Time Management Techniques for Work?

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skyebison
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Time Management Techniques for Work?

Post by skyebison » Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:01 pm

I was hoping some of you would be able to help me with time and stress management recommendations.

I've posted in the past about how stressful my job is - lots of competing deadlines, complex/multifaceted objectives, lots of meetings cutting into my working hours, lots of traffic on the way to work so I arrive already stressed out. I'm really hoping to stick it out here for another year and try to get better at this job before I throw in the towel and try to find an "easier" job.

Basically my problem is that I have so much to get done I end up getting very little done because I never know where to start. Like many dispraxics background noise/conversations stress me out and wreak havoc on my focus - working in a busy office there is a lot of this. I am constantly interrupted by people asking for help (this is part of my job, I can't tell them to go away), and restarting after an interruption is difficult. Sometimes to complete one relatively simple task I will need to review upwards of six documents. Clicking around through all those different files on my computer is distracting enough, but then sometimes I'll be looking at document 1 for project A, and I'll see something in there that's also related to project B and get side tracked and forget if I'm working on project A or B.

I'm starting to wonder if maybe I have ADD or ADHD in addition to dyspraxia! I have heard people recommend the 4 Hour Work Week to help manage workloads. I've read this and it did help with a few things - namely identifying non-value added tasks to triage. I am seeing a therapist in two weeks to talk about my stress/anxiety/depression (which I have been officially diagnosed with). I'm going to talk to her about all of this and hopefully she can refer me to someone to talk to about ADD/dyspraxia (which I don't have a diagnosis for yet).

I am not lazy, and I do very well in structured environments. This job isn't structured at all. I have several equally important projects and responsibilities and am left to my own devices to manage my workflow and structure my days. There are many days at this job where I feel like I've worked hard all day but not accomplished anything. Some days I really do just respond to low level e-mails all day because I'm too stressed or overwhelmed and don't know what to do.

TL;DR I'm working in dyspraic hell - loud office, complex issues, lots of multitasking, and frequent interruptions. I feel overwhelmed by it all and like I'm under achieving. Am hoping for some time and stress management techniques to help cope with it all.

MrLiquorish
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Re: Time Management Techniques for Work?

Post by MrLiquorish » Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:43 pm

Skyebison, I feel your pain.

I might not be the best person to help, because I recognize myself in a lot of what you've said and have come to this forum in part to seek support with similar things.

"basically my problem is that I have so much to get done I end up getting very little done because I never know where to start" - I totally know that feeling - it's overwhelming and you wonder where to start & are getting stressed and end up being less productive because of it.

Like yourself I also get sidetracked. I'll be dealing with one task, and then an email will come in, and I'll switch to dealing with that, which ultimately is probably not a very efficient way of doing things. I think I probably end up swapping back and forth between things quite a bit.

Can I suggest a few things for you to look at? I'm not saying they will or will not work but they might be of interest to you. You may already know of them.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomodoro_Technique

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_mana ... wer_Method

https://lifehacker.com/productivity-101 ... 1551880955 (pretty big disclaimer: I haven't read this article, but have read about this method before on a separate article (not sure where) and have a copy of the book (although I haven't read it).

EDIT: after rereading my own post I noticed a lot of me saying I hadn't read much of this. To clarify I have read a distilled version of the technique, and quickly skimmed the bullet points in the article to make sure they matched up to what I was expecting to see. The book itself is quite thick, but I would like to read it at some point to see what else it offers.

Essentially to boil down some of the bottom two links, you could consider something like:

- starting a checklist of all your tasks.
- if you are told or realise there is something you need to do, immediately write it on the checklist and you can forget about it while you focus on the task at hand (unless it's super urgent).
- You could also consider categorizing the tasks as:

Urgent and important - priority
Not urgent but important
Urgent but not important
Not urgent and not important - not a priority

(it depends on the task how much of a priority the middle two are).

I apologise if you do not find this advice helpful. Perhaps take a look and see what you think.

MrLiquorish
Last edited by MrLiquorish on Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

Tom fod
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Re: Time Management Techniques for Work?

Post by Tom fod » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:53 pm

Hi Mr Liquorish and welcome and I admire your having a go at trying to answer this.

Not forgetting the other variable demanding customers with competing demands.(aaargghh!) Sometimes another person's urgent is not as urgent as the urgent thing you were already looking at!

Think we ought to add

important but within one ones own area of responsibility and can be resolved quickly and simply right now

Important but more complex and needing close attention to unravel and brea kdown into discrete steps.

Important but requiring onward referral for action or decision

We all struggle with competing demands and often there are a variety of different options for correct response depending on any given situation.

Apologies if I have 'trodden on your toes' and in a typicallyv dyspraxic way too!
Tom
Moderator/Administrator

With a foot full of bullets I tried to run faster but I just hobbled on to the next disaster.
(from Peter and the Test Tube Babies, Foot Full of Bullets)

MrLiquorish
New member - welcome them!
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:05 pm

Re: Time Management Techniques for Work?

Post by MrLiquorish » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:06 am

Hi Tom,

Thanks very much for the welcome, and no you did not tread on my toes at all!

I think that was very good clarification, I'm sure that technique can be further honed as you have done there.

You're absolutely right, some customers and other members of staff will think that their issue is the most urgent, often because that's their only issue, and they don't see the potential plethora that you already have!

MrLiquorish

Tom fod
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Posts: 1949
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Location: SW UK

Re: Time Management Techniques for Work?

Post by Tom fod » Fri Sep 22, 2017 11:16 am

. . .some customers and other members of staff will think that their issue is the most urgent, often because that's their only issue, and they don't see the potential plethora that you already have!
Thank you. That's a really good point since customers and (perhaps to a lesser extent, depending on ones colleagues) fellow staff members will be approaching with a single minded intention to seek prompt resolution of what they were seeking. It often falls to us to 'juggle' (eek!) other peoples' competing priorities and despite being flustered, politely explain when things may not be possible immediately, or at all, and to politely and professionally manage their expectations or if appropriate escalate the issue upwards.

It is imperative that we have managers who have our backs and who will support us and give us the opportunity to build and have confidence in ourselves.
Tom
Moderator/Administrator

With a foot full of bullets I tried to run faster but I just hobbled on to the next disaster.
(from Peter and the Test Tube Babies, Foot Full of Bullets)

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