Work projects really help us grow in our careers, especially when you’re first starting out. I know that many of the skills I rely on for my role — like prioritization, or managing deadlines — continue to be honed because of the projects I get to work on at my org.
So if these skills make us better at our jobs, why not adopt them when we’re off the clock too?
Here are 10 project management skills that can help us to see results – both within and beyond the office.
10 Project Management Skills To Apply To Your Personal Life
1. Start envisioning.
What do you want your life to look like? The same way we brainstorm our desired outcomes for a project, we should spend as much time thinking through our desired personal outcomes.
2. Set deadlines.
A dream becomes a plan once you set a timeline to it! Yes, life hardly goes according to plan, but we still need to set targets for the things we want to accomplish. That’s how you get closer to meeting those lofty goals.
3. Anticipate challenges.
I’m sure you’ve had your share of curve balls while in the weeds of a project. Life has even curvier curve balls, but that doesn’t mean there are things we shouldn’t plan for. Budgeting, healthy eating & maintaining an active lifestyle are some ways we can begin anticipating those challenges (like unexpected bills and changes in our health or well being).
4. Juggle priorities.
Projects can have many priorities from multiple stakeholders. The same is true outside of the office; we all have personal priorities that affect various people in our lives. This often means we can’t just focus on one thing at a time; we have to figure out ways to make progress on all fronts, even if it requires shifting focus at the right moments.
5. Manage expectations.
You may have a spouse, parent or other loved one relying on you for something these days. And while we do our best, we will find ourselves in situations that make it difficult to deliver on those expectations. Where possible, communicate that! You’ll feel so much better about whatever’s going on, and it will help avoid any hurt feelings or miscommunications.
6. Check in with yourself periodically.
A project’s vision can change over time, and sometimes that’s necessary for its success. The same way you check in with your team to make sure that everyone’s on the same page, you’ll want to check in with yourself. How have your goals changed? Are you working towards the same end, or are you stuck?
7. Pivot when necessary.
When projects don’t go according to plan, we change course. Life requires that same flexibility. If you’re trying something to reach your goals and find that it’s not working, get cooking on plans B, C and D.
8. Find tools that make your life easier.
With the internet these days, a project manager can find tons of tools to help them stay organized. Our personal lives can benefit from the same type of introspection! Identify apps and routines that lend to your lifestyle and help you feel more productive & relaxed!
9. Charge forward when things are up in the air.
Have you ever had a moment of uncertainty or indecision during a project, that not-knowing of where things stood and how best to move forward? It’s a state of mind that will trap you like quicksand, unless you decide to push past it.
Having the confidence to charge forward through the unknown is key to personal and professional success.
10. Seek input from others.
Even if you prefer solo work over team collaboration, your creativity can function in a vacuum when you refuse to consider the input of others. We shouldn’t let others dictate our lives, but we should also recognize those moments when an outside perspective can open our eyes to something new.
For some of us, organizing at work comes more easily than organizing in life. Let’s do more to bring that professional hustle & know-how into our personal lives.