Herding the Cats and Keeping Your Sanity
|Thanks to Edward Sanchez for the large, friendly letters|
Ever had one of those days where you felt you needed to be doing three or more things at once? Of course you have. Everyone has.
I can promise that you didn’t go through that day thinking how wonderful it was that you had things to do to keep you active. It was probably chaotic, stressful, and incredibly exhausting.
Just for kicks, let’s say these things you had to take care of were a to do that was already late and needed to be wrapped up yesterday, a last minute task that fell out of the sky and onto your lap and needs to be dealt with ASAP, and a long term project you’ve spent months working towards and are nearly done with.
Now imagine for a moment (please literally try to capture this feeling) that rather than just three things you need to accomplish and work on today there are at least TWENTY.
Welcome to the world of a professional Account Manager!
You might read this and come to the conclusion that this article is going to turn out to be a sort of silly rant for better working conditions, the start of a strike, or some other subtle complaint disguised as advice, but trust me, it’s not any of the above. It’s quite the opposite in fact. Rather, this is about how it’s possible to not only manage large numbers of projects simultaneously, but to do so in an exceptionally efficient way.
If you’re new to directly managing or even just being involved with the large picture of EVERYTHING that is being worked on at any given moment within a company, it can seem extremely intimidating to see all that needs to be accomplished; each individual task with its own set of requirements, deadlines, potential issues, and challenges.
The keyword for success here is diligence. It takes an incredible amount of dedication to ensure that issues are dealt with, progress made, and innovations planned out in a practical way.
As an account manager, I have tools and systems that I’ve learned and been taught that help me to efficiently organize, plan, and distribute work. They give me the ability to work with low stress, a clear mind, and provide a real love for what I do.
But even with great resources like custom built software, magical pens, and advanced time tracking, there’s a certain point where none of those matter without the right people running them. After all…
A tool is only as good as its user.
This brings us back to diligence. The best way to keep large numbers of simultaneous projects from making you suffer a nervous breakdown is to have the experience, instinct, and competency to watch them all and make sure they get the attention that they need. As with most things, this is much easier said than done, but that’s what it takes.
When you have that diligent person keeping the ducks lined up and the cats herded it opens the door for others to do better work with less stress and more focus because they don’t constantly have to worry about the big picture of everything that will need to be finished next.
All of this organization and mental gymnastics ultimately leads to higher quality work and to happier people. Who doesn’t want that?
Have any questions or just want to talk? Feel free to post away in the comments section below!