you can store your work.

You can also share certain documents with certain people through the cloud. By getting rid of stacks of hard copies, you will remove unnecessary distractions from your office.

Fewer distractions mean more productivity. Your coworkers will also be able to stay up to date on your mutual projects without having to barge into your office. Talk about stress relief!

Apps in the office aren’t really so bad. When used the right way, they can improve your productivity, where other people would say that their only distractions. The key, then, to using apps appropriately is to think of them as tools rather than hindrances.

Change your mindset about apps, then, and embrace the changing technology set to make our lives easier.

Cover photo via Stocksnap.io

The post It’s Not the Phone, It’s You: Apps and Productivity in the Office appeared first on Timeneye Blog.

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If you’ve been invested with the role of Project Manager, you also probably have to set up project update meetings with your client.


Don’t let yourself be found unprepared.

If you really can’t escape setting meetings to share project status updates with your client, these are the 5 things you have to remember to prepare beforehand – so that you’ll get the whole thing done quickly and productively.

Why do you need a meeting?

I mean really, why?

Meetings are widely regarded as a huge waste of time in the workplace. Employees hate them, and even managers who organize them would rather avoid seeing the clients to often, especially if the client has been difficult to work with.

Thankfully, email and communication tools allow exchanging status updates, communicate in real time, and send files and reports, saving the necessity of setting a meeting altogether.

However, there may be cases in which your client will want to meet with you to be updated on the progress of the project:

  • It could be a big, challenging project with many goals and tasks;
  • Clients may need reassurance on the progress if they need the bring in to an end on a tight deadline;
  • Don’t underestimate the power of human interaction in business. Your client may not be your gym buddy, but they may still prefer to talk in person instead of relying on cold emails.

To make sure your status meeting is actually useful you have to be very well prepared before you even start.


5 things to remember before a project status meeting:
  • Check with the team over the tasks’ progress;
  • Pull out the previous meeting’ report or agenda;
  • Prepare a list of what is been done;
  • Organize the meeting agenda;
  • Set up a date and invite people.
Check with the team over the tasks’ progress

Needless to say, you need to know what has been done and what has not.

A good manager knows how to monitor the progression a project without watching the team members like a hawk (if you do, then there’s a big team management problem going on you may want to address).

Project management tools and time tracking tools alike offer several features that can help with that.

Project management tools like Asana or Basecamp allow managers to assign tasks and see if they’ve been completed or not. Features like comments on the tasks can help managers see the history of the task and if and why something has gone wrong.

Time tracking tools like Timeneye make sure you know how your team’s been allocating their time – and are essential if the project is billed by the hour, or has to be completed within an hourly budget.

Careful with that budget. Thanks, Timeneye! Pull out the previous meeting’s report and/or agenda

Where did you leave things at in the last meeting with the client?

Make sure take back any written report/email/agenda with the notes and to-dos of the previous meeting (if you don’t keep track of this, you should really start, otherwise you can end up in real trouble).

Prepare to update on the status of what was decided during the previous meeting. What was completed? What was not, and why?

Be precise to avoid important request getting left behind, or misunderstandings (“No, but we said—” “No, but we decided…” “But no, you said…” and such.)

Prepare a list of what is been done

To conduct your meeting quickly and on point, have a complete list of all the work that’s been done to keep with you and share with the client.

For example, Timeneye allows you to download a list of the time entries registered for a project and export them to PDF – having such a file at hand will not only save you lots of time, but the client will appreciate the transparency.

Organize the meeting agenda

You should be convinced by now that every meeting needs to have a clearly defined agenda.

Without it, you’ll risk that your meeting will go out of control and waste your time.

So take some time to outline a meeting agenda – and prepare to stick to it no matter what.

Set up a date

Now you’re prepared to face everything that may come up during the meeting.

Set up a date and time for your meeting and share them with your client. I’d suggest using Google Calendar so that everybody is synched and (hopefully) won’t forget about it.

If you synch Google Calendar with Timeneye, you’ll see the event pop out as a suggestion inside the tool to remind you.

Now that you’re all set, if you make good use of your time, you’ll end up making your meetings effective and productive!

Cover photo via Stocksnap.io

The post Project Meetings: An Easy-To-Follow Checklist That Will Save You Time appeared first on Timeneye Blog.

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If you feel like fainting at the sight of your to-dos, you’re not alone.

When tasks and assignments pile up, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. And then there are also the countless emails, the phone calls, the distractions in the office and interruptions…

One would think that filling every free minute on the schedule is the most effective way to be more productive and get everything done.

