The Daily Routine of a Project Manager

Hey what’s up this is Adrian from Tacticalprojectmanager. What does the typical day of a project manager look like and what are the daily routines and tasks that he has to perform.

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.

So that’s the question I’m gonna answer in this video so stay tuned. Some guy on Reddit asks:

image of question on reddit about daily PM routine

So, what can we answer this guy 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 a project manager. And that’s what makes it so much fun. At least that’s what I think.

How my day typically looks like

So with that said a brief overview about how I structure my day I 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 related to activities which are currently taking place where we are have high pressure and we have to get them solved. That’s about half an hour to an hour in the morning I spend with email and then I always focus on the tasks which are going to be finished in this week and the upcoming week.

So, every morning I ask myself: What’s one important thing that we are working on right now that we have that we are going to finish this week? where I have to make sure that it actually gets done. This can be a test, this can be a workshop that we have to close successfully. Some IT software development 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 and this usually involves calling up people hey how you doing are you moving along with the task can we finish it are we going to finish it till Thursday are there any issues anything I can help you with? And I don’t just make a phone call. I usually go to my team members and I sit next to their desk and try to get a feel of about whether we are moving forward.

And then I might have some meetings either as a host or also meetings that where I’m just participating to see whether that we are moving into 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. That’s very important.

So I might just enter at the end of the meeting to make sure that we can can make a clear cut and move on to the next topic.

Then we are already at lunchtime. I have a short lunch and afterwards I go back back to my desk. The next task is again to check my email so the new mail that’s been coming in, again I use the same filter. I don’t answer every email. I look what is really important which what are we working on this week and I answer and these questions and give orders to my team about these specific things by email.

Then what I do also which is a daily habit (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 the Excel file where all the tasks and deliverables and action items and issues are recorded. What I do I open this Excel I check which tasks are falling due  this week or beginning of next week, and I set the filter and then I call up those responsible for each task and again same process: ‘John – how are we moving forward with this with this job any issues anything I can help you with? And depending on that I may do some other things like inviting 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 where the team is working on. So follow-up reviewing the to-do list and making sure that everyone in my team is moving forward this for about half an hour.

And then again in the afternoon there are meetings workshops which I attend. Again, you can plan this long in advance. Some meetings are of course planned ahead of time, but 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. and again then before I go home I will again review my check my email answer some phone calls to some of the correspondence. And also if there’s some meeting next day the next next or second day I will prepare a presentation and look ahead. What are we going to do? What I’m going to do tomorrow and then prepare for this meeting. 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 so you have to have some procedure or some routine to cool you down. So that you can think about other things.

How to stay sane as a project manager

So the other question from this guy on reddit was techniques for relaxing. This is very important because the project manager job is really taxing and really demanding physically but also mentally so you’re being you know 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 my thoughts to just think about something else or take a coffee break with colleagues and do some small talk that I get away from the from the stuff.

How to be more efficient

The other question were routines for being more efficient every day. I think what helps me is to have these kind of focused work for checking email or for preparing a presentation. And I might even go to a quiet meeting room or meeting corner where I’m not being disturbed. This helps me to get a lot done in a short amount of time. And then your efficiency: I think you have to have a good system for for coordinating tasks and process all the information that you get: emails, documents, your to-do list etc. So maintain these on a regular basis so then you’re also efficient automatically. And finally, to keep you sane so it’s kind of hard sometimes especially in the peak phases in a project. But what I like to do is to plan some something enjoyable with my wife after work. Like going to a nice restaurant, watching a movie, going to the Opera or just meeting some friends and and this helps me to think about other stuff than just work This isn’t easy but it’s  helpful because then you also have a better sleep and you’ll be more refreshed and recharged in the morning so that you can get again a lot done the next day.

Everybody has their own routines here but you have to make sure to have phases where you relax. Where you think about other stuff and where you also enjoy life, even if it’s during the week. So make sure to make these routines part of your daily schedule.

I hope this was helpful for you and if you have questions just post a comment here and also make sure you subscribe to our Youtube channel so that you are informed about updates. Talk to you soon – bye bye. Take care

Adrian

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