Excuse me as I juggle my way through the morning. First thing in the door I hear “we need this, have you heard from such and such, and don’t forget”. I am finally able to maneuver my way into my office and flip on my computer. As it is loading I check for voice messages and I’m not disappointed by the number of calls needing returned. A quick glance to my computer screen and I note that my e-mails just keep racking up one after another. I anticipate that it may be 11:00 or noon before I get through them all.
Someone needs something in the other room, and yelling over the many other voices in the building seems to be the favorite method of communication. If the staff were not generally friendly one might misconstrue the yelling as offensive. Who needs an intercom? `
Prioritizing, that may be an easier task for some to carry out, than for others. When the day’s work is coming at you in 30 second intervals you grab the first task, and off you go. Prioritization, at least for me comes at the end of the day. That is when the flow has slowed enough for me to catch my breath and ponder on the day’s events that just transpired; plan for the next day and the rest of the week. I’m always happy when tasks can be scheduled somewhere in advance; I feel like I been given a short reprieve when that happens. It's all just another day of putting out fires is over.
Meetings take up a lot of time and they come at you from all directions; online, staff meetings, meetings with colleagues from across town, or new contacts – the flow is unyielding at times. I often wonder if others in the meetings with me are taking the same notes as I am. Let’s face it; if you don’t have a set of notes from all those meetings, there would be no tracking, no scheduling, and frankly no planning. It’s an endless paper trail of minutes, but someone has to do it; could be someone’s job security. I have to chuckle at the newbie staff who sit in the middle of staff meetings and draw pretty pictures on their note pads, all while trying to look professional and prove they are focused.
I have to chuckle at the newbie staff who sit in the middle of staff meetings and draw pretty pictures on their note pads, all while trying to look professional and prove they are focused.
In meetings, when it comes down to taking the credit for a job well done, it is generally those note pad artists who like to step up to the front. They are always looking for recognition without having contributed to the larger chuck of the work flow.
Each of us has a different method for how we organize and juggle our daily schedules. Some of us do a better job than others. My method of organization is my online calendar – I am lost without it. There are a bunch of free online calendars, but I would make sure you can share them with your colleagues before downloading them. See what they use too. http://freebies.about.com/od/online-calendars/tp/free-online-calendars.htm Outlook 365 is one of my favorites (not free), but there are many more you can research and try out for yourself. Collaboration to me is the key to a successful operation. If you need to juggle and prioritize, get yourself an online calendar and live by it. I plan my family time in my calendar also, I put them in first.
Setting office standards in an environment that is constantly changing from one minute to the next is an ongoing and daunting task that has to be monitored. You can’t manage the flow if you aren't in the middle of it. I see it happen in the best of offices; managers trying to manage from outside the scope of where the real work is happening. It is almost as if they are saying, “I will sit over here and if anything happens or you need me I will be here”. That is code for “don’t bug me”. The work load is then pushed upon a lesser subordinate who wouldn't dare make a referral or recommendation. The fear of “making waves” is always present in their eyes. In my work environment that doesn't happen –because I’m there with my staff. When it is five o’clock everyone gets to go home – I stay over if need be. I’m not a micro- manager, I’m a worker bee.
That is code for “don’t bug me”.
Juggling and prioritizing tasks can and does happen in the same day, and sometime they synchronize with one another perfectly. There are those slow periods where the clocks stop moving and you find yourself in animated suspension, but you have to learn to use that slow time to your best advantage. Since I’m a creative personality I can get a lot done when it is slow, and I generally like projects that keep my mind occupied. But not everyone will like projects, so it is best to learn how and where to place your staff. Some staff members have a hard time dealing with change of any kind (slow or fast paced). Yet their talents in specific areas are superior and provide a level of expertise when you need it the most. Matching skills is an art, especially if losing one skilled individual will affect your future or present bottom line. If budgets allow I would keep them around. It would be better to lose the notepad artist with their lazy management styles.
I have been a manager for most of my lifetime, and I recognize management as that place between a rock and hard spot; yet I thrive in that environment. Juggling and prioritizing are just part of the job. The job satisfaction comes from knowing your staff respects you at the end of the week, and everyone is glad when projects are compete. Everybody celebrates. Its five o’clock somewhere and it’s time for everyone to go home.