It’s not always the case though.

In fact, having some “empty” moments in your schedule could be more helpful. In this article, we’ll try to understand what being productive really means – and the secret power of unproductive time.

Fighting burnout in the workplace

A Gallup 2018 study of 7,500 full-time employees found that 23 percent of employees reported feeling burned out at work very often or always, while an additional 44 percent reported feeling burned out sometimes.

Work-related stress is damaging people’s health. Not to mention, it increases costs for companies in terms of poor quality work, and insurance costs and employee turnover.

The practical causes of burnout may vary, but there seems to be a common denominator: we’re overworked.

But what does being productive really mean?

Being productive isn’t simply a matter of getting things out of the way as quickly as possible.

It should be more of a way of working smart by making the best use of time and dedicating it to the tasks that really matter.

Working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean working productively: when it comes to working smart, the quality of work trumps the quantity. This shift in our mindset can help us better manage our daily schedules.

What is unproductive time (and why you need it)

If working smart is equivalent of quality, not quantity, then your daily tasks should not be packed to the last minute available.

I know that daily work requires sometimes requires proceeding at a steady pace.

This is why you should free some time on your schedule for “unproductive” time, which means that do not immediately affect your tasks and to-dos, but will have a positive effect on your performance and your sanity.

For example:

#1- Have a break

This is not only the tagline of chocolate snack. It’s actually a necessary, quick productivity hack.

Take a break to disconnect your brain, have a walk and stretch your legs (your body will really thank you for that!), socialize with your coworkers, or just let your mind wander.

It may sound counterintuitive, but in the busiest of times, stopping and resting will help you get more done.

#2- Tidy up and declutter your space

We all heard the story that a messy desk is the sign of a creative mind. But there’s a line between untidiness and chaos.

So, from time to time, you should stop and clean up your desk, your office, your computer desktop.

The time you spend on this seemingly menial task gives you an opportunity to unplug your brain (see above), and reorganize your stuff so you won’t have paper flying around or important documents going missing.

#3- Get creative

Save time on your schedule for creativity. There are obviously a lot of people who do creative work as part of their daily duties.

I’m talking about getting creative in stuff that isn’t necessarily work-related. Did you know that simply doodling on a piece of paper can improve your brain connections and make you more productive?

#4- Take time for self-development

Time spent on yourself is never wasted. Having some time for self-development is a must in today’s fast-paced world, where the workforce is fluid and moving rapidly and interdisciplinary skills are required by employers.

You could use the time to learn a new skill, watch an inspiring TED talk or read an interesting article, or try to know more about your field, or have a side project – as long as your boss is OK with it and it doesn’t become an excuse not to do your actual work.

Here at Timeneye, for example, each of us has a dedicated amount of time a month that we call “Self-growth”.

How to save some time for your unproductive time

You could use Google Calendar to create an “event for yourself” to make sure you don’t forget your unproductive time.

Also, you should track time while at it to make sure a) you know exactly how much time you’re dedicating to this on your schedule and b) you don’t exceed the amount of time you’ve given yourself.

Timeneye, for example, offers time tracking for Google Calendar thanks to its integration that allows you to register time from a Google Calendar event.

Getting through a busy day and  be productive requires a lot of effort and work, but also some moments of downtime.

And in the end, if it helps you work better, it’s not actually “unproductive ”, isn’t it?

Your time is priceless, take better care of it: sign up for Timeneye and know where your time really goes. If you’re still struggling to free some time on your schedule, we’ve written a list of productivity tips for busy people.

The post This Is Why You Should Have Some “Unproductive” Time On Your Schedule appeared first on Timeneye Blog.

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So you’re the new project manager.

Did you get your first project? Can you manage it? Well, of course you can!

Managing a new project as a new project manager is going to be intimidating. You have a lot of new responsibilities in your job description, a lot of people are now looking up to you for guidance, and you’ve to bring everyone together to get everything done on time.

The whole situation can be frightening – unless you know what you need to do and how you need to go about your new role.

In this post, we’ve put together some of the best project management tips to help you plan, lead, manage, and deliver your projects in one piece. If you’re new at managing projects and teams, keep these 10 simple tips in mind to get through the day successfully, every day.

1. Take a minute to understand the difference between “command” and “lead”

“You “Protect” the project team, they do the rest.”
Onur Karabulut

The kind of leadership style you chose will decide whether or not you are leading people and project to success.

