As an account executive I often get asked, “How do you do it all?!” Okay…not really. But as my own hardest critic, I do evaluate my work and contemplate how I might be able to manage everything more efficiently.
Between client calls, staying informed on all projects, and receiving about one hundred emails a day, it can be all too easy for something to slip through the cracks. However, I’ve found at least five easy ways to make it all more manageable and a lot less crazy.
- Allocate your time. I use a Google calendar along with everyone else in the office. This calendar shows everyone when my meetings are. I plan on having 20-30 minutes before the meeting to prepare reports and follow-up on projects, and about 10 minutes after the meeting to send a follow-up so both the client as well as my teams and I all know the takeaways and action items while they’re still fresh in our minds. I also block out time for monthly reporting and forecasting for projects such as infographic design, press releases, and more.
- Plan projects. When you’re working on a project, you need to know all aspects that go into it. What is the budget? How much time does that give you to work on it? Who will need to be involved? When is the due date? Make sure you ask all those questions and also run the project by your teams and their calendars to ensure that you are giving a realistic goal. By knowing all this up front, it is easier to bid the client correctly and schedule a realistic due date for a project.
- Organize your materials. As I said above, I get over one hundred emails a day. They are all important. So how do I know which ones to pay immediate attention to, and which ones to ignore? For starters, I allocate time in the first part of the morning, in the mid-afternoon, and before I leave work to address emails.
- Communicate often. I can’t stress this one enough. Communication is important at every step of a project. Better communication with your teams can help ensure that projects are moving along, and can help you quickly address an issue long before the project due date rolls around. Communication with the client should be a scheduled event, that way the client feels they are always involved on the projects even before the deliverable. However, if you have an issue or a question comes up, it is important to let the client know ASAP so you can work with them to address it.
- Evaluate the process. Once you’ve completed the project, checked it for quality, and turned it over to the client, it’s good for you to go through and analyze every aspect of the project from start to finish. How did the process go? Did you bid correctly? Were due dates hit? How was the quality of the final product? Was the client pleased? Answering those questions can help you fill in gaps and fix future problems, and even help you create a better forecast for projects in the future.
Of course, there are more than five ways to ensure better project management. What are some tips and tricks of the trade that help you be more effective and efficient?