Forum

  • If you are new to these Forums, please take a moment to register using the fields above.
Announcement Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.
If only one not running like crazy... do you look like a slacker? Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • If only one not running like crazy... do you look like a slacker?

    I've been a GTD fan for a few years now. Between that and speed reading, I've had good luck staying organized and avoid being overwhelmed most of the time.

    Well, for the last several months I've worked at a consulting company where most people, esp. the managers, are running around like chickens with their heads cut off. I'm starting to get concerned that -- as a newbie -- the impression I'm conveying to others is *not* necessarily positive, because I don't run around with breathless urgency.

    I was wondering if anyone else at least felt like they've run into this perception concern. And... should I do anything pro-actively to correct perceptions.... or do I just allow my good work and time to help people see what I can do, despite my relative calm!

    Thanks,
    -- JoeGuitar

  • #2
    I think I agree with letting the quality of work show your level of urgency. People will notice your GTD blackbelt response to projects.

    Comment


    • #3
      Offer to teach a time management seminar at work.

      My company has a "brown bag lunch" every month. Instead of going out for lunch you bring your lunch to the conference room and someone gives a presentation. The presenter is supposed to talk about their role on the project and what they are doing. That way, everyone is exposed to different parts of the project. The project is huge by the way.

      I noticed by my fourth month at the company that nobody wanted to volunteer to present and... attendance was pitiful.

      So I told my manager I had read a really interesting book on time management and I wanted to present it at a brown bag.

      A few months later, after getting approval from three different managers, I presented GTD to a packed audience. (I advertised the event via email and posters. I offered a raffle/door prize (the book). Oh, and I supplied donuts and coffee - very important).

      So now, when my co-workers are all stressed out and running around like those crazy decapitated chickens, they know why I am so calm all the time. One guys calls me the time management guru every time we pass in the hallway.



      In your case, since you are new, you'll have to be careful about your approach. Don't let them think you are being condescending. Just be subtle. Leave the book out on your desk so you managers and co-workers can see it. Write out your project list on your white board so people can see you are fully tasked. Keep your context lists @office and @calls on your desk. Cross off items in bright red ink. Get the idea? And yes, be pro-active.

      Good luck!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by JoeGuitar
        Well, for the last several months I've worked at a consulting company where most people, esp. the managers, are running around like chickens with their heads cut off. I'm starting to get concerned that -- as a newbie -- the impression I'm conveying to others is *not* necessarily positive, because I don't run around with breathless urgency.

        I was wondering if anyone else at least felt like they've run into this perception concern. And... should I do anything pro-actively to correct perceptions.... or do I just allow my good work and time to help people see what I can do, despite my relative calm!
        People's tangible, visual perceptions will trump "good work and time," most of the time. Chances are, measurements for "good work" are vague, abstract, or absent. People form impressions from visual information quickly, and do not necessarily revise those impressions based on later information. So I think you are right to be concerned. Hopefully, though, the culture doesn't view "running around with breathless urgency" as positive, either. You could then correctly appear to be busy, productive, organized, and on top of things.

        I have run into the perception issue in teaching in a large university. Studies show that students form a perception of a new teacher within the first 15 minutes. The perception after 15 minutes is highly correlated with the eventual response on teaching evaluations. I learned that in my department, coming across as overly "tough" early on will kill one's teaching evaluations, whereas students love it if I emphasize my willingness to help via email or special office hours. I have not actually changed any "tough" policies (late homework not accepted, etc.), but comments on my teaching evaluations improved radically. However, I am not being disingenuous: I do care about the students and am willing to help them. I just do not emphasize, early on, that I won't help them if they are irresponsible.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by howman
          Offer to teach a time management seminar at work.

          My company has a "brown bag lunch" every month. Instead of going out for lunch you bring your lunch to the conference room and someone gives a presentation. ...

          Thanks! Actually, I did something similar at a previous job, with the title of my talk being something about keeping you inbox empty. Also, the tips to avoid any hint of condescension are very well-taken.

          I may well give it a go at this current job!

          Take care,
          -- JoeGuitar

          Comment


          • #6
            As a teacher at a middle school, I run across this situation too. If you're walking around calmly during a planning period, people start to talk that you don't have enough to do and maybe you don't need a planning period. It's almost like they would rather see you running around like crazy, swearing at the copy machine making 100 copies at the last minute for your next class...

            Fortunately, for me, poeple started to see that it was more a matter of organization. I was lucky enough to have people ask me how is it that all my stuff gets done on time, and I'm rarely in a panic about getting things done. I just tell them about how I've organized myself with this great time management system and it really works well for me. (If they want details, then I'll tell them, if not then I just stop there.) I've developed a reputation as a well organized person and someone who can get things done.

            But, that first perception can be misleading sometimes.

            Comment


            • #7
              I recently start in a new job, where people need GTD Police. So imagine, this GTD guy comes in relax, no run no stress and asking for folders (even the lady that handles the materials ask me what I do to the folders)

              I start leaving my File Folder open, my clean inbox open, and other visible GTD indicatives.

              In less than a week, people think what happen is that i am super organize (that it is a lie), but it is fine. No one has doubts if I am a slacker or not.

              So my recomendation in this point is SHOW, SHOW your inner things, bring your Agenda list in Paper, so they can see (out of the planner) bring your folders labeled, do not hide your GTD...

