Deal with work overload by writing a one line job description
Two weeks ago, I posted my system for dealing with overload. I wrote myself a one line job description “During 2009, I needed to achieve A, B, C, D and E, simultaneously”.
I wanted to stop today and tell you how this job description is working.
To refresh your memories – I began by taking all my goals for 2009 and putting them in a circle on a piece of scrap paper. Amazingly, they clustered naturally into five groups.
Then I took the back of an old Christmas card, put 2009 in the centre, and drew five spokes. I marked off ‘quarters’ for each spoke, and then months for the first quarter, and jotted down what I wanted to achieve. I also labelled the spokes. Then I propped the card up nicely below my second screen.
So how did it go?
Guess what? I didn’t look at it again – for ten days.
When I did, my first thought was – oh, so you forgot about this pretty quickly! Then I looked at the drawing more closely.
- Yes, on two spokes I am far ahead of my goals. I am on target to achieve much of February too.
- On a third, I am doing fine and will achieve everything provided I don’t drop the ball.
- In the fourth, I am a little behind but there isn’t much too do.
- The fifth has been neglected but when I labeled the spoke, I had made it much clearer why I was doing this work. With that in the back of my mind, I stumbled on a solution bye-the-bye in the course of other work. I only expected to find the solution in months and months! Now I can tackle the tasks on this spoke more efficiently and with more verve and energy.
Yes. This works. I’ve even redrawn the card and increased the goals somewhat. I am my own worst boss.
I’m still busy. And I will still prune and prioritize. But picturing has helped, a lot.
The next stage is to do this for another two fortnights, I think.
Come with me!
Anyone want to keep up with me and reduce their job to a 5×4 card?
UPDATE: As I tidy up this blog, I am also tidying up my office. And I have lost my card. I know one spoke is far ahead, one is very far behind but there is a clear way forward. Two spokes have morphed into another project. Can’t remember the fifth spoke. It will be interesting when I find the card.
And then I will have the fun of seeing how far I have come – on each spoke and on reducing the feeling of being pulled in all directions!