Leadership

Why don't you get anything done?

Lots of stuff pops up in the middle of the day to keep you from getting things accomplished. Take the poll and see what the main thing is that creates roadblocks for other TechRepublic members.

Lots of stuff pops up in the middle of the day to keep you from getting things accomplished. Take the poll and see what the main thing is that creates roadblocks for other TechRepublic members.

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Ever have one of those days that when you get to the end of it you're driving home wondering why nothing ever gets done? You're an IT leader -- a person of power and persuasion who's supposed to be accomplishing great things. But, at the end of the day, nothing gets done. Why?

Sometimes the problem is in the mirror. Stuff doesn't get done because we just put it off. Decisions are either difficult, unpleasant, or just not a lot of fun. There's always some other convenient distraction that can be made a "priority." So you just schluff it off to another day.

Other times, you try your hardest, but there's something or someone else in the way. There's never enough staff or money. Incompetence or indifference from upper management limits your power to be able to implement your ideas. You're faced with buggy software or features that just aren't where you need them to be.

What's your problem?

There are probably a combination of things that are acting as blockades to the decisions and plans that you've made. Take the poll below and see what your main blocker is compared to other TechRepublic members and sound off in Comments:

33 comments
steve
steve

No one has commented on this yet, but its getting some hits in the poll. As a lifetime system admin, what I do is make changes. I've done the ITIL foundation certificate and there is some good stuff there, but every implementation I have seen has hit productivity hard. CAB meetings waste everyone's time for an hour, but if you don't turn up your change doesn't happen. It takes 2 hours of documentation and wrangling the change management system to put your change up, and then it can't go ahead because some idiot manager whose team is peripherally involved didn't give it the tick before the deadline. Get out of the way and let me DO MY JOB!

TtFH
TtFH

It's all TR's fault!

Datacommguy
Datacommguy

While all of the optional answers apply at one time or another, the primary answer here is that management's frequent and abrupt shuffling of project priorities has conditioned me to hold off on doing much of anything as I wait for the current project to abandoned or shelved so we can concentrate on the newest - or newly reclassified - priority project. In the second case, enough time has usually gone by and assigned personnel have changed so we effectively end up abandoning whatever was originally done and start over each time. So, yes, I can point my finger at management, but I've also got to admit that I'm part of the problem.

GSG
GSG

I am constantly getting interrupted. If someone doesn't know how to do something, they usually come to me first. On the one hand, that makes me feel good, because my co-workers realize that I have a wide range of knowledge. On the other hand, I'm doing some fairly delicate work right now, and for every interruption, I have to stop and take stock of where I left off, and where I was going. Sometimes that takes as much as 10 minutes to do. So, the door is shut, the lights are low, and the music is playing. I hope that by picking something most of the others hate to listen to, that they'll run away from my office. It's not everyone who'll voluntarily listen to an Opera singer. Edited to add: They are also doing construction directly underneath my office. I have to listen to them yell, curse, and tell in great detail about the hottie they picked up the night before and exactly what they did with her. Ewww. And when they are using equipment that makes all the stuff on my desk vibrate and fall off, it's difficult to get any work done. 2 more months of this.

AV .
AV .

There isn't enough people to handle projects and daily support. I think the survey supports that. If you have 2 people to support 150 people, as is the case where I work, there isn't enough time to do anything but daily support. Sure, you might get a day or 2 to work on something worthwhile, but it isn't often. AV

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Dang customers keep breaking stuff so I have to go fix it. How am I expected to be productive under those kind of conditions?

UAS_staff
UAS_staff

face-to-face interactions with computer users throughout the day continually interrupt my train of thought

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Because I waste all day farting around on Tech Republic.

shellyanne
shellyanne

At one point or the other, each of those answers is applicable.

isapp
isapp

I could get twice the amount of work done if I weren't constantly being interrupted. I've always said that our company doesn't do crisis management, it has management by crisis. Whatever hits my desk last, is what I have to work on first. It's insane. Our "leadership team" (and I use the term loosely) can't look farther ahead than the end of the day. Music works, although we're headbangers, not opera fans. If the background noise of computer fans, printers, and ringing phones doesn't chase people out, then AC/DC and Metallica will. Thank goodness for Heavy Metal!

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

I wrote a bunch of easy to understand 'How To's' Then when people called, I shoot off an email with an attachment. About 1/2 are smart enough to make an attempt at fixing it themselves. The other 1/2 are the people who freak out way too often and way too early (oh no, this is an emergency, I moved the cursor in word. I dont want it there, quick, you gotta come by and fix it!!!!!!) :^0 -- ok, a little exaggeration there

Shellbot
Shellbot

:( As I dig into a piece of work I was SUSPOSED to have completed LAST week, my boss comes to me with other work which is more important...and i have to set everything else aside..been here like 3 months, and my number 1 priority has not even been touched yet as "other" stuff always becomes more important.. Feel like I'm running on a wheel..never getting anywhere..I've got so many projects "in progress" its not funny. At the end of the day I don't care, because when I say "its not done because YOU took me off it", my boss seems to be ok with it..now if he ever starts getting narky with me, then I'll lay down the law..

