Q. Our company has gone through major changes the last five years. Every change seems to mean that I get more responsibility. I'm so overloaded right now that I could work round the clock and still not get everything done. Do you have any time management tips for the overloaded and unappreciated?
A. Yes, start by realizing that you do not simply have to accept being overloaded and unappreciated. Everything that happens in the workplace is negotiable. If you don't negotiate, you'll be continually given more work.
Put together a list of all the tasks you have been given. Now realistically go through the list and attach time frames to each of these tasks. Now assign a number according to what you believe are your boss's top priorities.
When you are done, make a separate list with the tasks that you believe are low priorities that you don't have the hours to do. Be realistic about the hours you will and can work.
The next step is to set up an "efficiency" meeting with your boss. Hand your boss your lists and ask if you've accurately numbered the priority responsibilities. Highlight the tasks that will not be completed and ask how your boss would like to handle the overflow.
Whatever you do, don't offer to become a workaholic to get all your projects done. As you've already said, even working around the clock won't fix the problem of being overloaded.
If your boss insists he is sure you can get everything done, don't fall into the temptation of being flattered. If you don't admit to some human limits, he is going to start asking you to pretend you are a superhero. You can either be clear you have limits now or be set up for failure.
Remember to treat your boss like a problem-solving coach, not an enemy. Your boss probably has high expectations for himself. He may also be under pressure from his management to leap tall buildings at a single bound.
Most of us would like to have people at work believe we can pull magic rabbits out of hats. We really enjoy the shock and awe of people watching us perform workplace miracles. The trap is the miracle ceases to be appreciated and comes to be expected.
If your boss wants miracles, let him know that if you were going to work a miracle for anyone, it would be for him. Then make it clear you don't want to let him or the team down and go back to negotiating what you know you can deliver. In the end, your boss will be happier with you delivering results than promising him his fantasy.
The last word(s)
Q. My job is difficult enough without having to deal with people with bad attitudes. Is there a way to get people I work with to stop making my job even harder?
A. Yes, realize the problem isn't attitudes. The problem is lack of skills. Learn the skills yourself and your job will get much easier!
(Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel's "Workplace Guru" each Monday morning. She's the author of "Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything" (Hay House, 2006). You can contact Dr. Skube at http://www.interpersonaledge.com or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.)
Time management tips for the overloaded
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