A Day in the Life of a Project Manager


What does the typical day of a project manager look like and what are the daily routines and tasks that he has to perform? The Project Manager is the pivotal role in the delivery of any project. The Project manager carries the can if anything goes wrong and everyone else gets the plaudits when their part of the job goes to plan. Project Management is a tough job, certainly not for everyone, and can be thankless but, nonetheless, rewarding for all that.

This is something that many people want to know who are thinking about switching careers and going towards project management, but also those who are new at the job and they want to know how they should structure their day.

I’m, excited to start and wanted to see an insight of how you all go about your days from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. that’s quite a long day. Is there anything in particular, you do day-to-day that helps lower.

Your stress levels make you more efficient, keeps you sane Thanks. So what can we answer net design here? First of all, there’s, probably no other job in the world. Well, I can’t say that, but no other job in the company, which is more diverse and more unpredictable than the job of project management and that what makes it so much fun, at least that’s what I think.

So with that said, a brief overview about how I structure my day.

When I come to the office in the morning, my first task is to check my email and I don’t just read every email and answer every email.

I just filter out what are the really important things that I need to answer get answered right away like for managers or about activities related to activities which are currently taking place where we have high pressure and we have to get them solved.

That’s about half an hour to one hour in the morning I spend with email.

Then I always focus on the tasks which are important activities which are going to be finished this week and the next week.

So every morning I ask myself what’s one important thing that we are working on right now that we are going to finish this week, where I have to make sure that it actually gets done, and this can be something of a test.

This can be a workshop that we have to close successfully, some IT software development that’s being that’s in process, and I know that’s going to be finished on Thursday. So if it’s Monday, I’m gonna do everything that I can to make sure that we get this task done on time.

This usually involves calling up people to find out how they are doing, if they are moving along with the task? Can we finish it? Are we going to finish it by Thursday? Are there any issues? Anything I can help with.

I don’t just call, I go to my team member. I sit next to his/her desk and try to get a feel of about how we are moving forward.

Then I might have some meetings either as a host or also meetings where I’m participating to see that we are moving in the right direction, so you will always have meetings as a project manager, every day or every second day, and you have to make sure that every meeting provides value and that things get decided and closed off.

That’s very important, so I might just enter at the end of the meeting to make sure that we can make a clear cut decision and move on to the next topic.

Then we are already at lunchtime, so I have a short lunch and after, in the afternoon, I go back to my desk.

The next task is again to check my email, so the new emails that have come in process using the same filtering method. I don’t answer every email. I look to see what is really important and I deal with these questions and give directives, give orders to my team about these specific things by email or face-to-face. I prefer to have an email record so I may do both – reply by email and then have a conversation to ensure that everything is clear.

Then what I do also, which is a daily habit really – and I really encourage you to follow a similar process every day for about half an hour after lunch – I open the project to-do list. This is usually an MS Excel or MS Project file where all the tasks and deliverables and action items and issues are recorded, with a description, a deadline, and the person or agency responsible.

I check which tasks are going to be going to need to be completed this week or by the beginning of next week, and I set the filter. Then I call up and I follow up with those responsible for each task and again the same process.

A typical conversation might follow the lines of, “How are we moving forward with this task? Are there any issues? are there any risks of failing to complete on time? Is there anything I can help you with?”

Depending on the responses that I get, I may do some other things like inviting folk for an ad-hoc meeting to get some urgent issue resolved to make sure that we are moving forward, that we are closing or finishing the tasks that the team is working on. So following-up, reviewing the to-do list, and making sure that everyone in my team is moving forward. This takes about half an hour.

There are meetings and workshops that I attend. This is not always a requirement. You can plan these long in advance. Some meetings are, of course, planned ahead of time, but some others are more like urgent firefighting meetings and you just have to squeeze them in somehow and then usually it’s already 5:00 p.m.

Before I go home, I will again review my checklist and check my emails, answer those that are high priority. I make phone calls in reply to some of the correspondence and also if there’s some meeting the next day or the day after, I will prepare a presentation and kind of prepare and look ahead.

I also plan what I’m going to do tomorrow and then prepare for these activities and meetings, then I call it a day. I shut off the computer and I go back home and forget about all the work that I’ve been doing the whole day.

This is very important You have to have some procedure or some routine for switching off and cooling down. You need to think about other things. So the other question relates to techniques for relaxing.

This is very important because the project manager’s job is really taxing and really demanding, not only physically, but also mentally. You’re being bombarded with so much information and you have to make so many decisions every day it’s really psychologically demanding.

So I usually work only in one and one and a half hour blocks. After such a block, I will just leave my computer and take a short walk in the office or outside just to get my brain just think about something else or take a coffee break with colleagues, Do some small talk and get away from the detail of stuff. The other questions were routines for being more efficient every day.

I think what helps me is to have these kinds of blocks of concentrated work, focused work for checking email for preparing a presentation, and I might even go to a quiet meeting room or meeting corner where I’m not being disturbed so this helps me to get a lot done in a short amount of time, and then you have to have a good system for managing your tasks and all the information that you get in your email.

Your documents, especially your to-do list should be maintained on a regular basis.

This helps you to be efficient, automatically and finally, to keep you sane, because it’s kind of hard, sometimes especially in reality.

You need to identify peak phases in a project and make sure that you are present to ensure that they are covered.

What I also like to do is to plan something enjoyable with my wife after work like going to a nice restaurant, watching a movie, going to you, could to the Opera, or just meeting some friends, and this helps me to think about other stuff rather than just work – which isn’t easy at times.

But this is very helpful because then you also have better sleep and you’ll be more refreshed and recharged in the morning so that you can again get a lot done the next day. Everybody has his/her own routines, but you have to make sure to have solid routines that work for you.

Becoming Smart!

It is said that with age comes wisdom. As a "senior" I would candidly say that were I able to live my life over again but retain all of the lessons that I have learned in my life, then the new, young me would enjoy a very different life than that which I have enjoyed. Experiences (good and bad) teach us life's lessons if you apply them. My intention with this blog is to provide a constant source of wisdom to you, gentle reader, in the hope that you can avoid some or more of life's mistakes and thus enjoy a better quality of life. My sources are global because applied wisdom is what counts.

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