Perpetually behind

I spent a good portion of my day today simply cleaning out my email inbox at work. I say ‘cleaning out’ with a qualifier… the inbox is still full, but I’ve read through all of my emails and I’ve gotten everything sorted out and noted down as to what needs to get done which has still been hanging over my head.

It’s kind of insane, really. Hours have been spent already on just trying to organize all of the influx of demands for this job. It’s not a complaint, it’s just an observation. Project management and Account management at the same time makes for a rather unique problem. Yes man account manager and No man project manager share a single set of resources. Instead of spending my day charting out work breakdown solutions, generating estimates, and managing the process of the projects, I’m running around putting out hundreds of tiny fires that hit in waves.

There’s times I just don’t want to even answer the phone, except for the billable hours that brings.

Anyway, I feel like I’m playing Super Mario Bros. 2 and I’m on that level where you can’t stand still. You jump to one platform and it immediately starts to sink, so you have to jump to the other. I question my ability to provide decent customer service when I’m running around like this.

And yet.

And yet that’s precisely why I spend hours of my day organizing my email and generating task lists. I know as a project manager that if I can just get a tiny bit ahead, I can start to pull up out of the day to day view and start taking on the longer range planning that is my stock in trade. It’s a scramble to get on top of the heap, and a scramble to get things under control. But I finally see project management work on the horizon. It just took 6 weeks to wade through the crap to get there.

I know it feels like a waste of billable time, but I spend the full allotment of my General Admin time every day, usually. I have to,  just in order to list out the tasks that need to get done, and maybe if I’m lucky prioritize by a manner besides simply who called most recently complaining the loudest.

Maybe I’ll get there. There’s a lot of proces to follow, white paper trails and checklists and check boxes. Grumble as I might, they’re actually the way to get out of the muck. I know this. I just resist it, really. Boxes, boxes, boxes, and flowcharts, project plans, gantt charts, and scheduling resources. Tis a necessary evil to be able to continue working at such a breakneck pace and to maintain some level of efficiency.

And yet, all I really want to do is land a job where the American ideal of every last productive ounce of blood, sweat, and tears are not yanked from me daily. Where I don’t have to track my billable hours down to every 15 minutes. Where I can not feel guilty about the time I take to go to the bathroom.

Someday. Just keep on scheduling until eventually I ‘get it’ and the system becomes cyclical and maintenance based instead of this vast learning curve.

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