Time management is the process of planning the amount of time to spend on specific activities. That is all it is: realistic and detailed planning. If you do this, you will increase effectiveness, efficiency and productivity. There are three key levels of time management, beginning with the large due dates and ending with the hourly planning.
Level 1 – Due Dates – Have one piece of paper that lists your key due dates. If your teacher doesn’t assign specific due dates for major parts of the project, assign them yourselves, …and stick to it. You’ll be more motivated to achieve your goals if you are trying to make a certain deadline.
Level 2 – Timeline – Create a timeline for when you want each task in the project to be complete. Level 1 above is about the BIG due dates. Level 2 is about the SUB-due dates – all of the intermediary tasks, like when you need to complete the interviews, art work, first draft scripting or location scouting.
Here’s a tip: In your timeline also include important distractions: things that are going on in your life outside of this Challenge that will affect your ability to meet your deadlines. For example, if you have a big sporting match or a family weekend away or a performance, put that in your timeline. It will help you and your team to gauge what you can accomplish and by when.
Level 3 – Process Planning – Now take all those tasks in your timeline and extricate their processes: the steps that it will take to complete those tasks. For example, if you need to conduct an interview, leave time to research the appropriate person, contact them, prepare the questions, set up a time and location, etc. Don’t assume that if you find and call them today, you can finish the interview tomorrow! Each task in the timeline will demand its own breakdown into smaller, shorter more manageable portions.
Of course, once you have broken down all your tasks into processes, you may need to go back and re-work your timeline!
Two More Tips
- Delegating Responsibility
- Tasks can be accomplished simultaneously. Since you have multiple people working on this project together, it’s okay to be working on more than one thing at once as long as everyone is clear on who is doing what.
- Things don’t always go as planned. When the timeline gets out of whack (i.e. you have fallen behind because certain tasks took longer or there were unexpected delays) your team may need to re-assess what is important and what is not. This is prioritizing and it is an essential skill to time management.