Submitted by benepaul on
I suppose I am a like a lot of other managers that use time during the weekends to catch up on emails, finish projects or either plan or make adjustments to my schedule for the coming week. I usually use 2-3 hours either on Saturday or Sunday mornings before the family wakes up.
I am curious to know if other managers do the same and if so what they specifically work on to either help to get ahead or to get caught up. I have been putting a lot of focus on my schedule in the hopes that instead of the time spent on work during the weekends I am using that time for personal development.
I am not looking for a sliver bullet but some suggestions to get me in the right path to be more effective with my time during the week so I can avoid the hours spent during the weekends. Sometimes I think that it maybe an unrealistic dream of being able to avoid work during the weekends, but if I can drop it to one hour from three I'd be happy.
Thursday not Friday
I aim to clear down email daily (Inbox Zero) before I go home. And I prep for the next day every day. (Book a 1/2 hr or 1 hr to do this)
I aim to have my current week wrapped up and my next week prepped by Thursday before I go home. (Book an hour to do this). This gives me the Friday buffer if required.
I only spend the weekend catching up usually if i've been on training or all day workshops that throw me off during the week. And if I am catching up on the weekend, I only do this after I get all my personal stuff out of the way. Then its a max of 2 hours clearing down emails and prepping for the following week. Time boxed - always.
You can always delegate more if you have directs. Look for the juggling koan podcast.
In my day to day work,
In my day to day work, interruptions are the norm. It's not the best situation, but I find myself spending big pieces of my normal workday dealing with the "urgent but not important" type stuff. It might be urgent for the person who's interrupting me, but it's not what I'm really supposed to be spending my time on, and I feel like I can't focus on the things that really need my attention while all the other STUFF is happening throughout the day.
Until I get better at compartmentalizing all that stuff (and I need to!), I find that I need to take some time on weekends/evenings, because it gives me the chunks of uninterrupted time where I can focus on things that are on MY critical path - the kind of stuff that can't be done in the 5 minutes I have between meetings. I'm in a software development shop, so typically that would be things like reading up on project proposals and providing feedback and estimates, assigning the right people to the right projects, reviewing deliverables created by my team, etc.
There is a podcast...
Have you listened to the podcasts on "Time Management:"
and calendar management:
Thanks everyone for the comments and suggestions. Anandha you have steered me in the right direction. For the past 5 years or so my priorities and focus have revolved around work, that was especially the case in 2008 and 2009, when the those who were fortunate enough to retain their positions were just grateful to have a job. Now I want to refocus. I have missed to many nights with my kids and wife and I just plain miss being with them.
I have been using MT to help organize myself and team and one of the nice side effects has been that I found that little by little I am seeing some chunks of time where I feel I can organize not only my work life but my personal life as well. I work in an environment much like Maura's where there are a lot of interruptions. I have been working on making my schedule and keeping to it and all the while letting people know my schedule. I make my schedule public which gives me that much more determination to meet my deadlines.
I have gotten in the habit of prompting people even if they are peers with my boss when I know they will be asking something from me. That has been hard to do, but I think of the long days when I just knew someone was going to throw something on my desk at 4:00 pm and I didn't ask for it earlier. A simple, "Hey Kev, I leave at 4:00 so if you would like me to get that done for you I'd appreciate having it by 2:00" has worked like a charm.
I have a long ways to go and a lot more to learn but I finally feel like I am moving in the right direction.
Jack - Thanks for the podcast suggestions, those are some oldies but goldies. I kick myself knowing that MT has been around for this long and I have been missing out on the great advice.
Weekend work isn't the problem.
I feel your pain, and I have done what you're doing now before.
What I've learned is that weekend work isnt' the problem...lack of focus on priorities during the week IS. Start trying to go home at a set time each day, or a couple of days, and work like hell to be done by then. You'll be amazed how much you can do.
Do that enough, and you can have your weekends back.
And, you can just STOP working on weekends. If there are no ill effects... oops. Problem solved.