Posted in Friday, Personal Observations, Work

#Friday 19.0: Signs that work is overwhelming you

Each week I will (try and) share a small segment of something useful I learnt. While this is for my own amusement I hope it resonates with my lovely readers.

Different jobs, same triggers?

My official job title is Project Manager and it’s a field I’ve been in for over 18 years. In the last few years the intensity of my projects has increased i.e. more high profile, difficult clients and contracts filled with penalties for missed obligations. Every so often I’ll pick up a project and those initial months of setup riddle me with dread; it happens every time. It’s an overwhelming feeling which, over time does go away. It’s a mixture of re-building your confidence each time and not trying to take it personally..

In a recent project I’ve been experiencing the same feelings regardless of the wealth of knowledge I have accumulated. You may, in your industry suffer from the same triggers of being overwhelmed.

Lack of focus on conversations at home start etching their way into your dialog. I can hear the voice coming in my direction but it’s being blocked. Noise that’s blocking those conversations is my mind preoccupied with something about work. STOP! Identify what actually is creating that noise and openly talk to a work colleague or your manager. It may be that you are overloaded or think you can’t cope with the new challenge.

You’re not able to pull away from the laptop and find yourself engrossed while trying to half listen to the conversation. If that happens, stop typing! No one wants to talk to half an eyeball. A tunnel vision approach will only block out those at home and bubble up frustrations.

Clock watching while having lunch because you feel every minute lost munching is time lost not working on something. Food is fuel for the mind and body and you must take time out. My approach has always been to block out lunchtime in my diary as a private appointment. Appreciate this will be different for everyone depending on the job they do. But remember, lunch is a given right which for some reason we are too inclined to give up.

You are smiling less around the house because you can’t get a work problem out of your mind. Or you are already thinking about the possible repercussions of things failing and what the fallout is going to look like. I think my kids and wife have noticed I have not been chirpy recently, and that’s a personality trait I definitely don’t want to transition into. Take a positive approach and try not worrying about what may or may not happen. Something my manager told me the other day – people say you are judged on your last project and performance. Bullshit! Think of it as “what did I learn from that last piece of work”. If things begin to tumble, it’s not the end of the world, this stupid virus hasn’t ended it so what is work in comparison!

If you still can’t wipe the blues, time for a change

Recently my sister and I had a similar conversation about work and the constant pressures. While I have enjoyed the last 18 years in this industry, I can’t see myself signing out with it. I do personally feel a change is on the horizon, career change for that matter. There will definitely be financial ramifications but one must balance the choice between income and sanity.

Stay safe, stay healthy

Posted in Blogging, Work

Lost and Found – a Forgotten Blog

A Semi-Intro

When I was growing up there was a TV programme in the UK, in the 80’s, about finding long lost relatives (I didn’t watch the recent series hosted by Davina). A member of the public, who would have written in to come on the show, would re-tell a sad story of how they got separated from a family member.  As the viewer you knew what was coming, my eyes would always begin to well up.  Then the screen would part, with the long lost family member walking through.  Tears flowed all round – happy ending.

And so the link to this post?

Last week I embarked on a mission to clean up my categories for this blog.  Meticulously, I clicked each category and assessed each post, making any necessary changes.  500 clicks later my eyes welled up Continue reading “Lost and Found – a Forgotten Blog”

Posted in Work

How a Simple Fold can keep you Organised

My job means a huge proportion of my time chairing face-to-face meetings, conference calls and  workshops related to the projects I am managing.  Naturally, these entail taking down information either for reporting purposes, for progress or pending actions (no I am not a minute taker, that is a tough job, I tried it once in the absence of our Project Officer and failed miserably).

Anyway, take your average week of this and you have pages of notes and actions and has you know, it becomes very difficult somtimes to spot the action amongst the forest of notes, which can mean you miss something vital off.  So I devised a very easy method, appreciate it will be in use by someone somewhere else, I was just too slow to realise.

Fold the page down the middle and separate notes and actions – Bingo, you can pick the actions off because they are on the right hand side, now nothing get’s missed.

Now here’s the best bit, today, I walked over to our PMO (Project Management Office) and guess what, two of my colleagues now employ the same method as me, they told me they liked the idea and works for them.  I have now contributed something to the world, I have a legacy, my life is not a waste!

How do you organise yourself?

Posted in Work

Free Range: Doesn’t just have to apply to Animals!

Rest assured, this post is not about Farming or how to best keep your chickens, however the whole notion around Free Range sparked an idea while I was at work.  For a quick definition, Free Range refers to animals that have been allowed to roam free, instead of being contained within a restricted area, thus impacting on their state of mind and welfare.  You can normally spot the various Free Range logo’s on your food items, in turn making you feel happier that the animal was allowed to walk around freely, ponder, think creatively before becoming an item on your plate (I am not a veggie in case you were wondering).  Well I was thinking, maybe we should include a similar logo within our signatures…why you ask? Continue reading “Free Range: Doesn’t just have to apply to Animals!”

Posted in Work

When email replaces conversations…to save bacon

One of the key aspects of my job is to manage activities that involve multiple teams, to manage their times and expectations.  So naturally, email plays a vital role in communicating with those respective teams.  However, what do you do when the corporate culture includes talking more via email and less via phone, even when you are in an open plan office? Continue reading “When email replaces conversations…to save bacon”