I stumbled upon an article tonight about "Ten management practices to axe". It was interesting especially following the CNN article today about cool ways to streamline your home office.
First, let me start with the second article. It was a step-by-step on how to organize your home office to be more productive. I watched it at work and realized that a lot of what the lady was doing were things I could do and should do at work. My favorite part was the "Magic Box". It's a stand-alone organizer that can sit on a counter, floor, whatever, that has hanging folders labeled things like, "To do", "To Pay", "To Enter", "Receipts", "To go", etc.
I really liked this idea, so I decided, after looking at the monsoon of a mess I had in my office with papers lying every where and dust to boot, that I needed to try this. I happen to have a lower left file drawer that's pretty much holding nothing, so I transformed it into my "Magic Box". (The more I say that the more that sounds sick and wrong, but whatever.)
So I now have files labeled, "To do", "Waiting for", "To file", "For work weekends", "To process", "In process", and room for more if I need them. I'm really excited about this.
Then I went through all the piles I had lying on top of my desk and credenza and sorted. This was another of her steps: STAR, she called it. Sort, Trash, Arrange, Revisit. I have all my files either in my to-do file, to-file file, or in piles where there is just too much to just have hanging there.
The next step is to get little organizers for my middle drawer for pens and pencils and such. And then clean up the insides of a few more of the drawers that had been places to hold the piles to file. (and then to do all this at home!)
I felt really productive today. I got my desk cleaned and straightened. I feel ready for next week at work when I can just open the drawer and pull out the To-Do folder and go for it. I can actually see my desk, which is huge!
The part about this that I'm getting to, slowly and long-windedly, is that I didn't leave work until 8 tonight. Granted I had to take a 2-hour break to meet with a senator and few other people, but then I went back to the office to finish up. Technically, I should be claiming "comp time" for that extra 3 hours of work, but it doesn't feel right. It wasn't something required, that I had to do. It was something I needed to do for my sanity.
And then there's the fact that I just don't feel motivated during the early afternoon hours anyway, so I end up spending a few hours trying to get motivated and then around 2 or 3 I suddenly find my energy and I get to work! So I feel guilty when I claim comp time because I kind of wasted a couple hours already trying to get motivated so when I am motivated I should just work.
Which leads me to the first article I listed. Number ten said: "If you employ white-collar "knowledge workers" in your organization, you're better off giving them challenging assignments and standing back than managing them like assembly-line workers. An obsession with arrival and departure times is not the way to signal to your employees, "We're expecting great things from you," and neither are picky payroll practices that require salaried employees to use fractions of sick and personal days to attend to pressing life situations. Nothing spells "you're a cog in the machine" like a policy that happily allows you to work until midnight on a client project, then docks your pay when you're half an hour late arriving to work the next day. What to do instead: Set goals with your salaried employees, see that they meet them, and leave the how-and-where issues to your brilliant team members to manage for themselves."
What's funny is my title is just what that says. And many times I have felt just like the cog-in-the-machine sentence because I will work late on a project but I sometimes have trouble getting to work right on time in the morning (oh, and we have to sign for an hour, not just a half hour, if we're late).
It sucks, because there's nothing I can do. Our work is set up so that there isn't really room to bend on this stuff. And if I work late and don't own up to that time, that's my issue. I know my boss would probably sign off on it, but when I'm often working late because that's the best time for me to get things accomplished (both because I'm motivated and because it's when everyone else is gone so I can work in peace) then he's going to start to wonder what they're paying me for in the middle of the day. And then the shit will hit the fan.
So I either need to just suck it up and work as I have been the last three years, or I need to figure out a way to get motivated in the middle of the day. I'm not really looking for an answer here, I'm just frustrated because there seems to be no option. So I'm venting. :) la la la