Are you constantly running out of time in your workday? If you’re a utility project manager, you might find yourself hard-pressed for enough time to complete your tasks each day. A 25-minute chunk of time can fly by when you have so much on your plate.
Time management is hard for everyone, but as a project manager, you have the unique difficulty of coordinating the efforts of your team embers and the project stakeholders as well as managing the materials and the equipment.
As if that responsibility isn’t stressful enough, the entire project's success may depend on your time management abilities.
But you can manage your work effectively if you implement some simple time management strategies. Keep reading to learn what strategies you can use to plan and manage your utility project!
1. Set a Project Plan
The first management strategy you should implement in every project is a project plan. Without a plan, you may spend a lot of time trying to figure out what the next stage of the project should be and how to implement it. Start by writing a project plan so you can track progress as you go. There are even project plan templates to help you get started with the project planning process.
While it will take time to make a comprehensive project plan at the beginning of the project, this planning should save you time throughout the whole project. You won’t have to halt project progress to plan for the next step. A project plan should also help avoid mistakes and the need for rework during the project.
Before the first utility pole is ordered, sit down and plan out each stage of the project, detailing what materials will be needed and what steps will be accomplished. You can also make your project budget while building this project plan, which will save you time as well!
2. Communicate Effectively
Communication is crucial for your project completion, whether you’re talking with your project team or project stakeholders. If something is unclearly communicated to start, you may have a misunderstanding in directions and have to redo part of the project entirely.
To avoid wasted time with communication errors, communicate completely and clearly the first time. Give your team members and the stakeholders all the information they would need in the best form possible. You’ll have to choose whether to use email, a phone call, or in-person communication, but pick whatever method fits the message you have.
Also, keep your stakeholders actively involved in the project by communicating when you have completed the tasks in each stage of the project. This can help keep an open line between you and your stakeholders so they don’t stop communicating halfway through the project.
3. Remain Flexible
Even if you establish a clear project plan and communicate as best as you can, the unexpected may happen in your project. Some changes could shift your tasks for the full day, a whole week, or the entire duration of the project.
So, plan for the unexpected. Approach any situation ready to adapt your project plan and rearrange priorities if necessary. In the end, you can still effectively plan to complete your project, even if the specifics of the project change along the way.
4. Breakdown Big Tasks
A good work breakdown structure is also essential to your time management. Big tasks can be hard to manage because of their size. You may not know how long each big task will take you, and you may feel overwhelmed just looking at the daunting tasks you face. Single tasking can help you focus on one key thing at a time.
But if you can break down a big task into smaller, more manageable sections, you can focus on one small task at a time, prioritizing appropriately. You may also feel more accomplished because you’re able to cross things off your to-do list quickly.
5. Get a Database for Asset Management
Another way to manage your time and increase productivity is by using a management tool like a software program. With several management software options, you can find one that matches your management style and your project specifics.
One option is database management software. You may have to keep track of your distributed energy resources and record new and used utility poles, equipment data, and much more. This can be a significant challenge for utility managers, but software can simplify and automate the recording process—saving you more time that you can give to other tasks.
6. Meet for a Purpose
Sometimes, meetings can be notorious for time-wasting. Everyone has to stop what they’re doing and come listen to something that could have been put in a short email.
If you’re trying to manage your time more effectively, put a 25-minute limit on the meetings you hold. This should challenge you to get straight to the purpose of the meeting and accomplish that purpose quickly. Also, encourage your team members to do the same, so the entire project can run faster.
7. Use a Calendar
To help your utility project run smoother, you should plan out each day on a calendar. Yes, using a calendar seems like the oldest time management tool in the book, but it works.
You can use a calendar to write out the big project steps that need to be completed that day, or you can use a calendar for your personal project do-to list. There are paper calendars and online calendars of all different formats, so you can play around with different options and find the one that works best for you!
8. Hire the Right Hauling Partner
One last way to manage your time is by hiring the right hauling partner. If you haul your utility poles or other materials yourself, you have to spend time organizing the equipment, finding operators, and planning out the route. With all this time going into transportation, you have little time left to consider the other aspects of your project.
Instead, a utility hauling partner can do all the transportation work for you, and you are free to arrange other project aspects. You can save even more time if you hire a self-unloading transportation company because you don’t have to spend hours getting equipment and operators and managing the unloading process.
What transportation company offers self-unloading services? Blackwood Resources does!
As a trusted utility hauler, Blackwood Resources had been serving the utility industry for over 5 years, meeting transportation and unloading needs across the United States.
We have specialized equipment with cranes to unload your materials off our truck beds quickly and safely. This equipment also enables us to transload your materials from rail cars. So, we can meet the supplies at the railway, load them in our trucks, transport them, and unload them at your worksite.
Our truck drivers will take the utmost care with your materials. As Blackwood Resource’s best asset, our truck drivers have a track record for safety and remain committed to keeping all equipment in good condition. They’re dedicated to providing you with exceptional customer service so you don’t have to worry about a single step in the transportation process.
We have hauled over 100,000 tons of utility supplies, so we can help with your utility project needs—hauling utility poles, pilings, pipes, transformers, or other heavy and awkward materials.
To start managing your time better, let Blackwood Resources handle all your utility hauling needs. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-676-8770 today!