Imagine this; taking a flight to Mwanza to deliver a presentation to the management team of Mwanza Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Authority (MWAUWASA), whilst there coordinating and preparing content for the Sanitation and Hygiene section under the Ministry of Water (MoW) that you are supposed to deliver the next day – Catch the last flight from Mwanza, sleep in a hotel nearby the airport so you can take the first flight to Dodoma to facilitate a team retreat. As you are wrapping up in Dodoma and though you will have time to work on a report for a client in the development sector, you are engaged in another assignment in Dar es salaam that will need you to do moderate a launch event that brings stakeholders that are supporting the digitization effort of the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS). 3 Days, 3 Cities, 4 Clients:
Now stop Imagining; most times, this is our life at Empower, and we call it #OctoLife. Octo from Octopus; the ability to juggle and manage different projects at once and deliver the same values (Service Excellence, Devotional to Results & Connection and Oneness) in each touchpoint. Working in our department (Advisory), I have a unique opportunity to be in this position at least twice or thrice each quarter.
One will ask, how do you do it? Well! In honesty, I am also still learning the art of multitasking, but here are what I have learnt so far, reflecting on my #OctoLife at Empower. My top 4 lessons from my teammates in my journey of multitasking in project management.
1.Realistically Set & Manage Expectations – A Lesson from Ella
Both your expectations and the expectations of your client. Be honest and realistic about your schedule/ availability and make commitments based on that. This will help you to set clear and reasonable expectations. Whilst doing the work, keep in mind that expectations might change, and you will have to manage them by communicating on time and with with the right person; ask for an extension when you have to, share the progress of what you are working on to ensure that you are on track, Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!
2.Create & Use a system that works for you – A Lesson from Joshua
There are many tools and systems out there that can help you organise your task and remind you of critical deadlines. Find or create one that works for you (I use my notebook and pen most times). If you are working with other people, be sure everyone is on the same page and understands your system, so all parties know how far along a project is at any given moment
If you feel that you must do it yourself for something to get done right, lose it. I learnt this the hard way and still learning. There’s no way one person can manage multiple projects without Support, accept help and delegate work that can be delegated to your colleagues. Ask your colleague for support and stay on top of this, don’t delegate and forget
4.Find the Easiest and Smartest way to do the task – A Lesson from Joel & Miranda
Don’t reinvent the wheel at the beginning of every project. Instead, use templates to simplify how you start your projects; this will allow you to work faster and more efficiently. Think of your template as a living document to have the most effective and efficient process; you should keep updating it with best practices and new insights.
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