A key factor in the success of any project is the team’s ability to manage time effectively. This includes the time of the project team, the time of the stakeholders, and the time of the client. It is a high-stakes balancing act and one that the team must master to drive efficient and successful project efforts.

In my daily tasks here at netlogx, it is important that I effectively manage my time. I often find myself embedded in multiple projects simultaneously, including both client projects and internal efforts. Due to this, I know that I need to be able to assess what my top priorities are and use that prioritization to dedicate a sufficient amount of time to each task that I have on my docket. The trick here is determining that priority, and I have a process that I like to follow for doing so.

First, I assess when tasks that I have are due, e.g., if I have action items required of me that are coming up, deliverables to present, meetings to schedule, etc. Having due dates for each task on the list is essential. If there is not a set due date, I set one for myself anyway. After determining the order in which tasks are due, I look at whether the task is related to billable or non-billable work. Billable tasks will almost always take priority over non-billable tasks unless the due date for the billable work is so far out that I have an abundance of time to do it (almost never).

Finally, I like to think about who the stakeholders are in the tasks that I am working on. For example, if I have two billable tasks that are both due at the same time, but one is a follow-up email and the other is cleaning up a deliverable document for presentation, there is an obvious slant in priority there. Both will get done, but the order in which I do them, and the amount of time I dedicate to each, will be different.

It is also important here to think about risk. What’s the risk if I put this task off for now in favor of doing another first? Am I relying on certain technology that must be up and functional to complete this particular task? Are any of the stakeholders heavily invested (financially, professionally, emotionally) in the success or completion of a particular task, more so than the rest of the project team? What happens if this task is not completed correctly, the first time, and on-time? How does the completion of this task affect my project schedule?

Prioritization for the purposes of time management is essential, but it is a many-faceted situation. There are numerous factors to think through and plan out but doing so will aid in ensuring your bases are covered, your schedule stays on track, and your stakeholders and project team are happy.