The physical therapist had me jogging on a small trampoline in a hot hallway just off the main therapy room. She apologized that they were backed up because of staffing issues and asked if I minded working on my banged up ankle outside the main workout area.
Of course not I said. I could empathize with her plight, as many of you surely can too. We are all operating short-handed it seems these days. So there I plodded on the tiny square of high-tension rubber in the steamy and darkened corridor for what I was told would be five minutes. The five minute mark passed, then 10, and I’m still bouncing, my ankle screaming and my chest heaving. Finally my PT came scrambling down the hallway from the exercise room screaming, “Are you okay Mr. Lasky? Are you okay? You can stop now, and I’ll grab the oxygen for you.”
Luckily no oxygen was needed. As my personal physician is so fond of telling me on my annual physical evaluation, I’m the healthiest fat guy he has for a patient. These days I’ll take it as a compliment. I assured the PT that my profuse sweating and ragged breathing was no cause for alarm and we moved into her office to discuss my treatment plan.
She was apologetic. The PT said my weekly therapy plan had been carefully mapped out, but was disrupted when she lost a front office person and two therapists last week to other practices. Circumstances left her scrambling for a contingency plan. She lamented that she was simply too busy to address the issue head on.
Her plight is not unlike many security managers who find themselves asked to do more with less staff in these increasingly challenging economic times. Keeping our collective heads above water seems to be the norm.
Stanley Bing, one of my favorite columnist, and author of many satirical business books, offered up some sound time-saving strategies for harried managers in a column that appeared in Fortune magazine several years back.
So I now share with you some of Mr. Bing’s things to do if you are too busy:
You can cancel all meetings with aggravating people right now unless they are your boss. It’s amazing how many meetings we create with people we’d rather not see.
Never write a long e-mail if a gnomic BlackBerry message will do. Its incredible how many chunks of work can be tossed over the side with a short electronic piffle like, “OK, let’s do that. Can you handle?” If you’re a big player, that’s called delegation. If you’re not, it’s called passing the buck.
Close your door and tell your assistant that you will only be disturbed by a) your boss or b) somebody who is bringing you a hot pastrami sandwich, and nobody else.
Take lunch. You won’t be less busy, but you will FEEL less busy. When you eat lunch at your desk, do you end up with less to do after lunch? I’m betting the answer is no. So if you’re going to be screwed up anyhow, why not enjoy a nice, peaceful hour away from the office.
Don’t go on conference calls unless your boss is on it. Isn’t there somebody junior to you in your area? Somebody ambitious, who still believes they get some kind of juice from being on a big rat pack event.
Don’t be so friggin’ reachable! The bottom line is, just because your phone rings doesn’t mean you have to answer it.
Work faster. Concentrate harder. Clear your platter aggressively. Then rest. Rest is work, too, particularly for those who take it seriously.
As my dad used to tell me, “Son, work smarter, not harder!” These tips might not help your work load decrease, but I bet they increase your sanity.