Woman in modern officeAh, employment. Pockets at work mean that you have enough time to complete necessary tasks, plan for future (possible advancement), and still have time left to go home and have a life there, too.  How do you do this?

Here are some thoughts to help you answer this question:

  1. First, ask whether your job has sufficient pockets for your comfort. Some jobs are really meant for two people and no matter how hard you work or how dedicated you are, the job is out of hand. How well compensated are you for your job? Certainly we all understand that some jobs require periods of stress. Constant stress, however, due to lack of pockets, creates an unproductive environment. How often do you worry that, despite your best efforts, you cannot complete your tasks at hand (let alone plan for future tasks)?
  2. Consider yourself. Are you well-suited for the job you have? Does it energize you on a regular basis? If not, why not? Are you approaching or at your limit of toleration for this particular job, industry, or career?
  3. Think about your workspace. Does it allow for constant interruptions? If so, is there any way to screen less-essential activity? At the very least, you should have uninterrupted planning time every day. Some people can make do with a few minutes and others may need the better part of an hour. Put up a sign that says you should only be interrupted for important reasons. Be proactive about putting in pockets to get your work done. (I have some signs you could download for this purpose at the website www.KeepingChaosatBay.com. No cost. One of the benefits of receiving these emails).
  4. Another aspect of your workspace to consider is whether you have adequate supplies that are handy. Do you have enough envelopes, staples, a hole-punch, water, etc., so that whatever it is that you need to use on a frequent basis, you can access it easily? Or, are you using up any time pockets you have by hunting down a 3-hole punch or a piece of stationery several times a week?
  5. Organize your tasks for the day, week, month, quarter, year, and build in pockets for accomplishing them.
  6. Start saying “no” to non-essential tasks. While you might enjoy serving on the “Morale Committee,” it might do more for your morale to get your job done.
  7. Don’t be lazy and then claim that you don’t have enough time (or pockets) to complete your job. If you’ve ever played a computer game at work then I’m talking to you. Read Larry Winget’s book, It’s Called Work for a Reason! Your Success is Your Own Damn Fault. This is an in-your-face book and it’s worth reading and sharing with others.
  8. Are you (really) doing your job and also doing part of someone else’s? Is that person being compensated for the work that *you* are doing? If you’re serious about putting in pockets at work, you must be proactive about this situation. Go immediately to your supervisor and say “enough is enough.” If the person is your supervisor, go up another rung on the ladder. Be prepared for repercussions, both positive and negative.
  9. Consider whether you are paid a salary or an hourly wage. Certainly salaried individuals are expected to work until the job is done, but that does not mean you are expected to work yourself into an early grave. Ask for a job description review. The job may have outgrown one person.
  10. Ask your friends and family if they think you should get a new job – sometimes the response will surprise you.

Some of this week’s tips are a little “edgy,” but I warned you about that when you started the Keeping Chaos at Bay series. Take what applies to you, and push yourself a little past what’s comfortable.

Layout 1And for strategies to help put pockets of time into your writing, check out Putting Pockets in Your Professional Life: 52 Tips to Implement Immediately. This booklet is for professionals who are frequently rushing from meeting to meeting, promising and then not delivering, or wondering if they will ever “catch up.” In this booklet, readers will find tools to support them in our often-crazy world so that they can live their professional lives more peacefully and productively.