You might carry out most of your working hours at your desk but that doesn’t mean that it is the only place where you can come up with ideas and solutions. I would never suggest that you let your home life suffer by taking a lot of tasks home with you but there are some easy ways to get ahead before you even reach your desk.
Use the Commute Smartly
If you have to make a fairly long commute each day then it could be the most boring part of your day. There are few of us who enjoy being stuck in traffic or waiting for a train or bus but what if you could take advantage of this time? If you are traveling by public transport then you will probably find it easiest to get some work done. I have always found that trains are great for settling down with some papers or with a laptop. In my experience the journey flies by a lot more quickly when you are engrossed in some work as well. It isn’t something I would do every day, as I also enjoy such sitting back and listening to some music on my train journeys. However, it is a smart move occasionally when you could do with starting your day ahead of the game and getting off to a flying start.
Build Up Your Energy
Those project managers who face a long, tiring day will no doubt be glad of any way they can find of geeing themselves up with an extra boost of energy. There are many different ways of doing this and it is up to you to simply find the one which best suits you. I tended to always go for a strong hit of coffee in the mornings but I got put off the idea by the thought that it could have long term health effects. I then tried doing some exercises in the mornings and found this to be a far better way of starting a tough day. You should try out a few different methods of building up your energy levels in the morning and see which one suits you best. You will be grateful for having done so when it gets to 3 or 4 in the afternoon and you are still feeling strong and full of energy.
Another good way of starting your day on a good footing is to clear your mind before you get to your desk. I am not particularly thinking of anything as specific as yoga but I guess that some project managers might find this to be the perfect solution for them. Personally I just like to forget all about the piece of work once I leave my office in the afternoon or evening. I will stay focused on other things until the next morning. After eating my breakfast I will start to think about the project again and I will usually discover that I can see the issues from a completely different perspective from the one I had the day before. I have always thought that this is a great way of working and I have occasionally wondered whether other project managers work in the same way. You might find your own way of doing this but I certainly suggest that you find a way of helping yourself think more clearly before each working day.
One big regret I have is that I was never very good at making contacts in the past. In one of my early projects I would travel down from Scotland to London once a week. It was a very big project which I was only a small part of. This meant that the flights were generally full of people from my same company going to meetings and such like in London. I was always either too shy or too caught in what I was doing to go and speak to them. A few of the big names in the firm traveled down every time and all I had to was walk up to one of them in the airport and introduce myself. I never did this and now I can see that this was definitely a lost opportunity for making some important contacts which could have helped out my career. You might want to have a think about whether you could establish some interesting and useful contacts on the train, in the coffee shop or somewhere else on your route to work.
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