Regardless of the project size, and if you’re hired as an in-house project manager or a freelancer, there is a daunting task of launching the project timely, and also, ensuring everything goes smoothly. The collaboration with team members or the clients can be a stressful venture, and it worsens when distractions set in.
This guide explains ways in which you can organize things to ensure distractions are minimized in the project you’re handling with your team, that is if you’re hired as an in-house project manager. Also, this guide helps freelancers working on a project with a client on the best way to stay distraction-free during project implementation. So basically, this article is divided into two phases, and if this is your first time handling a project, this guide helps you get started.
For In-House Project Manager
1. Plan Your Project
This is no brainer; all project managers will say that every project success boils down to planning. This inevitably requires initial efforts because, during project implementation, this will definitely save you and your team money, time, and unforeseen headaches, which causes unnecessary distraction during the project implementation.
These brief tips help in project planning;
- Recognize Your Project: This is the very first step to ensuring a distraction-free project. Ensure to breakdown what the project entails. There is a significant variation between building a house and building a vacation home; a vacation home ensures that your team understands the task at hand, which removes confusions and distractions.
- Definity Objectives and Goals: After this initial task has been completed, you’ll need to have some defined objectives and goals with your team. The project goals can be termed the “What” and objectives, the “How.” A good example is having the goal of increasing website traffic and how to implement it.
- Define Tasks: Just like every team project management, you’ll need to define the tasks to be done; clearly, this is helpful, not only in avoiding confusion but also saves time when a team member is replaced during the project implementation.
- Have a Timeline: This equally works for freelancers too, the tasks of the project should be grouped into stages with reasonable deadlines set to it. A reasonable timeline helps you finish the project without pressure or distraction from other tasks of the same project. Also, ensure to group these tasks according to priorities.
2. Steady Project Tracking
That you have your project carefully outlined and planned doesn’t mean that you should abandon or give little attention to the project and expect it to run smoothly with revising and reviewing how the project under your management is going. If you’ve got other things, you must do outside the project during the project implementation, it’s best that you assign your role to a qualified team member because even though you might be able to multitask, it’s not always easy to serve two masters at a time.
You should ensure to point out future problems and address them way before they occur. There are plenty of project killers and distractions that are easy to see but are often overlooked, which in the long run can cause severe damages to the project implementation. These problems can be anything from a personal lifestyle to a professional issue, trust me, you don’t want to be dealing with either of these when carrying out the project.
As a project manager, you have to provide direction, always trust, and communicate with your team and understand any possible distractions they might have while carrying out their assigned tasks. This will solve two things basically;
- Ensuring you know your team member and accurately assign tasks
- Having a conducive working environment, which makes things flow in unison.
Note: If possible, try to trim down your team to the smallest number possible.
3. Project Management Software is Your Savior
It is definitely a savior to many projects. No matter how well curated or planned your project tends to be, it must run into hiccups, and these hiccups now become a distraction. However, technology has identified this project implementation problem and has come up with a credible solution—project management software.
Here are some beneficial project management software’s;
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- Trello: Trello, ensures that both you and your team are always on track. It features a visual collaborative board in which discussions and tasks can be assigned and updated.
- Basecamp: This has a simple UI (user interface) which you can use to write to-do lists, share files, have discussions, and schedule essential updates.
- Wrike: This software helps by making sure that assigned tasks stay on track, and the designated team member has the resources they need.
4. Celebrating Milestones
This sounds like a distraction to you, correct? Well, you’re wrong. When your team completes a project milestone, it should be celebrated, no matter how small the celebration is. Celebrating a completed milestone helps encourage and revitalizes you and your team for the next milestone ahead. This is a proven way for project managers to make the team members focus on the project, not with pressure but with motivation, which is definitely great.
Most of the distractions that occur in in-house project management are mainly caused by the situations arising from the project itself rather than the outside influencing factors. That is why these helpful tips are focused on these aspects and a few external elements to ensure you and your team stay focused and motivated during project implementation.
Staying focused on a project is even tougher if you’re a freelancer, especially when you’re new in the field. Working from home is becoming an increasing trend which tech professionals find most comfortable for them. A report discovered that a whopping 74% of workers are willing to quit their current jobs for a simple gig that allows them to work from anywhere.