SmilieTM
SmilieTM

I work for a school. I'm a developer, system administrator, designer and helpdesk technician. With the start up of school this month, the help desk has been busy. I've given up on trying to get my development projects done during the day. I have to work on them after hours because the damn phone won't stop ringing long enough for me to get anything else done!

kangulo
kangulo

I spend a lot of time "chasing the wind" ... trying to research an issue or requirement and searching support and tech sites for possible solutions, only to find that it seems no one has ever documented having this situation before. All that searching also leads to finding other useful or interesting things to read (usually unrelated to the issue at hand).

Refurbished
Refurbished

The biggest productivity killer I had was meetings. Some are good, even necessary. Some were counter-productive. Even the useful ones took up more time than was spent in the meeting even if only because I had to keep an eye on the time to be sure I would not be late.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

for constant interruptions! On days that I feel that I got little done, they are usually filled with interruptions. And those that interrupt often are usually huge offenders for not having things done well. I will say that not every interruption is really bad, and sometimes there are actual emergencies, however sometimes it gets to be a real annoyance, and when it happens too much,by mid afternoon, I have stopped attempting for the day to work on some projects because I dont like re-starting and trying to figure out where I left off 30+ times a day

AV .
AV .

I do have a few users that will take the initiative to actually read instructions, but more of them want their hand held. Especially, those that have a high degree of self importance. AV :^0

John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

It seems to me that many meetings can just be handled through an email thread rather than dedicating an hour (or more) to sitting around a table. Do most people agree?

glgruver
glgruver

Someone once remarked that the most productive meetings are the ones held around the coffee machine or in the hallway. These tend to be short, informal and focused on a specific issue. Almost as annoying are the frequent frantic phone calls with some "emergency". I have a coffee mug on my desk that says "If it is a real Emergency, call 9-1-1". Since I work in a Public Safety, this always gets a laugh. Number three, is the frantic phone call from the boss with a "hot project"....usually either at or close to quitting time.

Ceespace
Ceespace

I get days when I have one project to finish off - no trouble I should get it done by mid afternoon at the latest. (bliss) Then the phone rings with an "emergency" or an email arrives with a "I need this done by tomorrow as I am seeing the client" (these are usually the first I hear of these projects) and I have to put aside the project I am working on and hope I have time to get back to it later (which rarely happens)

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

Last year I had a call every other week from 1 person asking me which way to put it in again! Then after a couple of months that stopped, now she doesnt work here anymore :) A happier Scummy I am for that!!!

AV .
AV .

I think those people probably did more partying than studying in college. You can't take anything for granted though. I just had someone ask me which way a CD goes in the CDROM drive. They thought it was label side down. :^0 I'm glad that person didn't study medicine! AV

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

I was asked how to setup a .pst in email. So I sent the instructions -- not 5 min. later I recieved a response stating that they could not be interpreted. I re-sent it in case of a problem, and left my phone # in case it still could not be understood. Before I sent it I opened it to make sure it was right. Sent it, almost immediately, I was called stating that it made no sense whatsoever. I asked if the file opened, and was told yes. I asked for the problem portion so that I can maybe revise that area, and was told that it was too confusing right from the start. So I asked her to read the confusing part to me so that I could understand "In order to create a .PST file, Outlook must be open. Step 1 -- Open Outlook (If Outlook is already open, you may skip this step)" At that point I thought about shooting myself, did a netmeeting and created the .pst file. With all of the questions "What does that mean/do" I think it took almost 20 minutes for a 1 minute task (or less). Edit: Sometimes I wonder if that is what years of College does to people :0

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

I will send the same How To's to a board member, as to an admin, a lawyer, etc.. And often enough, the higher level people will make an attempt (I did not say fix, I said make an attempt), while more often the lower level will freak out over everything.... I would have expected opposite actually. But then again, that is not 'the rule' either, because it happens enough the other way too. However, the drawback is that, the less educated the person, the more often they can follow my 'simple' instructions (with screenshots).

monsterke
monsterke

In my opinion: * Meetings have to be at least somewhat prepared to be efficient and effective. * A face to face decision/promise made on a meeting tends to be regarded as more " "binding". I will say "yes" more quickly in an email. I agree that for some cases an email thread or discussion is enough. Sometimes just because people know the meeting is ill prepared/ inefficient they enjoy it because they know it will not change anything for them and it got them faster through a maybe otherwise boring day...

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

when I was in the USAF. I called them "Friday afternoon fires" for a reason...

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

"We have been working on this for 3 months, now we need your help" and its the first I have heard about it, a complicated situation that may take weeks, and it needs to be done ASAP!

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