I have been a project manager/portfolio manager for more than 10 years. At first, handing 1 project at one time, then several projects, and then more than a dozen projects at same time. Efficient is higher and higher with much more experience and knowledge. While more and more busy as takes in charge of more job and more challenge tasks at the same time.
The 1st thing I check/do every day is check my calendar. I have a agenda on daily base in One Note which integrate all tasks/meetings of the coming day/week/month. Calendar will update base on important/emergency of all activities of the coming day. For project management itself, 1st thing to check and take actions every day is progress on key issues/risks which relates to legal/SHE/business case/key stakeholders, 2nd thing is other things might affect critic path of schedule. Generally, a good agenda is key of execution nice planning and stakeholder engagement which remove surprise and protect successful deliver of projects.
There are all kinds of challenges during initiate and delivery a project. In my opinion, top challenge is in some organization, project managers not involved on justify process such as why this initiate is selected and why is achievable and attractable. The gate review process does not exist or not proceed correctly. He/she is just be assigned to deliver the project senior leaders or committee already made decision. Unfortunately, if the decision is not right. Then the project manager will face most challenge time, as the one holds the last bar in the relay, he/she will be complaint for the project cannot delivery successfully or cannot realize benefits as expected. In my opinion, this situation cannot be fixed in short time as it is organization governance issue. But as a project manager, you can still get supporting from senior leaders or PMO to try to be involved in early stage of initiatives, honest feedback your worry and professional feedback of new project as early as possible, manage stakeholder's expectations and keep all record to protect yourself. And finally, trying to improve maturity of project management of organization step by step.
When I was graduated 12 years ago as a master on engineering. I started my career on project management. I was joined a local pharmaceutical company and helps on building new sites. After complete building of 2 new factories in 4 years. I was feel I have some experience and confident on how to build a new site. Also I was try to wrap up my experience and knowledge on project management and wanted to figure out how to move ahead. After a lot of study and search on line and I was first time know PMI and also the certificate PMP. Immediately, I made decision on learning and certificate for PMP. That's was in year 2010. The class was hold on weekend in city of Guangzhou which is around 200 km away from where I worked. I rent a apartment near the training school and joined the training and testing every weekend. Finally be certified as PMP in December 4th, 2010. The PMP certificate brings me a lot for benefits: good system of project management knowledge, confident of self, and a double salary work in the coming year. From the year 2017, after have project/program/portfolio experience of over 10 years, I started working on other certificates such as PgMP, PBA, ACP, PfMP, RMP, SP, CAPM. And finally, I am the 2nd one in mainland of China get all the 8 certificates from PMI. All these certificates and knowledge backup improves me to upgrade my experience and knowledge which helps to improve my performance and competence. Also, helps a lot on setting up connections with outstanding peers and seniors in the world. It is great for the organize such as PMI makes all these happen. Let the people working on projects all over the world being connected and sharing experience with each other. And for all the knowledge and certificates helps us to improve our competence for projects/program/portfolio management.