It’s been said that the only difference between a rut and a grave is its depth. We may find that sometimes our job as a Project Manager has settled into such a rut, such a routine, that we feel as if we could die if we had to do this just one more day. We feel a wave of malaise rush over us whenever we open our project planning software accompanied by the unuttered words of “here we go again”. Whenever we find ourselves in such a state of mind, we need to step back, assess our situation and take the necessary steps to reinvigorate ourselves and bring our jobs, performance and results back to life!
Here’s the problem when you start to feel like this as a Project Manager. Like it or not, your team takes a queue from your disposition, attitude, and even energy level. They may not articulate the fact that they base their level of comfort upon how you are feeling or acting, but they do. If you come in dragging or act despondent as if there’s no hope, then your team will quickly follow suit. You set the pace.
Rather than commit career suicide and take others down with you, try the following 4 perspective changers and see how quickly you can be re-energized as a Project Manager. You’ll see a huge difference when it comes to the performance of your team.
1. Unclutter EVERYTHING
One thing that happens when you stay somewhere for a long period of time is that clutter accumulates. This clutter is made up of different things, both literal and figurative. For example, your office may be cluttered, you may not be able to see the top of your desk, or your computer is littered with unused files and shortcuts. There may be orphaned projects that are languishing and just need to be closed out, or broken relationships that need mending. There are Post-It Notes everywhere with tasks that need to be entered into your planning software.
All of these things need your attention so you can move forward gracefully and efficiently. If you come in each day with the weight of clutter bogging you down, you will find it hard to work on new and exciting things. Clean up your office, rediscover your desktop, close out projects that need to be closed, update your project planning software, and mend relationships that may be broken. You will feel a great weight lifted off your shoulders and begin to look at things in a new way.
2. Meet with (Happy) Customers
It’s no surprise that the day of a Project Manager is typically filled with putting out fires, dealing with project stakeholders that may be frustrated, and fielding dissatisfied client’s issues and complaints. Day after day, week after week and year after year this type of activity will gradually wear you down. This results in sapping you of the energy and feeling of accomplishment that accompanies a job well done.
What can you do? Go visit some happy customers.
Take a day and go out and visit customers that are using your product or have benefited from a successful project implementation. Hear what they like, listen to how it saved them money, made their jobs easier, or helps their customers. Reflect on their ideas and suggestions about making things better. You will come back with a renewed excitement about the services you and your company provides.
Think about it this way. When was the last time you called the electric company and said, you really appreciate the fact that your electricity has stayed on for a long period of time without interruption? Probably never! They only hear from you when there’s a problem.
As a Project Manager, you are the electric company. It’s a rare day when someone will let you know they appreciate their lights being on. The only time people will come to you is if there are problems or something has gone horribly wrong. You’ll have to take upon yourself to find out how much people appreciate that their lights are on! Change your routine and take the initiative to visit some happy customers. You’ll feel better after you do.
3. Bring in New Blood
If you’re in a position to hire people and you need to bring in someone new, bring someone on-board that is different than you. We are all drawn toward certain types of people and personalities. When you look at the team you have assembled, are they the same as you? Do they have the same background, same education, and same experience? Hire someone that is qualified, but also has a different background, different education and different experiences. Bringing in new blood adds excitement back to the mix.
What if you are not in a position to bring someone new on board? You can still connect with people that are entirely different than you. If you’re in IT, connect with someone in Marketing. If you are in Marketing, connect with someone in Finance. This can be either inside or outside your organization. You will find that they may have experienced similar issues as you, but approached it from an entirely different angle. Think about how much experience you have gained throughout the years. Everyone else has as well. Take time to meet with them, pick their brains, and find new and innovative ways to solve nagging and old problems. You can bring this energy and different approach back to your routine and become more engaged.
4. Pursue a New Certification
Most employers will pay for this additional training and certification. All you need to do is come up with a compelling value-add reason of how this will benefit your company. That’s pretty easy to accomplish. Do some research and find out how your certification will yield more consistent results and higher project closure rates. Translate that into financial cost savings and then make your pitch to your manager.
So, you may not be able to bring back the same excitement you had the day you started your new job, but you can come close. Unclutter EVERYTHING, meet with (happy) customers, bring in new blood, or pursue a new certification all for the purpose of bringing excitement back to your job!
Looking to get reenergized? If you’ve cleaned up your desk and have nowhere to put all those tasks, try our software free for 30 days. This Project Planning software would be a great place to start!