Project Management Call To Action
Technology has transformed the world. An epoch of inventions has brought Homo sapiens from dwelling in caves to sending e-mails while flying on a plane at 30,000 feet. Each technological advancement has brought forward greater efficiencies and the ability to accomplish more. This has fed human expectations to strive for peak capacity in doing more. While technology has made mankind quicker, it has also increased the level of complexity in navigating work.
Complexity calls for focus, but our world is one of notifications and distractions. We have more opportunities to occupy our time. Technology has reduced our cognitive gift of boredom and replaced it with distraction. Distraction is the enemy of accomplishment. Researcher Gloria Mack found that when distracted, it takes over 23 minutes for an individual focused on a task to achieve their previous level of concentration before the distraction.
The combination of numerous distractions and high expectations can make it easy for a person to feel overwhelmed. It would be normal to feel the world crashing around you. Believing that you have an inability to live up to expectations can send you spinning to the point of not knowing where to start or how to even move forward, leaving you in a paralyzed state of inactivity.
Most people’s aim to live their idealized version of life. However, many people never get to live their perfect lives because they get too busy, and their day-to-day schedules overtake what is important. This comes because of being overwhelmed.
If I just described you, do not worry; you are not alone. Everyone goes through this same phenomenon. The pressures of commitment can overtake your life. Some people figure it out through trial and error. Some people don’t figure it out and severely limit their career potential. The project management methodology is a simple system that helps bring clarity and priority, which keeps you from living in a state of stress.
You will want to accomplish many things in life. These will be your dreams—graduating from college, traveling the world, etc. Project management is a tool to keep you on track and to achieve those milestones. You should never have to live a life full of regret from not living the life you dreamed of having.
This resonates greatly with me, as I was a single father stuck working a 60-hour-a-week job with an inability to move my career forward because I needed a master’s degree. I had a limited amount of time each day and weekend. However, it was at this point that I discovered project management and learned how to maximize the limited time that I did have. Not only did it help me plan and schedule my efforts, but it also helped clarify my priorities so that I could drop low-priority tasks, go to school while working, and still give my daughter the father she needed.
Also introduced in this work is the concept of level loading. The Japanese continuous improvement system of Lean identifies this process as “heijunka.” Many work processes and school times consist of busy and slow periods. You will either have too much to do, or you will have nothing to do. Project management helps enable level loading where you don’t have massive ups and downs of work but a steady pace. As a student, when you receive the syllabus at the beginning of the course, you can start working on readings and tasks before they are due, ensuring that you never fall behind or become overwhelmed.
Often, success in life starts with being successful in school. Project management can help you navigate a class, determine all the requirements necessary, and master the class. It will help show you how to tackle a semester encompassing multiple classes, getting everything done with ease. Lastly, project management can keep you on track through school, graduating on time, or possibly even early.
These skills will then lead to early career success. Careers start with good impressions and can send your future in an elevating direction; the opposite is true of poor first impressions. Much of your career success can be attributed to having a good sponsor and mentor who will elevate you. Great mentors are also short on time and want to invest their efforts in high-potential employees. Being able to apply project management skills early in your career will significantly elevate you above your peers, bringing favorable attention and helping you define your career.
In the professional world, managers look for people who are responsible and who can manage their work. They want to manage you as little as possible so that they can focus their efforts on more pressing matters. By mastering project management skills early in your career, you will gain the autonomy you desire not to have someone micromanage you and always look over your shoulder.
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