Managing your "other job"

(Lucie Pinto) #1

I currently hold the position of Community Manager and the Quality Assurance Manager for our Support team. I’m curious if anyone else wears two very different hats and how you handle managing both jobs.

I’m mostly curious about how you break up your days and manager your time. Do you do 1/2 each job each day or work on one job one day and the other the next? What do you find works best?

(Tim McShane) #2

Hello there Lucie, I have several roles in the organisation for which I work ‘three days’ a week and, probably like you, I find myself working on various things during the week and don’t actual work three discreet days.

I have now trained myself to note down in my outlook calendar the approximate time I spend on something. So, if I start working on a particular programme I mark that down in my calendar, then if I start doing another programme I mark it down in a different colour.

I got the idea from colleagues who are lawyers in the US and have to bill per minute!

At the end of the month I fill in a grid on an excel spreadsheet for each day an total the number of hours I’ve spent on each thing.

The grid has the days along the top and down the side the various programmes and meetings totalling it at the end.

This then shows me whether I’m spending too much time on one thing or too little on another.

It really has helped me become more aware of the time I’ve been spending on each project and shift my priorities accordingly.

Hope that helps!


(Tashina Combs) #3

Hey Lucie,

Nice to see you over here! :slight_smile: I have a couple of different roles and work on them throughout the week… It took a bit for me to find a flow that worked. I tried initially to have days for things, but that quickly became impossible with meeting schedules.

What I mostly do now is keep a very thorough to do list for myself, a few spreadsheets to track the progress of various projects & some shared Asana boards for team projects, and schedule out chunks of time each week. I also use a time tracking tool for projects so I know where I am spending the most time and can adjust accordingly. When I did work in the office, I also shut myself in conference rooms and turned off chat programs for periods of time too so that I could have uninterrupted focus. Not always possible, but it definitely helped.

(Sarah Hawk) #4

I also work two jobs (a 30/10 hour split across the week), although not within one organisation. I use a time keeping app called Paymo to keep track of the hours that I’m doing, to make sure the balance is right.

Rather than working entire days on each, I find it easier to stay on top of my workload (and be more accessible to my colleagues) if I do a 6/2 hour per day split. I keep to-do lists on PostIt’s (that’s my UX background showing itself) and at the end of each day I prioritise the things that need to be done tomorrow. I do the things that require the most attention first while I’m fresh, and leave admin or easy stuff for the evening when my kids have gone to bed and I’m tired.

(Lucie Pinto) #5

Hi Tashina!

This really helps. Can I ask what time tracking tool you use? I haven’t used one before but we’ve talked about using them as a company.

(Nick Emmett) #6

Hey @lpinto - I’m also a two jobber!
Wen I came on board to run our Customer Community I also took on the role of one of our Customer Success Managers. Originally there was a split involved of 60/40, with the heavy side being that of the CSM, as our Community had just launched. I took the role under the proviso that this would be reviewed in time with a view to me just having the Community Manager role.

I don’t have any kind of time tracking, I just “try” to keep on top of things using post its and my trusty notebooks! Oh and Evernote. It’s often pretty tricky and that 60/40 split is probably now more like a 70/70 split. I have a portfolio of 150 customers to look after, although our business model means that my customers are predominantly light touch and I’m more reactive than proactive in managing them, however it can be tricky managing the workload with making sure I’m doing what I need to do to keep our Community ticking over. Added to that more recently I’ve been managing a project to move our platform configuration to a different template which has almost been like a 3rd role I’ve been trying to fit in amongst everything else!

The most structured thing I use outside of my notebook/Evernote is Trello, I use this to flesh out my project plan and also I have a basic content calendar too.

Interesting that there’s probably quite a few people who manage their communities alongside other roles. Good discussion!

(Alessio Fattorini) #7

Two jobber!!! :smiley:
My company is pretty small so I’m a support specialist / project manager + community manager = 70/30 I guess.
I learned that I can’t concentrate all my community stuff in specific days, because my people need me all the time.
So lately I tried with the pomodoro tecnique, with small slot of 25 mins I can understand how much time I spent on community or support stuff, and I can record the work done. All on paper + agenda, it works very well for me!
My content calendar + todolist is on Trello.

(Mark Baldwin) #8

Definitely seems to be that when you are in a smaller company, lots of extra jobs get added to the community manager. I currently do customer support/community management/ PR and a bit of marketing and this month I am also managing an office move. :slight_smile: The adage is true, if you want a job doing, give it to a busy person. Now if only I was paid for doing 4 jobs.

