“If you can learn project management skills, you’ll have everything you need to get a job.”
I don’t know if that was the exact quote from one of my business professors in college. I’ll always remember that he stressed the importance of project management, more than any other professor stressed the importance of any other subject taught.
Project management can be as simple as setting a goal, figuring out everything that needs to be finished to complete that goal, and then organizing those tasks in the most efficient way. This process can be used for projects big and small.
I build Pirates Prospects and produced every single Prospect Guide with a project management spreadsheet. Right now, the long-term expansion of Pirates Prospects and the growth of Pittsburgh Baseball Network are tied to different project management timelines, with one being a large task within the other.
To me, it’s always been easy to set a goal, find the path to that goal, and figure out how to follow that path in the most efficient way.
The difficult thing is the pursuit.
The entire plan is laid out, and all that is left is executing every individual task to reach the goal.
Planning the project is fun. It works your exponential, non-linear brain. But the pursuit of that end goal is tedious and linear.
I have a tendency to want to group work together. Rather than working on a task 20% per day over five days, I’ll aim to do it all in one day. It’s easier for me to focus my mind on a project for a single day, rather than aiming for the same consistency on a daily basis. All-in-one will wear you out, but a daily task has a better chance of falling behind schedule if you have an off-day, leading to the need for that all-in-one mentality to inevitably return.
This becomes an issue when you’ve got a task that takes a longer period of time. For example, when we do the Prospect Guide, there are very few tasks that can be done in a single day. If I set an entire day working on the book, I’ll get a good percentage of the project finished, but I might not eliminate any of the big tasks from my to-do list. I’ll be closer toward eliminating those, but won’t get that reward of being finished with something after a full day of work.
I know a lot of people in life with a similar issue for long-term projects. If they can’t see some type of result, they won’t pursue the task that day. This can be applied to any long-term plan, whether it’s at work, a home repair project, or even an exercise and weight-loss plan.
It’s difficult to maintain a consistent pursuit of something without those indicators that you’re going in the right direction. It’s difficult to keep plugging away at a project when you’re not getting consistent rewards telling you that you’re doing the right thing.
The same concept most likely exists with most baseball players as they’re developing. Each adjustment a player tries to make is a goal, and their daily work to make that adjustment a natural part of their game is the pursuit. Even if a player knows what to do, and how they’re doing to do it, and the end result of their constant pursuit.
Only, a baseball player doesn’t change overnight. At some point, they have to trust that their continuous pursuit will lead to the long-term changes that they are pursuing. Not every player will finish their pursuit. Only the ones who stick to their plan over the long-term will develop into MLB players. And I mean long-term.
Some of those plans won’t work out, even with all of the hard work. At that point, a new plan is put in place, and a new pursuit begins. The fear of doing all of this work, only to reach the finish line and find that this isn’t what you needed for the majors, is now in existence. Again, the players who stick with it through all of that will have success.
Pursuit can be like walking through the forest. When you’re in an open field, you can see the mountaintop. But once you start toward the mountain, you start toward the trees. Eventually, you’re in the trees, unsure of which direction to go, and just continuing your hope of climbing. You spot a goal in the distance, but there might be 50 trees in between you and that goal, preventing you from taking an easy, direct path. Then, when you reach that goal, you might find that you’re not really noticeably closer to the top of the mountain than you were before, with only a new goal in front of you, and uncertainty as to whether that goal will get you closer.
All I’m saying is that I think there’s something that separates MLB players from those in the minors who are pursuing changes to get them to the top of the mountain. That difference? It could be the ability of endless pursuit.
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