Project Management for Your Life

Life-project-management

 

Do you ever feel that you are on top of your game at work and have everything organized but once you come home things are slipping through the cracks?

 

Don’t worry, this stuff happens to the best of us. After all, we are all humans, and project management makes up for a portion.

 

Perhaps, it may be time to reevaluate the way you are running your life? If you can be productive and run in high gear at work it’s not impossible to carry it on at home.

 

A good way to get the most out of your work at home is to follow suit with what is working for you in the workplace.

 

One way to be productive and ahead of your game is to adopt project management techniques to project manage your life.

 

After all, what is life but a string of projects?

 

So how would you project manage your life?

 

In this article, we will go over some of the basic project management principles and tools that you can adapt to use in your daily home life to make your life more organized and productive just like you are at home.

 

So, let’s get to it!

 

What is Project Management?

 

what-is-project-management

 

Before you can start the project managing your life, you need to understand is its most basic form what project management is.

 

Firstly, a “project” is defined by the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide as “A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique… result.”

 

Project management has been defined by the same Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide. The definition provided is, “Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, and techniques to execute projects effectively and efficiently. It’s a strategic competency for organizations, enabling them to tie project results to business goals- and thus, better compete in their markets.

 

A project lifecycle often follows five distinct processes. These processes include:

  • The Initiation Phase
  • The Planning Phase
  • The Execution Phase
  • The Monitoring and Controlling Phase
  • And the Project Close

 

Apart from these five project lifecycle processes, project management also involves ten project management knowledge areas.

 

These project management knowledge areas include:

 

These ten knowledge areas are applied throughout the project lifecycle in the five project processes mentioned above.

 

Keep in mind that when you will be using project management for your life you do not have to be as strict as you would otherwise if you were following project management methodology for an official project you are working on.

 

After all, project management for your life is to simplify things rather than make them more stressful and difficult with unnecessary rules and procedures you have to follow.

 

The Five Project Management Processes

 

As mentioned above, there are five project management processes within the project management lifecycle. These processes are the initiation of a project, the planning of the project, the execution of the project, monitoring, and control of the execution, and finally the project close.

 

Whenever you take up a project in your personal life you follow the same processes.

 

Projects that you may undertake in your personal life could include pretty much anything. For example, maybe you need to organize a wedding or birthday party or any other event. You could be planning a trip or renovating your house. You could even be planning to make a big move.

 

Project management for your life however isn’t just about the big projects. You could use these project lifecycle processes for your daily tasks as well.

 

1. Project Initiation

 

initiate-a-project

 

Before you begin with any project, whether it be a big project like moving house or simply the daily tasks and activities you have to get done, you need to know what you are doing before you begin.

 

This is where project initiation comes in.

 

Project initiation is the aim or goal you need to achieve and anything you need to get sorted before you can start with planning your project.

 

For example, if we consider the project of finding a new house, you need to know what it is you are looking for and why. This is what you will decide before you even start planning to look at houses. You won’t just start looking at houses without knowing why you are looking at them or what you are after.

 

With project management for your daily activities, you need to be aware of what it is you are trying to organize. Are you organizing your daily tasks, weekly tasks, or making a monthly roaster?

 

2. Project Planning

 

plan-a-project

 

As with anything in life, planning simplifies and streamlines the entire process. This is similarly true for any project you work on.

 

Planning can be done any way you want but should incorporate making all the decisions that will make your process simpler and outcome easier to achieve.

 

For example, when looking for a new house you should plan what your requirements are, where you are planning to search for houses, and how many houses you will look at.

 

You may also want to include what your budget is and what your schedule is. These two come under the ten knowledge areas discussed above. We will talk about some of these areas below and how you can incorporate them into your project management for your life.

 

If we consider your daily tasks you can plan which tasks you need to get through and how you will manage them. These tasks could be prepping for dinner, taking your kids to their activities, doing laundry, cleaning the house, and so on.

 

Knowing exactly what needs to get done and how you will accomplish it makes the task that is much easier to manage. It also allows you to avoid being overworked. Since you will know exactly what is on your agenda you can make informed decisions on what other work to take on and thus will avoid getting overwhelmed.

