When most people think of project management, they think of a team led by someone with the skills and know-how necessary to coordinate and meet milestones against success criteria within a specific timeframe. While project management in the corporate world involves factors like budget, quality, work-hour constraints, and more, the tenets of project management can be applied in virtually any context where there’s a task or project that needs to get done. While most would square the concept of project management as a component of managing a business, the skills and tools involved can be taken piecemeal – outside of the business world – and strategically leveraged to simplify you and your family’s personal lives.
To some, running your life like a project manager might seem daunting and stressful – who in their right mind would want to blur the lines between work and leisure, and bring any of the stress they encounter in the work environment into their personal lives? Thankfully, this outlook misses the point entirely. Let me explain further:
You’ve been wanting to renovate your kitchen and have put enough money away to make it happen. You might tentatively have a date in your head marking when you’d like it to be complete – maybe you’ve taken time off from work, or are hosting a party with your friends sometime in the future and want to be able to show off your hard work.
At some point, you finally begin working on it, and in the process of renovation you find several areas of your kitchen need work – unfortunately, you hadn’t anticipated any of them. Maybe your kitchen plumbing needs to be replaced as it no longer meets code requirements, or perhaps you need to move a few electrical outlets to accommodate your remodel and have to hire out. A project you thought you could undertake yourself might now involve several other workers, a contractor, maybe even one (or several) permits from your city.
Regardless of what the nuisance is, you’re thinking to yourself:
I’m never going to be able to get this done in time! How did all of this go over my head? And how did it get so expensive?!
In one study, researchers found that the average mean cost of renovating one’s kitchen more than doubled the homeowner’s original estimates – the mean cost to renovate was 2.11 times what the average homeowner had expected.
In the business world, too much optimism can translate into underestimated time, costs, and vulnerability to being blindsided by the unknown. Projects in your personal life are no different.
In part 2 of this series, we’ll talk about how to stay on top of our personal goals and projects.