Currently I feel out of control.
I am working insane hours and am still not getting to everything. The number of tasks actually keeps growing and I get a knot in my stomach just looking at my to-do list.
I would love to know what the healthy balance is for an IT Manager to manage daily tasks and longer-term projects without being overwhelmed by info, requests and duties?
One of our IT Leader Mastermind groups recently tackled this question. Here is a summarised version of the outcomes.
The Mastermind Answer
The speed of life is increasing. For all of us. Lots of little things have to be attended to continuously. As IT Managers it is in our nature to help people as quickly as possible.
And you do need to get to your managerial duties as well.
You will, however, have to take a step back and have a serious look at your to-do list.
Step one is to organise it to be able to focus on the important issues.
What is it really that you are supposed to do? Most likely there are quite a few tasks that you should be able to delegate or not do at all.
Use your ticketing system or even a mobile phone app to track what you are doing all day and where you actually spend your time. Then review and prune the things that you should not be doing.
Secondly and related to the above - focus on one thing at a time. The human brain is not made for multitasking and we lose lots of time and energy by switching between tasks.
And thirdly, use weekly goals. Plan your days into bigger chunks of work. Try and make sure you get the bigger things done first instead of just having an arbitrary to-do-list.
Do also see the “Other Links” section below or just use Google for any number of programs and methodologies that can help you to focus on what is important.
We are all different – it is imperative that you find a system that works for you!
Some More Insights
- A few minutes of planning in the morning works wonders to calm your day down. And even if unforeseen things happen, don’t just rush in to solve them. John Evans, a well-known mountain rescuer used to say: “Don’t just do something, stand there.” Think before your do.
- And maybe consider to come in an hour earlier than most of your colleagues to get some focused work done by the time the rat race starts.
- Once the small tasks are under control, calm your day further by learning How to Take Your IT Management Capacity to the Next Level.
- “Be here now” is a slogan for Rolls Royce employees that makes a lot of sense: when a colleague wants something, but you are busy with something that you really need to focus on, you say “I really can’t be here now”. Conversely when attending a meeting: “Are we all here now?”; all distractions are to be put aside.
- Get enough sleep, eat well, exercise and spend time with people you love, doing things you like doing. A good work-life balance makes you infinitely more productive and also helps with your mental well-being.
- Getting Things Done or GTD in short: Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them - David Allen
- Eisenhower Matrix or Urgent-important Matrix for clarifying what the difference between urgency and importance is and which task belongs where.
- Why multitasking is bad for you.
- And last but not least a bit of a lateral idea: Programs like the Happiness Program by Art of Living or Live your Legend help you to question who you really are and what makes you tick.
Picture Credit: Overworked by SecretScientist (cropped)