Command and lead are two simple words that can create a lot of confusion in this case. Many new project managers fail to understand the difference between “leading a team” and “commanding a team”, as a result, things don’t work as they expect. Remember, as a project manager, your job is to lead the way to success – not giving orders.

2. Stop pretending that you know EVERYTHING

“You don’t have to know everything about everything — it’s ok to ask questions and learn from each experience.”
Ann Lynne Dodson

Why? Because then you won’t be able to learn anything.

As a project manager, you want to seem competent. And that’s fair. But it doesn’t mean that you have to pretend to know everything or that you can’t ask questions about something new from your fellow employees. In simple words, the world won’t end if you didn’t know something.

3. Make excellent communication your #1 priority

“Precision of communication is important, more important than ever, in our era of hair-trigger balances, when a false or misunderstood word may create as much disaster as a sudden thoughtless act.”
James Thurber

The power of good communication in the workplace is known to all.

In fact, good communication is one of the major factors that differentiate a poor leadership from the exceptional one. Having a strong communication system in the workplace means good performance and good leadership. When you create clear communication within teams and departments, you encourage a peaceful and productive work environment where work gets done quickly and professionally.

4. Always be the person who keeps everyone organized and focused

“Always keep a track record of the work being done.”
Pietro Cecere

You’ll have a lot on your plate as a new project manager. Accept that.

From keeping multiple projects on track, tracking every individual’s performance, giving clients and stakeholders timely updates, to ensuring successful delivery of every project, you’ll be in complete control of a lot of things at work. This is where staying organized and focused becomes necessary for you.

Explore ways to keep your projects, files, teams, clients, project communications, etc organized and focus on what matters to you most at the moment. Don’t waste time – recognize your priorities, keep them organized and stay productive.

5. Use technology to optimize performance and avoid burnout

“44% of project managers use no software, even though PWC found that the use of commercially available project management software increases performance and satisfaction.”
Price Waterhouse Coopers

Technology can be a great help in managing workload and helping teams achieve more productivity without any burnout or stress.

From free applications to a subscription based project management software solution, there are plenty of options available to you when you’re looking for ways to fill the productivity gaps in your everyday work life.

Just make sure that you pick the kind of software or tool that directly meets your needs and makes you more productive.

6. Beware of the role creep

“Your ultimate role is always to deliver what is in the WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) and project plan, use a designated process for scope change, risk monitoring, and issue management, and maintain good communication.”
Michael Ayres MS

First, what is role creep?

Role creep is a common workplace ailment during which the project manager keeps assigning additional responsibilities and employees tend to accept them without any questions. This practice results in confusion and highly unwieldy job descriptions.

As a project manager, it is important that you create a work environment where both you and your employees explore innovative ways to accomplish the desired goals within the regular work principles and hours.

7. Make time your best friend

“It’s not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?”
Henry David Thoreau

As a project manager, your schedule is going to be pretty tight. That’s why it is important that you keep clear track of where and how your work hours are being used across various projects and teams. Plus, you need to encourage your teams to do the same. Find a reliable time tracking or time management software and inject it into your daily work process so that you can use every minute at work efficiently.

8. Be clear about the project objectives, assets, & risks – and communicate the same to your teams and clients

“Understand the project — so the planning, objectives, results that the project wants to achieve, and of course know the monitoring plan: what are the indicators, its tools, etc.”
– Marta Acero

Never start a project without knowing it inside out.

We know you want to finish big projects fast so that you can make a strong first impression as a new project manager. But this approach won’t work in the long run. You as well as your team needs to have a clear understanding about the objectives, assets, associated risks, etc in order to finish a project without sacrificing the quality of the work.

Always get to the finish line with a result that makes you feel proud.

9. Manage expectations along the way via 1-on-1 project feedback sessions

“Manage the stakeholders’ expectations within given limits. That would encompass all the necessary requirements such as deliverables, scope, etc.”
John Mpungu

Being a new project manager is not just about managing a new team or a new project, it’s about living up to the expectations of the new clients as well.

How? Well, you’ll have to start communicating like crazy. Let your clients and stakeholders know exactly what’s happening in their projects. Additionally, allow them to share their feedback and suggestions directly with you and your team via a reliable review and approval process.

10. Never fear from the failure

“Don’t be afraid of mistakes — learn from them. They are the building blocks for future success in this challenging and dynamic profession!”
Susan Kirkpatrick

Failure is a part of the success.

