Conquering time pressures and stress
One of the biggest stress-culprits for an account manager is the feeling that there are never enough hours in the day to do everything that needs to be done. When you are dealing with a barrage of deadlines, fighting fires, and placating an army of people, the tyranny of "time" becomes a very real issue.
As an account manager you will hold a set of standards by which you judge your own performance and how well you achieve your goals each day. Without realising it, those same standards and preconceptions may well be what are causing you unnecessary time-related stress. Here are seven time-truths to ponder:
Truth #1: High levels of unrelenting stress can make you sick (or worse). Account management is a stress-magnet profession, so you must find ways to manage your time and workload pressures before your body decides to put the brakes on.
Truth #2: Account management triage is your number one key to taming the time-dragon.
Truth #3: Situations in of themselves cannot force you to feel stressed - it's how you respond to the situation that will determine the amount of stress you feel. If you panic, think irrationally, or put unnecessary pressure on yourself, your feeling of stress will be magnified.
Truth #4: Your workload will always expand to fill the amount of time that you have and you'll probably never completely tick off your to-do list. If you can be content with the thought that your days will always be full-to-brimming, you will better enjoy the ride.
Truth #5: If you are working in a busy, successful agency, you will never, ever, ‘have enough hours in your day’. If you have been pining for this unattainable fantasy, it's time to cut that unproductive hope loose and move on.
Truth #6: In our industry nobody will die if you do not get everything ticked off your to-do list.
Truth #7: The more you care about your clients, and the work you produce, the more stress you are likely to feel - it's an inevitable by-product for the dedicated account manager. Keeping everybody happy is admirable, but it's also exhausting and not always achievable within the time you have. It doesn't mean you should care any less, but rather learn to prioritise the care and attention you bestow.
An account manager’s day is divided up into distinct tasks and activities, including:
- Responding to emails.
- Talking on the phone.
- Talking to colleagues.
- Internal meetings.
- Client meetings.
- Planning tasks.
- Actioning tasks.
- Eating and thinking (if you are lucky).
It’s up to you to apportion your limited number of work hours wisely.
If you can adjust the way you approach time, and release some of the pressure that you put on yourself, you'll be able to work with time, rather than against it. Instead of feeling frazzled and frustrated at the end of each day you'll be able to get to the finish line with a sense of achievement and satisfaction, knowing that you did your best within the time you had.
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