personal deelopment and self empowerment

            Task Management and
             Personal Productivity

   If you have been assigned to manage a large project, only to become overwhelmed at the sheer scope of time and effort required, you're not alone. Managing long-term, large-scale projects is a challenging prospect, even for those experienced at it.

   And what if you are expected to manage three, four, or even five or more projects at a time? For many people the mere thought of simultaneously managing multiple projects is mind boggling, even frightening.

   Yet, as you look around your workplace, you can probably spot someone who seems to thrive on doing it and actually does it exceptionally well. And while that person may not seem to be any more intelligent or hardworking than you are, for some reason they embrace the challenge while you are tempted to shy away from it.

   The underlying difference between yourself and that person is simply this - they understand and practice a very simple concept - Task Management.

   Regardless of the actual scope of work involved or the timeframe to completion, every project can be broken down into smaller, easily managed tasks that are readily completed over the short-term. As each task is completed on the Gantt bar graph* or PERT Task Flow chart*, it contributes towards the completion of the project itself.

   More often than not, each task itself can then be broken down into a fixed schedule, allowing you to steadily and consistently work at it over a number of days or weeks. Depending upon the type of task, it may even be possible to work on several tasks concurrently, by spending a relatively small amount of time on each, every day.

   The watchwords of Project Task Management are diligence and consistency, but tempered with flexibility. A given task may need to be paused if it is dependent upon the completion of another task or an unexpected issue presents itself. With flexible task scheduling and a willingness to adapt to these unforeseen barriers, the project itself will continue while you explore options to resolve them.

   The most accomplished project management achievers are able work in such a way that they make some degree of progress on one or more of the tasks involved each and every day. With well thought out Task Scheduling and Task Tracking, this can involve spending as little as 10 or 15 minutes per day or up to an hour on each task.

   This is why some project managers are often able to take on multiple projects simultaneously and not become stressed over their workload. Managing several projects at once actually breaks up the monotony of constantly working on one single thing for so long that it diminishes your enthusiasm. It provides a way for you to step back from each project for a short time and then resume it the next day with a fresh outlook.

   While we can never lose sight of the overall project itself, by focusing on Task Management, Resource Utilization, Careful Scheduling and consistency in how we approach our work, we can easily increase our Personal Productivity without unduly frustrating ourselves or becoming stressed about our workload.

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   *Gantt charts illustrate the start and finish dates of the terminal elements and summary elements of a project. Terminal elements and summary elements make up the work structure of the project. Some Gantt charts also show dependent  relationships between activities (i.e, precedence network). Gantt charts can be used to show current schedule status using percent-complete notations.

   The Program (or Project) Evaluation and Review Technique, commonly abbreviated PERT, is a model for project management designed to analyze and represent the tasks involved in completing a given project. It is usually displayed as a page full of blocks representing specific task milestones and connecting lines indicating inter-dependencies, all leading to the Final Completion milestone.
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Richard Rossbauer
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                      Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time,
                      for that is the stuff that life is made of.

- Benjamin Franklin
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