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New to GTD and love it, but now I hate everybody!

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  • New to GTD and love it, but now I hate everybody!

    David mentions this phenomenon briefly in part 3 of the book: now that I'm organised, have a full overview, and never drop the ball, I'm frustrated with others who don't prioritise properly and forget things.

    I don't really hate everybody, but my boss has been annoying the beans out of me lately. We share IT support and maintenance tasks where I work, but he has the final say in what gets worked on and when. His decisions are all knee-jerk, his office space is full of stacks of paper and scraps of notes, and his email inbox has over 5000 mails in it - as was mine before I did the big collection and processing bonanza back in december (though I had only a 2 foot high stack in my paper inbox, and *only* 2500 mails in my email inbox). To make matters worse, he's a volunteer fireman on the side (and anyone who knows or is related to a firefighter knows, they looove putting out fires). What I'm getting at is that the prioritising of work to be done in our little IT department is determined by the height of the flames, not by preemptive planning.

    I'm sick of it. This past week has been hard, and I have been on the verge of losing it several times. I had been given so many relatively unimportant and impromptu tasks to do (while he was working on more of the same) that by thursday I had to force him to sit still for fifteen minutes so I could show him a sampling of my projects list. I chose about 10 things that were only days away from being overdue, and things that were about to explode. Before we had even gotten through 3 of them (and after he'd yelled at me for wasting time trying to prioritise our departments tasks - that's his job) his phone rang. The file server was full. Again. The sad irony is that point 6 on my list was "Fix file server disk space problems", which he had forgotten about, and for which I had a next action that I could never complete, because he was constantly giving me "important" tasks that had to be done right away. He wasted half an hour patching it with gum and duct tape (i.e. it's gonna fill up again soon), and by the time he finished with that I had to leave for an appointment.

    He did say that we need a shared overview of all the projects in the department, and a support ticketting system, but how am I supposed to share such a system with an oaf who can't even manage his own work?

    Oh that felt good to vent I feel really stuck here - I like my job a lot, but boss never sits still long enough to have any kind of discussion, and I feel that if I were to talk to anybody else at the office about this that I'd either be making him look bad, or going over his head.

    Has anyone else had similar experiences? How to cope?!

  • #2
    I posted a while back about this sort of things with my boss. I kept plugging away at implementing black belt GTD and he noted that I was one of two people he could completely trust to get work done well and on time.

    Earlier this week, he shared that he had just purchased "Making It All Work" and had been reading it. In fact, in a major project review meeting, as we discussed a certain call he would need to make, he grabbed his BlackBerry and said, "Hey, if you can do it in less than two minutes..." and smiled broadly and placed the call right there in the meeting!

    Keep working on your implementation, be willing to be open about your projects with your boss so you keep your sanity, and just give it time.

    Comment


    • #3
      Same feeling with my boss and the entire organization. Constant change of focus. I've already complained last year that it was not allowing me to deliver a consistent level of productivity. The first month of this year has been dreadful, it was so bad that I crashed last week and is taking some time off, to clean my head and avoid a more dramatic "burn out".

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by rexpo View Post
        Has anyone else had similar experiences? How to cope?!
        I had. You say that you keep everything perfectly organized due to GTD. That's your advantage. I presume that you do everything that's on your side perfect, and if anything is overdue then it's your boss's fault, not yours. So whenever your boss is ranting simply explain to him whose the fault is.

        You don't have to say that directly. Just let him know that you have him on your waiting list and the project in question isn't moving forward because it's awaiting his decision on it.

        And the last thing - try to be forgiving to people. I'm sure your boss, though not very good in GTD, is very good at other things. Being a firefighter, for example. That's very honorable a profession, by the way, saving people's lives.

        In my opinion, GTD is all about perfecting yourself, not forcing other people into the right way of things.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Conrad Sallian View Post
          And the last thing - try to be forgiving to people. I'm sure your boss, though not very good in GTD, is very good at other things. Being a firefighter, for example. That's very honorable a profession, by the way, saving people's lives
          Very true, he is good at many things - thanks for the reminder

          My cousin is married to a firefighter, who once said "you can always tell who the firefighters are at the scene of a fire - not by their uniforms, but by their huge smiles". Very cool and very reassuring to know!

          I didn't mean to knock firefighters as such, lord knows I am personally very thankful for them in more ways than one. I just felt it illustrated his approach to work, and my work situation quite well.

          Comment


          • #6
            Well look, at least if there's ever a fire where you work your boss can GFD (get fires done!)

            Don't have first hand experience here so i'm just putting myself in your shows for a minute, but what I would do, is, quit.

            No just kidding. I have no idea. Make future plans to be your own boss. Thats what i did.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by NewbGTD View Post
              Don't have first hand experience here so i'm just putting myself in your shows for a minute, but what I would do, is, quit.
              That's a good recommendation. I would have recommended that myself if I hadn't known that leaving your day job for your own business may not be as easy to do as you need to eat something every day and pay your rent monthly.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Conrad Sallian View Post
                I would have recommended that myself if I hadn't known that leaving your day job for your own business may not be as easy to do as you need to eat something every day and pay your rent monthly.
                OTOH it may point out that a longer term goal is to become your own boss and that could then be broken down into a series of projects to move you towards that goal.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
                  OTOH it may point out that a longer term goal is to become your own boss and that could then be broken down into a series of projects to move you towards that goal.
                  That's true. Although it really adds a lot of stress as you need to 'work after work' when you come home from the office in the evening. It's not a complaint, just a fact.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Lest anyone think....