              Comment


              • #8
                Empty inbox problem

                I have a similar problem at work where I'm viewed as a slacker if I have an empty inbox. I work in a room with 3 other people and we can all see each other's screens. We all receive 100-150 emails a day, and I religiously deal with each email as it comes in, either responding to it, filing it or putting it into an action folder/WF folder etc, as I like to keep my inbox empty and be on top of things. However, I've picked up that it's seen as not the done thing to have an empty inbox. Others have 1000-2000 read emails sitting in their inbox, and they scoff at people with few emails in their inbox, ie 'so and so only has 200 emails in their inbox - what do they do all day? They obviously don't have enough work'. It's almost a macho thing to have so many emails there. I've taken to keeping a false 'base' of 500 old emails in my inbox just sitting there almost like an overdraft, and when I get down to 500 emails I know that really my inbox is really 'empty' for my GTD purposes. Pathetic isn't it?

                Comment


                • #9
                  I always heard that the way to make yourself look indispensible is to walk fast while looking at a clipboard or a handful of papers, then check your watch nervously and then walk faster!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Heh. Actually, I have found it true that, when I walk around with a clipboard--even if I don't look at it--nobody approaches to talk to me. Interesting little conditioned response.

                    Anyvay. Great advice here! While there are many possible results to this scenario, a few highly likely ones pop to my mind:

                    1) You produce results, which impresses people sufficiently that they don't mind your apparent speed.

                    2) People ignore your results and focus on your apparent speed. This would push me to find new people to work with.

                    3) People become confused about your apparent speed and your actual results. In this case, educating your co-workers would decrease their confusion. I love apinaud's advice to make your system highly visible, thus making it clearer to your co-workers of the source of your results. Even if they don't understand the system, they'll understand that a system is in place that causes your results.

                    Of course, real life is complicated, so reality will probably be a combination of the above and many other things.

                    Best of luck, though! Great question.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      looking as busy as the others

                      I print out my Outlook calendar in weekly format, with the task list printed on the right side. Completed items remain on the task list for several days after having been completed, but crossed out--in purple, red , or blue ink. And there are often notes scribbled in the little daily boxes or in the margin with arrows pointing to daily box (such as "print agenda" pointing to a meeting, or a phone number pointing to an appointment). Thei calendar is ALWAYS on top of whatever papers or books I am carrying, so others can see it.

                      The idea of an office white board or blackboard with tasks, projets, or goals on it is good. It keeps you aware of what you are doing, and lets visitors know it too.

                      Rachel

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Perception vs. Reality

                        Originally posted by Francesca101 View Post
                        I have a similar problem at work where I'm viewed as a slacker if I have an empty inbox. I work in a room with 3 other people and we can all see each other's screens. We all receive 100-150 emails a day, and I religiously deal with each email as it comes in, either responding to it, filing it or putting it into an action folder/WF folder etc, as I like to keep my inbox empty and be on top of things. However, I've picked up that it's seen as not the done thing to have an empty inbox. Others have 1000-2000 read emails sitting in their inbox, and they scoff at people with few emails in their inbox, ie 'so and so only has 200 emails in their inbox - what do they do all day? They obviously don't have enough work'. It's almost a macho thing to have so many emails there. I've taken to keeping a false 'base' of 500 old emails in my inbox just sitting there almost like an overdraft, and when I get down to 500 emails I know that really my inbox is really 'empty' for my GTD purposes. Pathetic isn't it?
                        This is all-to-common yet extremely disturbing. My recommendation would be to only have your e-mail open when doing your processing. Work with your calendar and task list open so that they can see your system and that you are working proactively instead of reactively. Its amazing the difference working from the calendar view can have on your own perceptions...

                        From a higher altitude perspective, it seems to me that you have a huge opportunity. You don't mention whether this "slacker" attitude is coming from management or from your peers. If it's simply from your peers I wouldn't worry too much about it. If it's from your management you'll need to be a little more creative about how you approach things.

                        The key point is that regardless of what your peers think, and to a lesser degree what your management thinks, the only ones who count, your customers don't really want to see crisis management. They'd rather work with the person who shows up with the work done on time, under budget, and with exceptional quality and care. Ultimately the customer is king. If you're management understands this in 6-12 months you should be looking at a promotion. If not your customers will and a better job opportunity outside the company is probably not far away.

                        Good luck!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jpm View Post
                          This is all-to-common yet extremely disturbing. My recommendation would be to only have your e-mail open when doing your processing. Work with your calendar and task list open so that they can see your system and that you are working proactively instead of reactively. Its amazing the difference working from the calendar view can have on your own perceptions...

                          From a higher altitude perspective, it seems to me that you have a huge opportunity. You don't mention whether this "slacker" attitude is coming from management or from your peers. If it's simply from your peers I wouldn't worry too much about it. If it's from your management you'll need to be a little more creative about how you approach things.

                          The key point is that regardless of what your peers think, and to a lesser degree what your management thinks, the only ones who count, your customers don't really want to see crisis management. They'd rather work with the person who shows up with the work done on time, under budget, and with exceptional quality and care. Ultimately the customer is king. If you're management understands this in 6-12 months you should be looking at a promotion. If not your customers will and a better job opportunity outside the company is probably not far away.

                          Good luck!
                          It gets more complicated when your job has slapped the two words of death on your job description; "Customer Service". Now you are required to keep your e-mail open all the time and be available by phone (in my position I have to wear a long range wireless headset". What do you do then?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If answering customer e-mails is your job, then you have to keep your e-mail client open and take care of those e-mails. Period.

                            I would say, what other work do you have that's getting in the way of answering those e-mails, and how can you get rid of it?

                            (I also suspect that you could take five-minute breaks from e-mail every half hour or so, and get other things done during those breaks.)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Brent View Post
                              If answering customer e-mails is your job, then you have to keep your e-mail client open and take care of those e-mails. Period.

                              I would say, what other work do you have that's getting in the way of answering those e-mails, and how can you get rid of it?

                              (I also suspect that you could take five-minute breaks from e-mail every half hour or so, and get other things done during those breaks.)
                              What are some ways to get rid of repeating busy work?

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X