You have priority work scheduled on your calendar. You have carved out time when not in meetings to get some work done. Yet urgent issues keep finding their way to your office. Sound familiar?
That’s the life of anyone in management, especially in large complex organizations. And it’s a challenge these days as our new Stony Brook Medicine CIO and I try to get through a three-week transition period. The outline of what I need to cover with her is four pages long. And I keep adding more items.
We are ending week two. By next week, I should be in far fewer meetings as she handles them without me. I should be able to finish my tasks as part of the transition and organize my paper and electronic files to turn over to her. I know she doesn’t like paper, so I’ll be ruthless as I purge and give her only the most important paper files.
We’ve done our best to block out some chunks of time together to get through everything.
But when we sit down together to go over the next block of information, we often end up first dealing with the latest requests and issues. What started as a focused two-hours is suddenly half gone.
What have I learned? Continue reading
Spoiler alert! I don’t have the answer either and want to learn from others.
I remember the old days before email: we relied on talking to each other and on written communications that came on paper. On the day before a vacation I would finalize reports, make copies, and stuff them into inter-office envelopes after I’d taken care of all my follow-up phone calls. Now on the day before vacation I have to get through all the email that can’t wait another week and generate new ones as I work through my to-do list.
It seems endless. Everyone complains about too much email. Can’t we just shut it off? No, it’s the way we work now and there’s no going back.
Here are some of my tips:
Triage – I quickly scan for priority emails by subject, who it’s from and importance (some people actually use those flags as intended). Deal with what you have to in as timely a manner as possible. Continue reading