Crafting a Lifesaver

Have you been feeling like you have too much work to do? Are you cranky? Have you complained? Has anyone listened? Maybe it’s you.

Somehow, you got yourself into a position where you are in over your head. In some cases, it’s the byproduct of layoffs—not your fault, but still your problem. Presumably, you’ve told your boss this and s/he has failed to throw you a lifesaver. Quit whining and make your own lifesaver. Follow these steps:

1. Suck it up.

2. Draft a carefully outlined plan of what you are going to accomplish over the next 6 weeks, how much time each item will take, when it’ll all be done. Account for 1 hour per day for the unexpected and 1 hour per day for “DTD” (“day to day” admin). Include a checklist to monitor your progress and help keep you on track.

3. Decide on office hours. Clearly you need more than just 8 per day. Try for 10 (more than that tends to lead to burn out).

4. Ask yourself: Can I really do this? If no, go back to the drawing board. If yes, ask yourself: Do I need an assistant? Do I have the right assistant? If your company hasn’t gotten you the right help by now, can you pay for your own? Can you find an intern? Can you and someone share an assistant to get you over the hurdle? How does any of this translate to an increase in profits for the company? Option: You could try committing to working a few hours from home on Saturdays and ask for additional vacation time later.

5. Meet with your boss to review your plans, make sure you’re on track, demonstrate how much you love your company and (hopefully) prove yourself as an asset.

6. At the end of the meeting with your boss, email him a copy of the agenda so he has it for his records (and you have it for yours). A slick move would be to ask if you should include his supervisor on the email because “you know he’s interested in our group’s progress and it would be motivating to know he’s aware of this.”

Remember: Without a plan, you’re lost.

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