Productivity Issues

Hi Guys.

I think my biggest mistake is giving people my Instant Messanging ID’s. In the middle of many productive times I’m interrupted people with big ideas who want me to explain how to do it, or help them fix a problem. I should really get off this thing indefinitely, I don’t think they’ve brought about much good.

I don’t mind sometimes and I like having people to talk to about common interests. But it feels like I’ve become the go to guy instead of them using Google to lookup things for a few hours themselves. The time and energy I have to put into understanding things and figuring out is conveniently at their fingertips from me (if I know about it), If I were getting paid it might be a little different. It’s like a friend relationship and they get all the benefits, kind of like being “used” for my help.

I consider them friends, but I’ve had to cut many off because I’ve realized I’m wasting so much energy throughout the day to solve or fix their minor problems or give them advice on their big ideas. This cost me money. At the end of the day I realize I get very little done, and have just helped a bunch of people with things that don’t matter. It actually makes my day worse and I rarely look forward to working because of it.

I can’t figure out how to be social about common interests, without being the guy that gives out a bunch of help to everyone without burning myself out. I genuinely like helping if I can tell a person is trying to learn. Sadly, most of them aren’t.

Other than that, I have ongoing work that I’ve appreciated. But it get’s so boring, it requires no thinking or creativity and it kills me. It makes me feel like I’m chewing on concrete whenever I work on it. When I work on it, it’s like dragging a chunk of granite from my ankle to force myself to do it and all I can think about is jumping out of an airplane because that’d give me some relief from the knots in my stomach on how badly i hate doing it.

I wonder if this is a personal problem rather than a work routine. Goodness, I hope not. But I accept all criticism if it’ll produce some change.

Be offline or invisible when you get down to work.

Srirangan’s advice is probably the best. However, I don’t use an Instant Messaging service and haven’t for years. When I did, I often had clients that wanted to keep in touch with it and they interrupted my work plan with their questions and chat. If you want to succeed, you have to be able to “plan your work and work your plan” and you can’t do that with constant interruptions of any sort.

Thank you :slight_smile:

What you should do is set up two instant messaging accounts: A personal one, and a business one. This allows you to freely give out your business account name, which you can then disable when you’re working on something important or just doesn’t want to be disturbed. At the same time, it allows you to go offline from friends and family during business hours. You also avoid accidentally sending a client those embarassing holiday photos :wink:

LOL Thats a good idea!

Honesty, you need to uninstall all those IM programs or never login while you’re busy in work mode. I went through the same problem and by the time I’d sorted their problems I was too exhausted to work on my own projects. Your friends should understand that you have your own work to do and the ones that don’t should be paying for your expertise. I like helping people but there’s a time and a place for it, your good nature will be taken advantage of if you don’t draw a line.

Never use instant messaging at all. It has entertainment value, but that’s it.

Not even Skype?

I use skype quite a bit for overseas calls, but not really for IM, no.

Definitely need to have two separate accounts, one for work one for personal contacts. Then I mix it up so that I am online sometimes, offline sometimes, sometimes hidden, so that my contacts don’t really know if I’m online or not. I don’t tried IM like a phone call but instead just like email. I’m not obligated to respond to it. Also check out Timemanagement.com for some good tips as well on Productivity with IM and email.

This is a good idea - don’t set any precedents. Then people won’t expect to be able to speak to you at a particular time because you’re usually available then, so gradually you should feel less and less obligation to attend to them straight away.

I’ll use skype when I’ve planned a chat or call with someone, but for the reasons you mentioned I stopped using MSN messenger years ago and I’m always invisible in chat when I’m on FB - unless of course I’ve got nothing better to do and don’t mind being constantly interrupted. :smiley:

Many years ago I took a time management class and learned that the best thing that you can do to manage your time is to develop a set of goals, prioritize them, figure out what can be done each day and then make sure they actually get done. It’s amazing how productive you can be if you follow that model. The reason I mention this is that chit-chat / advice / gossip is just another thing that has to be done every day, and if you set a fixed limit on the time you’ll spend, it won’t get out of hand. As a manager, I like it when people drop by my office, but we all understand that a closed door means “stop by later”, and no one is offended.

Since people are/were asking you for advice, you can fit your response time into that prioritized list and if those making the requests can’t wait for you get to them, they’ll go somewhere else. Your time is valuable and has to treated as such.