Everyone has failed and they will fail again at some point in their life. All that matters is what you learn and how you plan to become better prepared for similar situations in the future. Don’t get overwhelmed. Don’t resist yourself from doing something new. See every failure as a potential opportunity to learn an important lesson and apply that lesson in your life to make your management and leadership more successful.

Now that you’ve become familiar with these ten incredibly easy yet highly effective project management tips, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. With so many great insights, where do you even start? This is where you’ll have to trust your gut feeling.

Just take a quick scan before you make your debut as a project manager, find out the above tips that would be most helpful, apply them to your project management style, and keep adapting to what works best within a situation.

Would you like to add something to this post? Share your advice and thoughts in the comments below!

Cover image via Stocksnap.io

The post 10 Simple Project Management Tips for New Project Managers appeared first on Timeneye Blog.

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No one wants to admit that a client may be too difficult to deal with. That said, you shouldn’t overwork yourself when a client decides to be cantankerous.

Learning how to manage your professional relationships takes time, but with practice, even the most unusual of partnerships can become long-term, mutually-beneficial projects.

Staying Ahead of the Game

When you’re first entering into a relationship with a client, and you think they may be a little more difficult to work with than the average person, do what you can to identify the place your client is coming from. Sometimes that client will want to consult a committee before making any concrete decisions. Or, a client will fixate so much on their budget, brainstorming will be delayed for penny-pinching.

Look into these anxieties and see what you can do early on to alleviate them, or, at the least, address them. Acknowledging the emotional elephant in the room will make managing a more difficult client easier in the long run.

Mid-Project Hustle

When you’re in the midst of a project, though, what can you do in order to keep your relationship with your clients efficient and productive?

If tensions in your partnerships are starting to rise, keep the following in mind.

Keep the Relationship Professional

You are, in your small business or working environment, a professional first.

This means that even though you may be tempted to treat a business partner or client like a friend, you’ll need to keep a professional distance between yourself and the other person. This distance will enable you to attend to their problems – or mood swings – more efficiently.

This also means, though, that you can’t let your emotions get the best of you. If your client starts shifting your deadlines, refusing to commit, or is downright rude, take a step back. You, after all, represent the company you work for. When communicating with a difficult client, then, you should embrace that distance and use it to preserve your professional reputation.

Photo via Stocksnap.io Establish Boundaries

That distance is also necessary for ensuring that you don’t spend more time dealing with a difficult client than necessary.

This isn’t to say that you should neglect a client who’s upset.

Rather, you shouldn’t give one client more of your time than any of your other clients. Even the more needy clients will need to be reminded that you have a professional schedule to maintain.

If a client is trying to overtake your schedule, you can use time management apps and shared calendars in order to better contain them. Let them take a look at the schedule the two of you share – not your entire work schedule – so they can be reassured that they’ll have your attention for a concentrated period of time.

This can be helpful if you want to avoid nervous, 3am emails asking for updates.

Timeneye lets you assign Clients to your projects and shows you how much time you spend on them. Learn more here. Empathize With Your Client

Keep in mind, though, that your client is also a person.

Sometimes – especially when a client is being rude or inconsistent – it’s easy to forget that they have their own stresses to deal with outside of work, too.

Typically, a difficult client is not trying to sabotage their professional relationship with your on purpose. Sometimes day-to-day life makes it more difficult for a person to stay in a professional headspace. If your client exhibits an abrupt change in behavior, or if they seem finicky from the beginning, sit down with them and have an open, honest conversation about their expectations for your partnership and their ability to serve as an active participant in it.

It’s not your job to be their therapist, but understanding where they’re coming from may help you avoid greater difficulties in the long run.

Seek Outside Help

If a client really is too much for you to handle, though, remember that you’re not working alone.

You can always seek help from your team members or superiors if you’re feeling overwhelmed by a client’s needs and mood swings. Bringing another person onto your project doesn’t mean that you’ve given up on your client. Rather, it means that you’re taking care of yourself professionally and ensuring that your client is still getting the work from your company that they need.

If the situation does truly look hopeless, even after bringing in someone to serve as a buffer, then you may have to terminate this professional relationship. This is okay. You haven’t screwed up. It may just be the case that your business wasn’t an ideal match for the client, and the both of you can go your separate ways for greater success elsewhere.

Working with a difficult client can be as rewarding as it can be challenging. No matter the outcome of a trying partnership – be it partnership termination or eventual success – you’ll leave that client having improved your ability to remain professional under pressure.

That experience will serve you well in the long run.

