It’s all about the conversation…and when to stop

This week has been a ‘noisy’ week – a week filled with meetings, conversations and discussions.  Mostly valuable and worthwhile, some even enjoyable in a work context, but nevertheless a lot of interactions.
Team meetings with teams, catch up meetings with Supervisors, catch up meetings with line managers, Resources and Facilities meetings, project meetings about refurbishments.
Meetings about communications.
Ad hoc discussions about library systems, about IT helpdesk systems, about repairs to ceilings, about training .
PDR meetings – discussing how staff feel about their progress and development – what they would like to do in the future, about what works and doesn’t work.
Conversations with students.
External events at other universities with discussions about new systems and what we need to develop in the future to provide excellent customer service for our students.
The conversations in passing with staff in my team or other teams, conversations as staff drop by my office and its open door.
Telephone calls and conversations.  Email conversations.  Social media conversations.
And then finally today, a day without planned meetings and quietly closing my office door and stopping to think what needs doing…and settling down to do it.
It’s easy to say that it’s important to manage your time and your calendar, and to plan effectively and have a task list and be productive and stop doing some things and prioritise.  But in reality, unless we are at the top of the management structure in our organisation, our calendars seem to have a life of their own.  Also as we all have to work in a more flexible and reactive way, it’s important to shuffle things around and fit in when we can.
For me in my role, I have quite a wide and varied remit.  I’m involved in joint initiatives and projects and liaising with different teams.  My team is responsible for front line, first line services and dealing with customers and their enquiries.  It is why I like my job.
But it is important to find some time to concentrate and I have to make a conscious effort to do this because I’m efficient at multi-tasking (if there is such a thing) and rapid task changing and skimming across the surface of what needs doing.  I’m solution driven so my default way of working is to look at a situation and find the quickest, most straightforward way of resolving it.  But is this the most productive and efficient way – or the best way for me as far as my thinking and reflecting is concerned?  Probably not…so it is work in progress to find more of those quiet Fridays to change the way I work and take a step back from the conversations.

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