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Project Management Issues

Hello all,
I am an account Manager for a very large commercial electrical, network and industrial contractor.
I am running into some problems with managing all I have going on. My job consist of building new relationships while trying to maintain ongoing customers along with the projects that they may have going.
I don't find enough time in the day to do all this efficiently or my methods are not efficient. I have been in sales for over ten years but only in my current position for two years. I have a multi million dollar quota to meet on top of everything else. I am questioning weather I stay too involved after a project starts, but I believe that my customers deserve that with the size of investments and importance of the projects we completing for them.
Seems like the other salesmen I work with play a lot of golf and have no problem meeting their even higher quotas.
Can anyone give me suggestions. I spend my whole day running from appointment to appointment and returning 40 to fifty calls and emails in between and things still fall through the cracks.
please help if you can. - by HOG Fan
Greetings Hogfan:

I suspect the reason your co-workers are playing a lot of golf is because they have created 'systems' to help them track all their on-going projects.

When I was a young man I worked as new home project manager. The person who had the job before me was fired for being unable to take care of the various stages of construction of 25 homes. Managing the construction of 25 homes all at one time, all the various stages each is in, the scheduling and supervision of sub-contractors, bringing the job to a close on time, is a monumental task, believe me.

They only way I could do this was to create a master planning board. I bought a huge calendar that showed each day for the month. I hung it in my office and spent the time to track each job by writing down the necessary information into each day slot, which allowed me to simply look at the planning board and tell exactly what stage of construction each house was in.

I would write down the stages and tasks that had to be done into the slots for the next 3-4 weeks. I did this in pencil because the sub-contractors did not always finish their individual jobs on time, and that allowed me to make changes when necessary and inform my boss and the home buyer.

Having this master planning board really helped me to organize and schedule ahead of time all the necessary work that had to be done, and when.

In addition to my planning and scheduling and supervision duties I had to do code inspections 5-10 times per week. Instead of physically taking the time for this I spent my own money and hired an inspector to take care of this for me. It freed me up to concentrate on the planning of my 25 homes (and allowed me to play golf if I wanted). It usually cost me $50-$75 per week for this inspector, but it was well worth it.

Maybe you could create some type of master planning board Hogfan? Try brainstorming and see if you can create some 'systems' related to your job requirements that will help you become more organized and efficient with your time. Make a time plan for your appointments, meetings, and phone calls, and don't waver from these plans.

Don't try and handle too many different things all at once. Before you leave work for the day write down what you must do tomorrow and break these tasks down due to their importance and number them according to what must absolutely done first, second, third, etc. When you get to work the next day attack the number 1 first and complete it, knock out number 2 next. Go on down the line during your workday, cross off what you completed, and whatever doesn't get done that day put it on the next day's list (with another number according to importance). Always make your next day's list before you go home at night.

Try planning your entire week out ahead of you. This will take some stress off you because you will have a written plan and you can 'see' everything you must do. When it's written down and organized it doesn't look so intimidating. If you just try and 'wing it' each day you become overwhelmed and stressed and you won't be operating at your maximum efficiency.

...Coach Doug - by Dougd55