Some things never change. In 2014 Velociteach’s EVP, Bill Yates, guided us on how to avoid getting burned out as a project manager and the importance of avoiding becoming burned out; the importance of getting away and taking a break. This message still reigns true today.A project manager’s day to day life is very familiar with the go, go, go schedule. Most project managers will find themselves not being able to leave their desk for lunch much less take a vacation or allow themselves time to get away for the weekend. Although commitment to the project is necessary, not allowing oneself to step away can actually be harmful to both the project manager and the project.
Study after study has shown that taking breaks, even just a five minute break, can increase concentration and productivity. With such a demand for attentiveness and a call for attention to detail, it is imperative for project managers to take a step back and take a break in order to retain clarity. However, with fires seemingly popping up around every corner, a project manager may find it very difficult to just up and leave early on Friday and head to the mountains for the weekend.
The key to this predicament goes back to the Knowledge Area of Schedule Management. As important as it is to create a schedule and manage that schedule for your project, it is just as important to create a parallel personal schedule with your project to insure work life balance. Any easy way to do this is create Disciplined Milestones.
Every time the project reaches a major milestone, have a break scheduled for that weekend. No checking email, no answering work calls. Unplug, spend time with the family, take the project out of your mind and put it away for the weekend. These are called Disciplined Milestones because this will take some major discipline to let yourself disconnect. By doing so, the feeling of being refreshed and a sense of clarity will be present when you step back into the office Monday morning, ready to keep the project productively moving forward.
To learn more on how to implement a true work-life-balance, dive in with Neal Whitten and his course, Achieving the Elusive Work-Life-Balance.