Is there anything I can do better to get more tasks done, increase my knowledge with all I have going on, and become more effective?

I’ve listened to the podcasts on calendar/time management, and also the ones on massive workload increases, etc, but I am still struggling with task management and completion.

I can get up 80+ emails a day, which is probably not a lot but the majority of which require some research and collaboration.  I have also been tasked with learning SQL to pull data because our tech resources have been depleted.  I report to a senior staff member who also requires data pulls.  Directors also come to me for data pulls.  I get open records requests I have to pull data for. 

On top of that, I am trying to move many technology changes through my organization to meet state and federal requirements.  Also I have a team of 5 the does much of the data error clean up and they communicate with me quite frequently as they should.  I also work to resolve their issues as well, which can be around 4-8 issues a day.  Sometimes they are quick ones, other times they are hour type issues.

So I am working on a problem, or am in a meeting, which can be frequently, the emails get backed up quickly, 600+ unread currently.  I still process all high priority, supervisor/higher-ups and emails to my tech department.  I also ensure the data collections get done, which are my job priorities.  I fell 2 miles wide and about a centimeter deep at times.

On top of this, I have about a foot of material I need to read and be conversant in.  (I was hired into a new field which I do not know, but all the gov’t policies and programs I need to learn, but I’m just treading water so it’s difficult to get caught up on the foot of material I need to read, much less get ahead.)

My boss seems happy with my performance.  My annual review was good.

Maybe this is just an hours thing, I put in around 42-48 hrs a week but I think my work / life balance is good because I have some responsibilities outside of work.  So, I seem to be meeting my major priorities, my work / life balance seems good, but I feel ineffectual. 

Every day is like a process of ‘what’s the most important thing for me to do right now.”  My calendar is set up per Manager-Tool Guidance, but it gets frequently busted when tech issue comes up or a data request comes from a high priority.  I frequently catch myself having about 15 windows open going back and forth from item to item trying to put out fires.

My GTD inbox itself is about 6 inches high.  There is so much to do in my job, I do work hard all day and I’m spent in the evening.

Is this a typical place to be?  Do I need to man up an just work more?  It seems like I should be more effective.  Is there anything I can do better?

Thanks for your help.

scm2423's picture
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I think this is a common problem for people who are new to management roles.  For years you have been responsible for doing the work so you are used to doing it.  Now that you are a manager you are responsible for making sure the work gets done.  Use your team; delegate where you can.  Look for opportunities to develop your people so they can take more on.  




mfculbert's picture

 If you are working well, the first year on ANY new job is totally overwhelming. There is so much to learn and so many new people to connect with. By the fourth or fifth year you begin to feel comfortable. Hopefully you will be promoted to a new position before that happens.

It certainly sounds like you are approaching things well. Have a very open discussion with your manager. Paper documents may not show the full picture of your successes and failures. There is a podcast called "Self Development Informal 360" which will give you a way to start the conversation. It helped me a lot this year.



mjninc's picture

Thank you both.  I know my post was long and I appreciate you both taking your time to read it.  This makes me feel better and I intend to check out the podcast you recommended.  Also, thank you to Mike and Mark for Manager-Tools!  I don't think I would have this job without your Interviewing series.

John808's picture

Consider taking a speed reading course either online or in-person.  Like you, I've got lots of email and material to read.  It takes practice but really helps my productivity.