Sitting in a Project and Financial Management training from 9 am to 5pm for about a week sounded like a long, long week-and of course it was. While it seemed long, the benefits were worth the while and I believe will have a lasting impact. For me, this training wasn’t just about developing meaningful projects and how to best implement them, I felt it was also about learning meaningful skills that can help me as an individual be successful in my everyday life.
Here are 3 of the skills I took away I feel will help me excel as a person, a leader or as a manager of a project:
Whether I want to start my own organization or business, whether I want to run a half marathon, or want to be a farmer, or be a stay home mom, or be a sports/singing/acting star, the question is, why do I want to do it? I learnt that if I can be as clear as possible in knowing why I want to do something, I am more likely to achieve it or at least be on my way to achieving it. Having a clear purpose also enables me to stay focused and not give up should times get hard.
Take time to Plan
Despite having a clear purpose, often than not I tend to dive into doing things without proper planning. At the end of the day, I am not able to achieve my purpose, or if I do, I may end up having wasted either more resources or more time than I should have if I had taken a bit of time to plan. I’m thinking of those times when I don’t plan ahead for my week/day; I wake up in the morning not knowing what to wear, so I take forever to find something (even when all clothes are clean), thereby being late for work, then I find myself spending more money to feed myself in the day, even when I have food at home, some of which ends up being scientific experimentation (aka getting rotten).
Now think of the same situation but different in that, the night before, I took some 30 minutes or so to plan; check weather for the following day and decide what to wear, create my to-do-list for the day, plan my lunch and snacks as necessary, etc. Wouldn’t this save me time, energy, money, resources, and even emotional exhaustion? Point is, if we are to do anything efficiently in our career or personal lives, taking time to plan is very important and helps us be effective in the way we use our time and other resources; which brings me to my last point, resource allocation.
I know this terminology sounds more technical, but it is basically about priorities; whether in one’s day to day life or in a business, or organization, and these priorities differ based on the mission/purpose. For example if my plan is to start my own business, then I may want to save or invest money than spend it on just shopping or on expensive activities. The idea is, if I am clear about what I want and why, and have a clear plan on how to achieve that purpose, then I am more likely to allocate my time, money and any other resources appropriately in order to achieve my purpose effectively and efficiently.
Bottom line is, this training on Project and Financial Management wasn’t just about projects at work or in organizations, it was about life management; about having a clear purpose with your life, planning for it and finding ways of allocating your resources (big or small) accordingly, and where resources are limited, thinking of creative ways to find the resources; skills or collaborating with others in order to meet your purpose. Leo Tolstoy once said, ‘everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself’. Changing oneself is the hardest thing, but if you can master that, you can master managing any projects at work or anywhere else. So why don’t you start with yourself-‘be the leader (Project Manager) you want to see in your organization or your country’.