Self Motivation - How to keep it when overwhelmed with problems?


Fully vaccinated are you?
I had a boss who wanted more done than I could physically do and would not prioritize the work. <snip>
That's exactly why, over 30 years ago, I started tracking every task I was given as I said in a post above. It gave me the safety of being able to show, on paper, what I was tasked with, who assigned me the task (especially if it wasn't my direct "boss"), the date the task was assigned, estimated *realistic* time to complete (which is why I eventually started using Microsoft Project to track all my tasks), etc.

Way back when I went to one meeting in a company I was working for at the time where I was chastised for not completing all my work. That triggered me to start tracking every task I was given. From then on I could present a list to my boss and nicely ask him to decide what he wanted done and in what order. I also would usually point out how far out my schedule was "booked". This is where Microsoft Project was *really* nice because I could put in dependencies which would shift tasks when I was given priorities.

Another nice thing about this type of tracking is you can break down tasks into sub-tasks. For example: I had a bunch of MIL-STD-x testing to do. Many of them were done at Wyle. I could break it down to:
1. Prepare items for testing.
2. Package and ship items to Wyle.
2a. Time in Transit to Wyle.
3. Typical Wyle pre-test "wait time" (package with DUT sits in their office in their To Do queue).
4. Actual test time.
5. Typical Wyle post-test "wait time" (DUT sits in office in their To Do queue for test results report to be written, DUT to be packaged, etc.).
5a. Time in Transit from Wyle to me.
6. Unpackage, file documentation, etc.

I can remember to this day my boss asking me why it took over 6 weeks to get a 1 day test done. To my boss at the time a 1 day test should take a day or two. He didn't consider the "little" things like prepping the DUT for testing, transit time and "wait" times, etc. I did point out we could speed things up by buying the necessary test equipment, but was always cost prohibitive to *buy* the test equipment (which is why we used Wyle in the first place - Duh...).

Jim Wynne

Another thing you can do is tell your boss that you're doing the work of three people.

Self Motivation - How to keep it when overwhelmed with problems?

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
You've obviously never been in a situation like the OP is in, or you would realize that platitudes are the last thing that anyone wants to hear in answer to being overloaded. It sounds exactly like the Dilbert strip I linked to earlier. "Work smarter, not harder!"

Sometimes what's happening to the OP happens to people who have proven to be adept at getting things done (they're "professionals") because there are a lot of other people around who aren't adept at getting things done.

Furthermore, when someone like the OP does set his own priorities, something somewhere is going to conflict with someone else's priorities, and the ensuing conflicts are almost never effectively resolved by the people with the authority to resolve them. You can't charm and coerce your way around incompetent management, except perhaps for brief periods.

Another thing you can do is tell your boss that you're doing the work of three people.

Self Motivation - How to keep it when overwhelmed with problems?
What goes for platitudes probably is also true for juvenile humor.

Ronen E

Problem Solver
Sometimes your boss is so busy they don't even think about what is important to them.

Such people should be banned from becoming bosses in the first place...

To the OP:

I was once in a similar situation. I was QA manager and my CEO kept telling me: "Just bear with the quick fixes a little bit longer... once we got everything patched, we can do a complete rebuild of the whole thing." She failed to understand that unless you really address the root causes, the fire-fighting will never end, and one would never be able to get to "rebuilding". Tackle the real problems and the fires will go away!...

In my case, after several months of "just bearing" I left this company. Either QA is a priority, or the company is doomed. From your personal perspective it could be a tough decision, but I believe it is usually best to cut your losses once you realized you're not on a winning horse.

All the best,
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