Cover image via Stocksnap.io

The post Interpersonal Hurdles: Dealing With Difficult Clients appeared first on Timeneye Blog.

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Nobody likes awkward meetings.

Thing is, virtual meetings are becoming a reality for people in the workplace in all sorts of roles. Technology has cut the distance between business partners, while remote work calls for ways to keep all the team on the same page.

Unproductive meetings are already a plague that’s stealing away so much time on the workplace. Since virtual meetings and remote working are here to stay, here are a few tips on how to conduct virtual meetings like a pro (as in, “productive person”).

How to conduct productive virtual meetings
    1. Set up a date and time
    2. Make sure the tools are properly working
    3. Send the program in advance
    4. Stick to the agenda
    5. Write and share notes
    6. Send a follow up immediately
#1: Set up a date and time that work

First of all, make sure to set up in advance a date and time for the virtual meeting that works for everyone.

This should be like a no-brainer, but when you have to arrange a meeting for people in different locations, and sometimes in different timezones, things get complicated.

Personally, when I work with people on different timezones, I find Timezone Ninja and MyTimeZone useful. To send the actual invitations, you can use Google Calendar.

#2: Make sure the tools are properly working

Can you hear me?”
Hello, can you hear me now?”
The screen just froze

How many times have your virtual meetings gone unbearable due to technical difficulties?

To make things less embarrassing as possible, and to save you time, make sure to properly check the settings and equipment of your meeting.

Book a meeting room and verify it has a reliable internet connection, cables, and all the equipment you need for the meeting. Including, but not limited to a door that you can close to avoid background noise or unexpected interruptions.

There are several video apps and software for conference calls, like Skype Business or Zoom.

Use a computer that is reliable and keep an eye on battery life – I can’t begin to describe the embarrassment of having one of my calls cut off short because I forgot to plug in the power cable. *sighs*

#3: Send the meeting agenda in advance

Like any other productive meeting, a virtual meeting should be clearly planned out.

That is essential if you have attendees who are physically far away and don’t belong to your organization.

Make sure to share the agenda in advance, and prepare all the documents and files you need before the meeting. This will cut off the meeting’s duration and you won’t waste time shuffling around papers and looking for lost files in your computer.

#4: Stick to the Agenda

The most difficult part of any meeting: not letting it go off tracks.

It’s not enough to have a meeting agenda with the key points, you also have to make sure everybody sticks to it. It’s not to get over it as quickly as possible (OK, maybe just a little because of that), but mainly to avoid sitting through hours of people talking over one another, and completely go off track, making the meeting useless.

Conduct the meeting politely but firmly, and do not allow talking over one another.

To compel all parties involved in staying on topic, give the meeting a time limit and stick to it.

One way to do that is to start a timer at the beginning of the meeting. Timeneye, for example, provides a time tracking integration with Google Calendar and Outlook Calendar.

This meeting is already too long. Thanks, Timeneye! #5: Write and share notes

It’s easy to forget all the points that are discussed and decided during the meeting, especially when there are many parties involved.

You can use note keeping apps to write down your notes as you go, so when the meeting ends, you can wrap up the conversation with a summary. Here’s a script for closing a virtual meeting:

Nice call, everyone. We have decided to [list of the key points].
I’ll have [name of the person appointed] work on that by [estimated deadline], while I’ll [task you have for yourself]. Regarding [point of discussion that wasn’t solved] I’ll verify with [person]/dig in some research for you and get back to you with an answer by [deadline]. I’ll make sure to send you a the meeting notes with a summary of the key points by noon/this afternoon/ today. We’ll adjourn on [date].”

#6: Send a follow up immediately

As shown in the script example above, it’s best to follow up immediately after the meeting with the parties involved via email.

Make sure to send the notes and to repeat all the key points and decisions made.

Do it immediately, possible within the very next day, or there will be a risk of you or the attendees forgetting what was decided. This could lead to misunderstandings (“No, but we said…” “I thought we agreed on…” “You didn’t mention that…” ) and tasks left behind, and you may need another meeting (oh, no!) to fix that.

Most workers hate meetings in the first place, and virtual meetings can definitely be awkward or a source of anxiety for some people.  There are many ways to make meetings useful and productive, and virtual meetings are no exception. In the end, you can even laugh about it – like this hilarious conference call in real life video.

Did you like this article? Share it with your colleagues before your next meeting!

The post The Most Productive Way To Lead Your Virtual Meetings appeared first on Timeneye Blog.

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