As a project manager I plan, control and organize the work both of mine and other people. Surprisingly, all these skills are really helpful not only in the professional, but in the daily life as well. At one point I realized that my professional duties have changed the way I approach my daily routine. So, check below the 4 useful lessons for daily life that I have learned from project management.
- Trust but verify. People are not robots. They make mistakes, forget about agreements and fail on their commitments. I face these things on my projects from time to time, but in daily life I face them far more often. That’s why I always try to set some check points when delegating tasks. This allows me to track the progress and avoid unpleasant surprises. It is definitely better to know sooner than later that something that had to be done by a particular date can`t be done by that time. This approach allows you to prepare and consider switching to a backup plan.In my daily life I use this approach when I`m booking a restaurant or a hotel in advance.
For example, in a holiday season I can make a reservation for team building a couple of weeks ahead of the event. But I definitely call to the restaurant the day before the event and confirm that my reservation is still valid. I do this because everything might happen over time. The manager who took my booking might miss to make a record of it or might get fired, the restaurant might be closed or burned down, etc.
- Set reminders. I have so many things to do as a project manager every moment of my working day. Unfortunately, I can’t do more than one task at a time. So, whenever a new task pops up, I add it to my Google Calendar setting up notification in order not to forget about it. I adopted this habit into my daily life routine, because there are too many things you may forget about. And this really helps.
Once I read a funny story about a scientist from the past centuries who had a habit of sending letters with reminders to himself. But now I understand that it isn’t so funny after all. It is very useful. And I really sympathize to that poor man who was not lucky enough to be born before the era of the Internet and smartphones.
- Don’t make assumptions. I was a great fantasist in my childhood. Maybe, this is the reason why I can easily draw in my mind a full picture of anything not having complete information. The problem is that this picture is often quite far from the reality. You may assume how any person will act, but he or she will not do in such a way, because different people think differently, have different habits and intentions. You may assume how some process works, but actually it doesn’t work in such a way, because some situations are more complicated than you know. So, you’d better ask, clarify and check instead of making assumptions about the situation. If you want to be successful, you have to rely upon facts and true information rather than beliefs and assumptions.
- Always have plan B. I believe that the ultimate mission of project managers is combatting chaos not only on their projects but wherever it`s possible. The problem is that chaos often wins. However well planned your project or particular activities, there is still a high probability that something goes wrong. Although, you can never foresee all possible circumstances and emergencies, but you can definitely decrease the probability of failure by managing at least some of the risks. If you have a plan of actions in the case when something goes wrong, the chances to get everything done are much higher. Therefore, always have plan B. Try to reveal as many risks as possible and think about a response plan to these risks.The simplest example of managing risks in daily life is calling a taxi. When I`m going somewhere by taxi I always try to call a taxi in advance to have enough time to call another one if the first one fails to arrive or breaks down on its way.
So these are 4 habits for daily life which I have learned from being a project manager. Do you also have such kind of professional deformation? What habits from your professional life did you take into your daily routine?