 

Remember, it is always a good idea to also plan your downtime and when you can relax so that you are fresh for the next set of projects.

 

3. Project Execution

 

Project Execution is exactly what it sounds like and is work on the actual project.

 

This will include looking for your new house or doing the tasks and chores you put on your planning.

 

4. Project Monitoring and Control

 

monitor-a-project

 

Project Monitoring and Control is something that often people do not put as part of their daily lives. However, this phase of the project lifecycle can help to get you to your successful project completion.

 

With project monitoring and control you evaluate how your project execution is going. You may find that your plan was not ideal and can use some tweaks. With this phase, you ensure that your project will be completed a success since you identify any issues you are facing.

 

For example, in your project hunt for the new house, you may find that the area you are looking at is too expensive for your budget or that you missed out on a requirement for your new home that you now feel is imperative.

 

Rather than the whole house hunting being a failure, you can re-evaluate and get to implement what you have learned so far.

 

Maybe you can find that there is a little bit of legroom in the budget you created, or you can inform your realtor that you are willing to look a little outside the radius you initially highlighted. You can also indicate to your realtor that there is another feature that you would love to see in the next couple of houses he or she shows you.

 

For your daily routine, you may have found that you have stretched yourself too thin. It is here that you could ask for help or rearrange certain items on your to-do list to be done on a day you are less busy.

 

5. Project Close

 

Once all this evaluation, monitoring, and amendments are done it is your project’s close.

 

You have found the perfect home for you and your family and it is time for the next project: the move.

 

If you are using project management for your day-to-day activities you are now ready to take a break before you start the process again tomorrow.

 

Knowledge Areas for Project Managers

 

knowledge-areas-for-project-managers

 

For project management in your personal life, you may feel that the ten project management knowledge areas are not all relevant.

 

However, there are certain knowledge areas you can incorporate into your project management for your life to make the planning and execution of your next project all the easier.

 

Some of these knowledge areas that will be simple to incorporate include:

 

With every project, you work on, whether it be a major undertaking or just your routine tasks these four knowledge areas can help you reach success.

 

For every project, you undertake you need to know what is within scope. This is something that you can adapt to your daily life. What do you feel is within scope for you? What is of priority? Whether it be for a project you are working on or your life in general.

 

Do you want to incorporate those things into your life that will help you prioritize your family, work, and friends?

 

When it comes to projects like planning an event, what are your obligations to fulfill, and what will be going outside of the realm of scope for that project?

 

Apart from scope management, for every project or chores that you plan you need to keep within a budget and a schedule. This is where cost management and time management come in.

 

These two are the most basic project management knowledge areas that can easily be incorporated into your daily life as some form of cost and time management you are probably doing anyway.

 

For any event that you are organizing, you have a schedule, you need to follow before the event happens as well as a budget you need to stick to.

 

Even in your daily life for chores around the houses, you cannot take an indefinite amount of time completing daily tasks or spend an uncalculated amount of money to do groceries or other tasks done.

 

Finally, you can use resource management in project management for your life when you need extra help.

 

When organizing an event, the people you ask to help or employ to get things done come under resource management.

 

If, as we mentioned above when monitoring and evaluating the execution of your daily tasks you find you have bitten off more than you can chew, taking the help of friends or family can come under resource management.

 

Project Management Tools and Techniques

 

Apart from project management methodology, you can also incorporate project management into your life through project management tools and techniques.

 

Things such as visual boards can help you manage the flow of your work. One such visual board is the Kanban board which is a popular technique used in project management.

 

Kanban boards help you stay on top of all the work you have to get done. The board keeps things flowing while also ensuring that you focus on the right thing when it needs to get done.

 

Read more about Kanban methodology and boards here.

 

Another technique you can incorporate is Family meetings. Family meetings or “retrospectives” in the project management world are a great way to cover the most important things with your family.

 

Such meetings let you check in on your family and help plan the week to come and get updates on tasks that need to be complete.

 

Another good project management tool that many people use daily anyway is to-do lists. To-do lists are a great way to keep organized but also help you plan what needs to get done and by when.

 

Finally, you can also incorporate project management software into your life to keep all these tools in one place and help that organization that we are talking about. Why not check out these best project management tools and consider which one could work for you.

 


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