                    There are many benefits to working for yourself, but there are many drawbacks too. Just for instance, how are you at sales? Most people don't think about that. It's not for everyone, that's for sure.

                    And you STILL have to put up with people that procrastinate..but this time they are your CLIENTS.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Barb View Post
                      There are many benefits to working for yourself, but there are many drawbacks too. Just for instance, how are you at sales? Most people don't think about that. It's not for everyone, that's for sure.

                      And you STILL have to put up with people that procrastinate..but this time they are your CLIENTS.
                      The reason most people don't like sales is probably because they are sometimes forced to sell useless things (or services) to other people. Or because of not-so-pleasant methods they [are forced to] use such as cold calling.

                      Saying 'forced' I mean forced by their bosses at their day jobs. However, if you do your own business and you believe in your product/service and sell it not because you are starving, but because you like to make people happier - then there should be no problems. It's as possible to learn how to sell, as it is to learn how to do any other thing. You aren't born a good salesperson, you become it.

                      And of course, marketing - the be-all and end-all of any business. It can be learnt too.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The world is littered with Consultants and others that thought they could do it...and didn't succeed. I'm glad you're successful ( I am too) but many are not.

                        Just my two cents...the point being, being self employed isn't as easy as one might think it is.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by GTDWorks View Post
                          Keep working on your implementation, be willing to be open about your projects with your boss so you keep your sanity, and just give it time.
                          Thanks for the reassuring words.

                          I have decided to suggest that we have weekly meetings where I will, among other things, show him my projects. I think the trick is going to be to get him to also consider the low-priority projects (i.e. ones that aren't on fire yet), and explain to him that all I'm concerned with is the next action.

                          In other news, I've discovered that Getting Things Done has been translated to Norwegian, and I just ordered a copy - just in case

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            @ the OP: same story here - word-for-word in fact! I'm also in IT support. You could have been typing my story there (except for the "me being 100%" part - I still have a little way to go).

                            I also am thinking, for the first time in my life quite seriously, about going self-employed. My father made a bit of a mess of doing that, but I am much better organised than he will ever be.

                            I'm considering this route after reading a posting from someone on the Motley Fool financial forum: "I have only ever invested in myself". I am beginning to find that I am liking, trusting and respecting the company I work for less and less, and that I would rather be in charge of my own destiny.

                            Good luck with your situation: only you have the power to change your own universe.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The Manager's Central Task

                              Peter Drucker, the father of modern management, said, "The manager's central task is working with people." His view was that spending 10-15 minutes with a manager was just not enough time. It takes about an hour for the manager to discover how it's going?, what issues are being faced?, what plans are going well?, is there anything not going to well?

                              It takes time to discuss, analyze and plan. You have to be able to think through what should be be done and why. It should be done in a leisurely environment where both parties are not rushed in the discussion.


                              Originally posted by rexpo View Post
                              David mentions this phenomenon briefly in part 3 of the book: now that I'm organised, have a full overview, and never drop the ball, I'm frustrated with others who don't prioritise properly and forget things.

                              I don't really hate everybody, but my boss has been annoying the beans out of me lately. We share IT support and maintenance tasks where I work, but he has the final say in what gets worked on and when. His decisions are all knee-jerk, his office space is full of stacks of paper and scraps of notes, and his email inbox has over 5000 mails in it - as was mine before I did the big collection and processing bonanza back in december (though I had only a 2 foot high stack in my paper inbox, and *only* 2500 mails in my email inbox). To make matters worse, he's a volunteer fireman on the side (and anyone who knows or is related to a firefighter knows, they looove putting out fires). What I'm getting at is that the prioritising of work to be done in our little IT department is determined by the height of the flames, not by preemptive planning.

                              I'm sick of it. This past week has been hard, and I have been on the verge of losing it several times. I had been given so many relatively unimportant and impromptu tasks to do (while he was working on more of the same) that by thursday I had to force him to sit still for fifteen minutes so I could show him a sampling of my projects list. I chose about 10 things that were only days away from being overdue, and things that were about to explode. Before we had even gotten through 3 of them (and after he'd yelled at me for wasting time trying to prioritise our departments tasks - that's his job) his phone rang. The file server was full. Again. The sad irony is that point 6 on my list was "Fix file server disk space problems", which he had forgotten about, and for which I had a next action that I could never complete, because he was constantly giving me "important" tasks that had to be done right away. He wasted half an hour patching it with gum and duct tape (i.e. it's gonna fill up again soon), and by the time he finished with that I had to leave for an appointment.

                              He did say that we need a shared overview of all the projects in the department, and a support ticketting system, but how am I supposed to share such a system with an oaf who can't even manage his own work?

                              Oh that felt good to vent I feel really stuck here - I like my job a lot, but boss never sits still long enough to have any kind of discussion, and I feel that if I were to talk to anybody else at the office about this that I'd either be making him look bad, or going over his head.

                              Has anyone else had similar experiences? How to cope?!

                              Comment

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