They are out there. You work with them. The people that arrive to a meeting 4 minutes late, exasperated, rolling their eyes, heavily sighing, and lastly exhaling "Ugh, this day. SO BUSY." Then they whip open their laptop and start to "multi-task" during the meeting.
What's the problem here? Actually...what are the PROBLEMS here?
It's pretty easy to figure out who this person is at your workplace. No? Make lunch plans with them. If they say YES, chances are you'll get an IM or a text being like "OMG, I'm so sorry, can we please PLEASE reschedule?"
Once in awhile, sure. But pretty much, predictably? You know that person. They, my friend, are wearing the Badge of Busy.
Somewhere in their head, its engrained that it's GOOD and ENCOURAGED to be slammed with work. To be over-loaded and stressed. Sometimes like you and me?
NO. All the time.
And they try to compensate for lost time by multi-tasking, which usually results in half-assing two things when they should be whole-assing one.
Look, we all have moments when we are "busy", but i feel like it's sometimes important to take a step back and MANAGE your time. I am by no means a pro, but having a toddler, a 6 month old and an active wife, I've learned how to do balance. While my system isnt perfect, it might be a good platform to start.
1. Scheduling - Over the weekend, take one hour and look at your up-coming week. Are your meetings back-to-back with no break? Fuck that. You *think* that is your week. You forget about walk-ups, pull-asides and fires that you need to put out. What? Now you're double booked? Hmm....Lets look at this schedule. On your calendar, everyday, at your first hour, BLOCK IT OUT. That's you time. Im not talking about the time you wake up and mess around on your work email at 623am. Im talking about IN OFFICE. Block it. Then? BLOCK A PROPER LUNCH. You will SUCK as an employee if you don't relax. Eat with co-workers, walk around, call your Mom. I don't give a shit. Just don't work. Afternoon coffee- Take 15 minutes and just leave. Close the laptop, walk away and go for a stroll.
2. Multi-tasking - We all do it. But when you do it at the expense of the OTHER project, you fail them both. I actually do not believe in multi-tasking as a verb. I just call it work. Multi-tasking is a justification for piling on more shit that will make your actual role diluted by extraneous shit. "No, I'm multi-tasking." No, you're doing two things at the same time that deserve independent amounts of attention. STOP.
3. Know your limits - Ask for help. For Christ's sake, ask for help. If you cant delegate, arbitrate. "Hey, you like whiskey? So there is a nice bottle of Weller 10 yr rye in it if you help me bang this shit out." There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help. As a matter of fact, I have LEARNED MORE from having people work with me on projects, then trying to tackle what was clearly over my head.
4. Talk to your manager - If all else fails, go to your manager/supes. "Hey, Im kind of buried. I want to finish X, Y, Z, but A, B, C is less important, yet in my way. Can you give some guidance as to what is important to you?" Your manager will likely look at your workload and be like, "DAMN GINA"., and help you figure out a sensible solution.
5. Lunch/happy hour/brunch/dinner plans - DO NOT BREAK THESE OVER TEXT. That is a classic dick move. Text is a cop-out. Call them. If you cannot sincerely be there, then your VOICE should show this.
Again. All of this is personal experience. The Badge of Busy isn't something anyone should be proud of, but something bad that they occasionally have to wear. And that's fine. Just be cool. And me? Oh i am "busy" too, but when I am, i try and make up for it. If i absolutely have to cancel on you, its two drinks.
If you'd like to discuss, let's go to the Twitters (@Mick) or do so here!