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Time & Project Management in a nutshell

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Andy Black

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Someone just messaged me asking about Time Management and Project Management books. Here’s my reply.

(Don’t discount this because it’s not 400 pages long, and because it’s free. I spent a lot of time and money learning this stuff!)


# TIME MANAGEMENT

Time management is a myth. You can’t manage time. We all have the same time in the day.

When someone says “I didn’t have time” they mean it wasn’t important enough and they did something else instead.

So time management is about prioritisation. It’s about working out what to do to move forward.

What’s The ONE Thing that if you did it then everything else becomes unnecessary or easier?

What’s the actual thing that’s holding you up that you need to solve right now? (Bearing in mind that “Overthinking is the art of solving problems you don’t have.”?)



Another helpful tool is “The Four Ds”:

Dump it.
(Should it even be done?)

Delegate it.
(So it needs done. Does it need to be done by you?)

Defer it.
(So it needs to be done by you. Does it need to be done now? If not, put it into your calendar for a later date and forget it till then.)

Do it.
(Can’t do any of the above? Best get it done then.)




# PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Project management is just about passing a test.

Andy, you need to deliver 100 blue widgets by Monday next week.

Do that and you pass the test.

Deliver on Tuesday and you failed.

Deliver 99 widgets and you failed.

Deliver 100 red widgets and you failed.


So what’s the test that will be applied on the test date?

Nail that down with the client or stakeholder first. Then go pass the test.

(Note that it’s not your job as the project manager to ensure that passing the test is the best thing for the business. Sure, you can tell the business you think another way is better, but if your job is to pass the test then that’s what you do. It’s the manager or business owner’s job to make sure the right thing gets done.

The project manager just delivers. The business ensures it’s the right package.)
 

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Supercar

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Thanks for the Four Ds! Never heard about them before.

I have been using the Eisenhower's Urgent/Important matrix, which also creates the same decision choices, but in his matrix the "Do" is at the top left, and so you always end up with shit to do, always end up with shit left over, and so your To-Do list keeps growing perpetually. This is unless you scrap it periodically, or start a new list every day. What a mess!

But with the Four Ds you filter and sanitize things way before they get on your To-Do list. You end up with a shorter prioritized list, and you periodically purge it from the bottom. Very neat, I like it! I am going to use it!
 
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Andy Black

Andy Black

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Thanks for the Four Ds! Never heard about them before.

I have been using the Eisenhower's Urgent/Important matrix, which also creates the same decision choices, but in his matrix the "Do" is at the top left, and so you always end up with sh*t to do, always end up with sh*t left over, and so your To-Do list keeps growing perpetually. This is unless you scrap it periodically, or start a new list every day. What a mess!

But with the Four Ds you filter and sanitize things way before they get on your To-Do list. You end up with a shorter prioritized list, and you periodically purge it from the bottom. Very neat, I like it! I am going to use it!
Great to hear it’s already given you an aha moment.

The most important layer is the first - Dump it. Should it even be done in the first place?
 

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