By Amanda Winstead
As a project manager, you’re used to getting results. In your career, you’ve cultivated a unique ability to plan ahead, organize, strategize, and lead. You excel in helping your team come together to achieve the extraordinary.
What you may not realize, though, is that those same skills you use to drive performance excellence in your team can also help you achieve excellence in your everyday life. This article examines the many ways that project management skills can be used to great benefit outside of the office.
Organizing for a Long-distance Move
A career in project management necessitates a diverse skill set, engaging you in a wide variety of tasks from scheduling to document management to logistics planning.
This same constellation of skills can also be supremely beneficial when you’re making a major life change, such as planning a long-distance move. After all, packing up your life and family and shifting them across hundreds or even thousands of miles is no mean feat.
The good news, though, is that you don’t have to let the process overwhelm you. Rather, you can capitalize on the talents you already possess and deploy so effectively every day at work.
For instance, when you’re planning a long-distance move, one of the first and most important things you can do is organize and secure your important documents. Digitizing your important papers can save space and reduce the risk of them being lost or stolen. Above all, it can also ensure you always have access to the materials in the cloud or on your hard drive. And, you don’t have to worry about learning a new technology because the odds are pretty great that this is something you already do frequently at work.
Coordinating Complex Medical Care
If the last three years have taught us anything, it’s how precious and fragile our health really is. And that means that there are few things more important than ensuring consistent, high-quality medical care for ourselves and for the people we love.
That’s not always an easy process, however — particularly when you or your loved one has complex needs, such as a chronic illness, comorbidities, or a severe injury. Again, though, those critical project management skills can save the day and, perhaps, even a life.
One of the most important skills you must master as a project manager is the ability to coordinate with others to get things done. This includes understanding what kinds of resources and support individual team members might need in order to play an effective role in moving the team toward its goal.
The need is very much the same when it comes to coordinating with a medical team in order to optimize care. You may use your project management skills, for example, to identify and provide the information a physician may need in diagnosing or treating a concern, such as keeping a record of symptoms.
Likewise, you might use your talents in leadership and collaboration to create or expand the healthcare team. This would likely require you to identify who may need to be brought on board to increase the overall quality of care — and who may need to be released.
This calls on you to leverage other critical management skills: the ability to build relationships, inspire people to work together, and make and act on difficult decisions when necessary.
Communication Is Key
There is perhaps no project management skill more important than communication. And this, ultimately, depends not just on the ability to express oneself clearly, conscientiously, and effectively but also to listen with intention and empathy.
As every good project manager knows, strong communication is never unidirectional. It is always a matter of give-and-take collaboration and negotiation. And that is a talent that is needed across all domains of daily life. It informs our ability to work well with others, from our healthcare providers to our children’s teachers to our landlord to our hairstylists.
Good communication and the soft skills that go along with it also shape our interpersonal relationships. Unless we learn to make ourselves heard and to hear those we love in return, we can never hope to build healthy, happy, and long-lasting relationships with friends and family. Being a project manager gives you a definitive leg up, as you capitalize on your unique professional talents to find harmony, mutual understanding, and joy in your relationships.
Project managers wear many hats while on the job. To succeed, they must cultivate and routinely draw on a wide range of hard and soft skills. However, the particular aptitudes every effective project manager must possess can also spell success in everyday life.
From planning and organization to collaboration and communication, project management skills can help you prevail when it matters most. You can draw on your skills, for example, to build strong relationships, coordinate complex medical care, and even make a major life change, such as a long-distance move, look easy.