With an increasing number of technologies which makes this pattern of working (freelancing) more comfortable, more people are willing to work from where they feel they’re excellently productive while still being connected. Also, some organizations are currently accommodating remote workers, and they utilize technology to connect co-workers that aren’t physically working in the office.
While this is an exciting trend, it, however, poses a considerable challenge for the professionals. The chief problem is the main reasons for which offices came to exist—distraction. For some freelancers, distractions like kids, chores, even the comfy home undoubtedly affect freelancers from completing much of the tasks they’re to do.
These tips helps freelancer to eliminate distractions and boost your productivity;
1. Have a Background Music On
This solution has a bit of controversy surrounding it. While some professionals say background music helps them stay focused, others say it is a chief cause of their distraction. However, every individual has what works for them, and if background music does, you can leave it on to help you stay focused.
2. Split Your Work
Some people can sit and work for hours without being burned out, while others will quickly get burned out and are then distracted. You’ve got to find which that works for you. If you’re the type that quickly gets burned out, it is advised that you create a schedule and have breaks to replenish your strength.
3. Ensure to Have a To-do List
This has been discussed about above. Having a to-do list can’t be an option, in fact, it is a must. Using software to have a to-do list is the best in this approach. You can also use it as a brain dump area, that is, use it as a place to write out distracting thoughts, or things to do later. This helps some people stay focused and equally plan out their works, which is similarly excellent for freelancing.
4. Have Your Goals and Vision in Mind
You can’t be focused as a freelancer handling a project if you don’t even know why you need to focus. You’ve got to think about it; about your client, project deadline, how important this task is for your client. Such motivational thinking can equally help you stay focused and increase your productivity.
5. Dress Up
Top freelance professionals say this actually help in keeping them focus. You’ll need to behave as if you’re working in an office, this includes getting up from the bed and wearing your clothes rather than your sleeping pajamas.
6. Leave the House
Leaving your house for a short or long break, working away from home like in an eatery or a coffee shop can give you a change of environment and take your mind away from domestic chores and activities. It will undoubtedly refocus your energy.
7. Have a Set Office
Always avoid working from your bed or your couch; instead, you should have a set office where you will be highly cut-off from outside distractions. It should have a door to separate you from the outside world while working, and this would give the feeling of working from an office. It would also be ideal if you can set up a piece of similar office equipment in your home equipment. This will ensure that you work more productive.
8. Complete Tasks In Batch
Always complete related tasks in one batch, this ensures you attain maximum productivity. If you have lots of emails to respond to or calls to make, you should do perform all these tasks at once instead of on performing some to come back later to it. Doing this ensures that small tasks are being cleared and unnecessary distractions are avoided when performing more significant tasks.
9. Have a Schedule
If you aren’t living alone, and there are people at home while you’re working like your family or kids. It usually is helpful that you post your schedule on your home office door. Having your schedule inscription can let your family members know when you are busy and when you are free.
This pattern of avoiding distraction makes working from home be more official, and your folks at home will be more likely to respect your working boundaries and assign you fewer errands during the day.
10. Pinpoint your Distractions
Know your distractions, ensure to get them completed before you start working. Without having a problem to think about, you’re likely to be more productive. A good example is when you have a dirty room or kitchen, if you don’t clean it up before you start working, your mind will keep moving over the dirty environs, and that will reduce your productivity.
11. Your Personal Phone Should be Dealt With
This is another great source of distraction attacking freelance professionals, it’s typically not a big deal until you check the “minor” time you spent checking through on social media while working; scroll through Instagram, Twitter, watch a little bit of YouTube, and before you say jack; you’ve lost about an hour of work time. It is recommended to turn off your cell phone while working or putting it in a silent mode with its screen turned facedown to avoid distractions from notifications.
12. Finally, Your Internal Distractions Must be Controlled
Internally distractions are the chief problems that can be hard to overcome. Your mind needs to be prepared for the project or task ahead. You need to keep your mind from straying into non-essential thoughts, which tends to reduce the productivity of the freelancer.
A right home office, as mentioned above, is a great way to start, if you’re surrounded by work, your mind tends to stay on work-related stuff. However, whichever works for you that you should go for.
Distractions during project management is a global challenge for both a freelancer working from home and an in-house project manager. To be able to deliver quality work to clients which you are or have been paid for, there is every need to reduce the distraction levels to the minimum. The benefits of staying focused can’t be overestimated, and this article helped with essential tips to stay focus on your projects, hopefully it works for you too.