Now that spring is here, it's the perfect time to deep clean our homes to keep ourselves and families healthy, organized and happy. Spring cleaning is not merely tidying things up, but rather a concerted and deliberate effort to go from room to room and tackle jobs that may not have gotten done throughout the winter, i.e., dusting ceiling fans and light fixtures, cleaning behind the washer and dryer, organizing drawers and closets and emptying refrigerator shelves.
It takes time, but the results are worth every minute. Your house is shiny and neat, you can find things easily, and the lemony scent in the air reminds you how many germs have been eliminated!
This is also a great time of year to do some Spring Cleaning around your project management space. Look to the following three areas to tidy up as you move into the summer months.
Clean Up Your Meetings
We love meetings as project managers. Let’s face it, we even have meetings about meetings! The problem is that they can take on a life of their own, decrease in value, and drain our time. Now’s the time to get rid of unnecessary meetings.
- How to Know if a Meeting is Necessary - Is the energy high at this meeting? Is it supported? Is critical information shared or are decisions made at each one? Or, is it just a cursory, low-energy, small-talk check-in that lasts for a few minutes and people don’t attend or engage? If it’s the latter, stop it.
- How to Do It - Combine one meeting with an existing meeting, invite a smaller, more focused group, and repurpose the time for something that is meaningful; or, cancel the meeting altogether.
- The Benefit - Less time wasted in meetings for your team, and more time for you.
Eliminate Reports That Aren’t Used
This is not meant to hurt your feelings, but some of your reports may not be as valuable or useful as you believe. They may have had great value in the beginning, but as time passes, the value of the report deteriorates, or people find other ways to get the information.
- How to Tell if a Report is Necessary - Do you receive any feedback or questions on the reports you distribute to large audiences or distribution lists? Or, has the radio silence left you wondering if anyone is even getting your report? Consider stopping the report if it has been absolutely quiet for months.
- How to Do It - There are a few approaches to discontinuing a report. First, ask people if they still need the report and see what the response is. Second, tell people you are going to stop sending the report as of a certain date, and see what response you get. Finally, just stop sending the report and see what happens. Chances are very good that if you feel it should be stopped, nobody will miss it.
- The Benefit - Less spam in everyone’s Inbox and more time for you.
Declutter Your Physical and Virtual Work Areas
Have you seen computer screens cluttered with hundreds of icons? Or, physical desktops strewn with folders, sticky-notes from ten years ago, and magazines that are even older? You know productivity takes a hit in these environments, and it is amazing anything can be found at all.
- How to Tell if Clutter is a Problem - Are you able to quickly find what you are looking for and immediately pick up where you left off, whether it’s a virtual or physical file? Or, do you find yourself frequently saying, “I know it’s around here somewhere,” or, “Can you resend that file I sent you a couple months back?”
- How to Do It - Take a day to clean up your physical and virtual space, even if it’s over a weekend. Develop a process for keeping things organized. The book “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” by David Allen is as good a place to start as any. Listen to Getting a New Outlook on Email Management by Debbie Kirtland on the Great Practices podcast on The PMO Leader site. Encourage your team members to do the same.
- The Benefit - Stress free productivity for you and your team!
The important thing to remember is that project management dust and grime can accumulate over time. Performing Project Management Spring Cleaning every year will keep you healthy, happy, and organized. We’ll leave it up to you to figure out how to get that fresh lemony scent.
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