Hi everyone

I'm in a situation at work at the moment where I'm managing 4 very large and complex projects with a to-do list of hundreds of items, all with the deadline 'ASAP' (welcome to the club I hear you mumble). 

Unfortunately I don't have any directs, so delegation is not an option, although I do try delegate to colleagues where possible (if I can persuade them to fulfil my requests). 

The problem is that I know that not everything is going to get done because there just isn't enough hours in the day. Even if I could work 24 hours solid every day for the next month it still wouldn't clear down the list of tasks to be completed. 

Asking for some directs is not an option at the moment due to the economic situation. 

Does any one have any advice for this situation or point me in the right direction? Has this been mentioned in any casts? (I've been subscribed for over 2 years, but I don't remember this specific issue ever coming up). 

I look forward to reading your responses... 

bug_girl's picture

That is pretty much my job, too. As we lay people off, more and more of their work ends up on my desk.

What I've been doing is asking for help prioritizing what absolutely has to come first with my boss.  I have requested (and gotten) reassignment of some of our support staff for some of the lower level tasks, which has helped.  There I just pointed out that per hour, they were much cheaper than me :)

I also break each projects in to component parts and set small goals for each day and a weekly goal.  That way it's less overwhelming.

I also have had to accept that things will not get done, or they will not get done in a way that I find acceptable. It makes me frustrated, but there isn't much else I can do.


paffett1069's picture

 I'm not sure if it will help, but I would suggest listening to the Juggling Koan podcast again if you haven't already.  I should probably go back and listen to it again myself.  I have a hard time saying no to my boss and he often comes to me for too many oddball projects because of it.

jhack's picture

Let your boss know what's getting done, when.  And what's not.  

That means you need to have a list of everything that needs to get done, who's doing it, and when they've committed to getting it done.  If you don't have commitments, then you need to ask for them.  Don't let folks off the hook.  If they won't commit, then that item is listed as "unassigned" with no completion date, and you put a comment next it that you recommend so-and-so but you haven't got a commitment from them.  

Follow bug_girl's advice and go over that list with your boss, so you agree on priorities.  

Ultimately, it's better to get one project 100% done than four projects 25% complete.   

John Hack