Project & time Management

Project & time management

Plan projects and tasks, including time, workload, and resources. Develop and prioritize strategic and tactical goals. Persevere and deal with competing pressures.


Jump to section: Understanding Project & Time Management | Cultivating Project & Time Management | Quick Guide to Being a Successful Project ManagerQuick Guide to Effective Time Management | Taking Action | Resources | References


Understanding Project & Time Management

A project is a distinct, temporary endeavour undertaken to attain planned goals. [1] Project management is the application of methods, knowledge, skills, and tools to achieve the project goals, within a predetermined time frame and set budgets. [2] Project management includes managing resources (personnel, budgets), tasks, and risks. Time management is the process of consciously planning and exerting the control of time spent on specific tasks in order to increase effectiveness, efficiency, and thus production. [3] Time management is therefore key for the success of a project. 


Why does it matter?

Employers in various sectors often seek candidates with attributes related to project and time management, such as organizational skills, multitasking, budgeting abilities, and the ability to prioritize and meet deadlines. [4] Mastering these skills has a direct impact on career success and work-life balance, as well as resolving problems and conflicts in order to keep a project on track. [5] Project management skills are considered prerequisites to a leader’s success. In fact, management skills often overlap with leadership skills, as both involve problem solving, decision making, planning, delegation, communication, and time management. [6] 

Time management skills are not only important in the workplace, but they are also necessary during your studies, and to help you manage your personal commitments and interests. From a psychological perspective, efficient time use has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. [7] 


Cultivating Project & Time Management

According to top North American employers, project and time management skills are areas that are lacking in newly hired graduates. [8] Alongside the project management experience you are gaining as a graduate researcher, McGill offers a variety of professional development programs to help you develop project and time management skills (see “Taking Action” section for suggestions).

However, outside the scope of these programs, employers stress the importance of developing project management skills in an experiential context. [9] Although you may have supervised someone, applied for funding, and managed your research projects during your studies, employers may require experience outside of academic research (e.g., volunteer at an organization or paid position) or certifications. Seeking co-curricular activities and experiences on- and off-campus will help develop and demonstrate these particular management skills. Consider planning an event or coordinating finances and budgets as part of a student committee, club, or professional association.


Quick Guide to Being a Successful Project Manager [10]

  1. Have a long-term strategic vision of your project and set goals and milestones accordingly
  2. Display forward thinking and anticipate dealing with the unexpected
  3. Develop troubleshooting strategies if your project gets sidetracked
  4. Establish your own personalized time management system: prioritize tasks, switch focus between projects/tasks to deliver on schedule, and balance constraints (cost, scope, time) [11] 
  5. Conduct a thorough risk analysis and management for yourself, your team and others involved
  6. Assess your current workload and commitments before taking on new projects


Quick Guide to Effective Time Management [12]

  1. Be self-aware, identify your most and least effective habits and ways of working
  2. Structure your time by allocating adequate periods for activities and breaks
  3. Set goals, make task lists, and prioritize following the SMART criteria [13] 
  4. Experiment with different digital or paper planning tools (e.g., Outlook or Google Calendar, kanban boards, productivity apps, bullet point to-do lists, paper agenda)
  5. Use strategies to overcome procrastination; consult this link for some suggestions


Taking Action







Groups & Associations

Literature on Time Management

Literature on Project Management



As a McGill student, your participation in activities such as training workshops and volunteering are tracked on your Co-Curricular Record (CCR)! Having your co-curricular activities listed in one document can help you revise your CV or cover letter, prepare for interviews, and explore career options. Learn how to leverage this important document through myInvolvement, and make your training count!
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