It’s unfortunate that my inspiration to post more coincided with both peak marathon training weeks AND crazy amounts of stress/craziness due to deadlines at work, so while I have a few other posts percolating, they’ll need to stay on the back burner.
However, since my brain woke me up super early today, let me explain how things go. My work has a lot of ebb and flow. Managing people means that I don’t actually do a lot of concrete, measurable work myself, and a lot of my day is talking to people and responding to emails in a way that is unquantifiable in terms of productivity. Is the team getting their shit done? Are the execs happy? Then my job is done. Occasionally I’ll have reports to do or set goals for myself, but I don’t believe in a lot of busy work for busy work’s sake, so it’s hard to say what I accomplish in a day.
However, I’ve gotten good at measuring how busy it is by how much I can slack at work. Being constantly interrupted (which is my job) means that I have those little times in between. A moment or two of silence, but I know that it’s not going to last long enough to actually get stuff done. Usually, this is when I take a short break to slack to give my brain a break and turn my focus back from communication to passive content consumption and processing (I’m not generally generating content or commenting on things, I’m just seeing what the world is up to for 5 minutes), and then I get back to doing work. It helps me to turn my brain off for short periods… I process things in the back of my head and figure things out that way.
The degree to which I slack just came to me while I was laying in bed, so here I present to you, my Slack-com scale. Note that each level includes the levels before in slack-dom (so if I’m at slack-com 5, that also means I’m able to check facebook, email, etc).
Nothing is really going on. We’re in the middle of a milestone, I’ve got all my planning done, everyone is working away happily, I’m caught up on my required reading for work (forums and fansites). I’m rarely interrupted for even questions or anything to deal with. At this point, I can indulge in things like typing up full blog posts if the inspiration hits, but if I’m being a good girl, I’m actually in my game playing, trying to stay caught up. This is rare, a few days to a few weeks a year at best.
I have a few spread out hours in the day that are not dedicated to immediate things that need to get done. I’m on top of everything work-wise. I have scanned the work related reading at least once a week. I have enough slack time to do things like jot down a few notes for myself on topics to flesh out and write out later, plan out a menu for the week and update my grocery list, or update a training plan to resolve a conflict (in like, 5-15 minute chunks). I try to jump in and play my game when I have anything more than the 15 minute chunks, but I’m not usually able to really get into a groove. This is about one to two months per year.
Normal work mode. I’m getting everything I need to get done at work, find time to scan work reading once a week, and find time for the usually 5 minute breaks every once in a while to check facebook or twitter, usually enough to stay caught up. Once a week, I might find time to dip into slack-con 4 (e.g. spending two full days of slack-time to make a meal plan and update my grocery list). I may find the occasional special afternoon to play my game largely uninterrupted, but generally at this stage I’m either in game to check new stuff out quickly or too busy. This is the majority of the year.
Things are busy. I’m getting everything I need to get done at work. My work reading is probably spotty. I’m crashing into 3pm, mentally tired, and have to take a quick break to slack not because I have time, but because my brain needs the time to process and refresh. I’m probably caught up on my personal email (I don’t get a lot), and maybe have glanced at social media, but I’m not caught up. This is maybe a month out of the year, usually either while I’m in major planning mode, or we’re getting close to a deadline. I may be working more than 8 hours at this point.
Crazy-mode. Work is packed from the minute I get there until the minute I leave (which is typically more than the usual 8 hours). I forget that other people exist on my computer and that I have an email box that isn’t my work outlook. The only slacking I might do is to pop onto twitter and post a “Aaaaaaaaaargh!!!!” to vent my frustration and then get back to the cray-cray.
I’ve been at slack-com 1 this week, people, and while the light is at the end of the tunnel, I’ve been in said tunnel for the last two weeks. In the famous words of Arnold – “I’ll be back” (once things settle a little).