(Tashina Combs) #9

I use Toggle because it has both a desktop and mobile app.

(Sarah Hawk) #10

I’d never heard of the pomodoro technique before. Looks interesting!

(Richard Millington) #11

My days are usually pretty similar.

Around 7.30am I do a quick blitz of email, social, and anything else that might need a reply. I prioritise anything holding up someone else’s work.

Then about 4 hours of ‘deep work’. This is usually writing or researching our next major project. After lunch it’s calls, small tasks, and exercise, and whatever else needs doing.

I use RescueTime to track time. I haven’t completely integrated the mindset of trying to top my previous top time sadly.

(Nick Emmett) #12

(I’m down with the kids as well as being an astute community pro!)

(Sarah Hawk) #13

I love this. I don’t think enough people do it.

(Katherine Mancuso) #14

Hi! I wear 3 hats - community manager, project manager (so I have teams of community managers and moderators), and data analyst. It’s very stressful. We do time tracking internally and I also use personal time tracking (and then transfer the data over once a week). I nominally have hours which I’ve tried to communicate clearly - I work as a project manager from 9-11 and 3-5 and as a community manager or data analyst between. However, getting anyone to actually respect my hours has been really difficult.

(Rachel McGuigan) #15

I have to agree with you here, it is very stressful.
Remaining consistent with a tool that manages time as a well has help show what is being prioritized over others creates a need for balance.
10% planning 70% doing 10% revising and 10% of the unexpected (emails)
I am not good at this, but I try to practice it. That 30% becomes more productive as I tried to get better at managing the stress and the load.

I hope that helps.

(Sarah Hawk) #16

Update, I’ve been trying @ale_fattorini’s pomodoro technique and it’s brilliant! I feel like I’m much more productive.

(Jake McKee) #17

Lucie -

I think we’ve all felt this pain at some point. I know I did when I was doing day to day community management.

I’ve talked to a lot of CM folks about this over the years, and my single biggest piece of advice starts with this: how and what are you doing to push a more formalized CM organization? Getting through the dual jobs should be a short term work around for the longer term goal of building a robust, formal CM org that has the right, reasonable staffing.

But here’s a few random thoughts in the meantime:

  • Are the community management tasks more along the lines of on-demand moderation or strategic planning? If they are on-demand, it’s hard to not have to immediately respond to make sure posts are moderated/relocated/de-spammed, etc. If this is the case, you may actually be able to build a case to bring in some amount of in-sourced or out-sourced moderation support. Or even to offload some of the on-demand tasks while keeping the strategic tasks.

But if they are more strategic, then you could always have “community management days” and “quality assurance days”… so you can stay focused and efficient. You have to really set this up with your colleagues though. A huge part of this kind of split is making it clear to all around that you’re doing two jobs with two different types of responsibility.

  • How flexible is your work schedule? Could you take a break in the middle of the day to transition home? I used to do my “normal” job during the day, wrap around 330p or 4p and head home. I’d break for a couple hours, then go back to work for 2-5 hours at night working with the community work. (This worked out because the community was more active then anyway). This also helped my brain shift gears.

  • Have you raised this with your management? When I was at the end of my rope and literally working two 40 hour jobs a week, I went to my boss with a request and a plan for building a more robust CM org. He was (thankfully) very open to it.

  • The only other tip I’ve found handy is to schedule, in realistic blocks, my entire day. Rather than make a task list, I put the tasks on the calendar. If there’s multiple items in that time block, I’ll put the tasks in the notes. Don’t get it done? Move it to the next day and bump that day around accordingly.

Hope that helps. We feel your pain!

(Alessio Fattorini) #18

Let me know your feeling, why are you more productive?
I use to measure and categorize my time and toggl chrome extension to split the daytime in small pomodoro slot

(Lucie Pinto) #19

Hi Jake,

Thank you for your post. I enjoyed reading it and found it very helpful. :slight_smile:

(Sarah Hawk) #20

Potentially one of a few reasons.

  1. The short and defined time-slots mean that I work efficiently on tasks to try and complete them within the allocation

  2. If I’m doing other more administrative tasks, or something that I don’t love doing, I get restless and don’t use time as well as I could. The small time-slots seem to stop me getting restless.

  3. I’m actually not more productive at all but the regimental system appeals to my personality type and I feel like I’m “ticking thins off”