Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Project Manage Your Life" Presentation at STC Meeting

As promised in my tweet last week, here is a summary of the presentation "Project Manage Your Life" by Anita Dhir that I attended at the Society for Technical Communications' meeting (New York Chapter) last Thursday.

Ms. Dhir started with the phases in managing any project: proposal - planning - implementation - closing down. When managing professional projects, managers and/or participants sign off on each phase before moving on. In one's personal life, such sign-off may involve soliciting the help of family or friends or outlining specific tasks for the following phase. The projects a person undertakes in his/her private sphere should align with that person's life goals, whatever form they may take. Just as in professional circumstances, life goals should also be SMART: specific - measurable - applicable - realistic - time-bound.

Another aspect of successfully managing one's life is good communication, which includes visual aspects, such as clothing, as well as the tone of conversations. It takes only 7 seconds to make a first impression, but 21 repeats to change that impression. This statistic shows how important it is to make a good first impression.

In addition, today many families, as well as work teams, are dispersed geographically. This means that important visual clues in communication, such as body language, are frequently missing when we speak with/write to family members or friends who are located far away. Photos and videos can help bridge that visual gap, but the tone of any communication must be controlled even more carefully, since it cannot be counterbalanced by visual clues.

Finally, project managing one's life helps to better allocate one's time, so that activities support achievement of one's life goals. After all, time is the only absolutely non-renewable resource, Ms. Dhir emphasized. Once it has elapsed, it can never be brought back.

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