New Year’s resolutions: project managers share theirs

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We’re in the first month of a New Year: it’s time to reflect on what you’ve achieved in the previous year and make plans for this one. Successful professionals put time aside in January for self-reflection and forward planning – although it’s easy to write-off New Year’s resolutions, they can be a beneficial way to start the year.

Project asked some project managers what New Year’s resolutions they were setting for themselves.

Find the fun at work

There is a temptation every new year to make grand, overarching resolutions, which one suspects will be unachievable or at least open to compromise. Sometimes, I have tried to combat this by setting SMART (specific, measurable, acceptable, realistic and time-bound) objectives, with mixed success. I did manage to run the half-marathons I set out to do – but I can’t say I’m actually much fitter! This year, I thought I would aim to do something broader and harder to quantify: I want to focus on finding fun in my work. Instead of beating myself up about deadlines, deliverables and problems that have not yet occurred, I will focus on what I do achieve and tell myself more often: "You did well".

Edmund Hutton, Project manager, Aecom

Become Chartered

I’m normally not one for setting new year’s resolutions, because there is often no process put in place to help you track, deliver or evaluate your progress. Often you can feel as if you have failed to achieve your elusive target. That’s why, this year, I’m going to take a project management approach to new year’s resolutions. I’m planning to select the things I want to accomplish based on their importance to my personal development over the next two to three years. As I want to achieve chartered status, I have started to review my APM competence profile and CPD log to allow me to effectively select personal development areas. The activities I need to carry out will be work streams in my larger project, and the project success will be achieving chartered status.

Clint Grabs, Programme manager, Network Rail

Switch off the tech – and go running

My new year’s resolutions focus on the improvement of my mental and physical health. My first resolution is an evening tech ban. Studies show that using devices late at night can have a negative impact on sleep, so affecting concentration, creativity and productivity. I’ve set myself the challenge to switch off my phone and put my laptop away at least an hour before bed. Second is running club. I’m often guilty of eating lunch at my desk. To break this bad habit, I’m setting up a running club at work using a Yammer group for colleagues to share stories and achievements of their runs. Exercise is essential to helping manage life’s stresses, and I hope this resolution helps not only me, but the wider team, by providing a healthy way to improve physical and mental wellbeing through a fun, social platform while enhancing productivity.

Hayley Magorian, Principal sponsor, HS2

Kill the meetings

My 2020 resolution is to be more effective with my time spent in meetings. I want to: (1) spend less time in meetings by excusing myself from meetings that I cannot contribute to or that I gain no benefit from, and (2) be more efficient by taking notes digitally – no more paper and pen!

Daniel Bradley, Project engineer, Shell

Beautiful project reporting

Project reporting has become so standardised that there is little noticeable difference between sectors, PMO teams and project individuals. However, every so often, I encounter project updates presented in powerful, visual ways. This turns the mundane into a masterpiece. At the receiving end, if done right, it stops you in your tracks. My aim for 2020 is to explore how organisations present project and business data. If this is perfectly executed, project stakeholders are better engaged and better informed. This is an area of significant under-recognition in our industry. I am looking to resolve this. And, of course, to share my findings.

For 2020, I’m also going to read one book a week to deepen and expand my knowledge of leadership, business management, financial disciplines and project management. I find at times that there is a desire for professionals to master only one area, rather than many – this is a mindset I’ve never aligned to.

Sebastian Harris, Regional head of security, networks and operations delivery, NCC Group

Set weekly challenges

My resolution for 2020 is to set myself a challenge to do something every week at work that I would usually avoid, find uncomfortable or just pass on. This means things like accepting invitations to speak at community events or in schools about what I do. Also, I intend to take on responsibility with the various committees that I sit on and actually achieve those things.

Annie Maingard, EU project manager, University of Kent

Do you have any new year’s resolutions? Let us know what they are.

This article first appeared in Winter 2019 of Project journal, a free publication for APM Members. Download the digital issue now (🔒).

We would like to know what skills you are looking to develop for the future, just one or two tips no more than 150 words. This can include recommendations for apps or other tools that you find helpful. Please email emma.devita@thinkpublishing.co.uk.
Image: oatawa/Shutterstock.com

Emma De Vita

Posted by Emma De Vita on 2nd Jan 2020

About the Author

Emma De Vita is editor of Project, the official journal of the APM that’s available (free!) to all members.

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