Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Time Management Tuesday: How Are You Going To Get It Done?

Thanks to a Facebook Friend, I was able to read When the Work-Life Scales Are Unequal at the New York Times this past weekend. This article deals with people struggling with the boundary between work time and personal time, only these people work for others, not themselves, in jobs where they have assigned work and supervisors to report to. In some work places, employees can flex their time with other employees or arrange for others to fill in for them when their family responsibilities start intruding into their work responsibilities. The article makes clear that this is easier said than done.

Those of us who work for ourselves don't have co-workers to help out when family problems erupt or even when we'd like to be part of family events that require some of our work time. How could anything in that When the Work-Life Scales Are Unequal article help us? Check out the following paragraph, which appears on the second page:

"So what should an employee tell the boss when life bumps up against the job? “I think the default is to focus on, ‘Where am I going?’ ” says Ms. Yost, who has advised the United Nations, Microsoft and Johnson & Johnson, among others, on flexible work strategies. “Instead, employees should focus on, ‘How am I going to get my job done?’ ”"

That attitude shift could be key to helping us deal with our constantly changing situations. When confronted with a personal time flare-up, instead of focusing on "Oh, my gosh! I can't work!" (which is what I tend to do), we can focus on how we're going to get whatever we have to do done in this particular situation. This will work better when we know what we have to do. What do I have to do, and how can I chip away at this job in whatever units of time I can find?  Having a fallback plan ready might help, too. Researching markets for publishing and marketing might have been on a back burner while working on an a big writing project. Short increments of research can become your fallback work when dealing with a sick family member or other kind of family event.

"How am I going to get my job done?" I'm embarrassed that I didn't think of it before.

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