A few weeks ago I was in one of those regular meetings that I’m now trying to avoid. We were running through a list of issues and assigning owners and deadlines because, well, what shows a good meeting other than have a spreadsheet filled in?!
We finished the meeting and it became apparent that most of the work lay with one person. I’m going to call him Pamela. Pamela is the right person to do the work, but I happen to work quite a lot with Pamela and I know he is completely snowed under with the amount of work he’s doing.
At the end of the meeting I asked if anyone knew who Pamela’s line manager was (Pamela wasn’t in the meeting) and was met with a rather defensive reply because the question sounded like I was going to start raising these things as major problems. My reason for asking, though, was because I wanted to see if there was anything we could do to help Pamela out.
It seems a bit unfair to say he’s overwhelmed because that infers being out of control, but what I mean is that Pamela has so much to do that he actually does none of it while trying to manage everything. He’s so busy running around trying to keep all the plates spinning that that’s all they do – run around.
I was doing it myself last night trying to get everything packed for my holiday as I remembered all the things I would need to take! Everything ended up dotted around the house as I put it down when I remembered something else I needed to look for!
Lists are great, but they still need completing and when something always gets added to the bottom and there’s no end in sight, they don’t really help. Unfortunately when we live in a world of deadlines we aren’t always able to adjust our own pace to something more sedate, allowing us to concentrate.
I ain’t got time to think about money
Or what it can buy
And I ain’t got time to sit down and wonder
What makes a birdie fly
And I don’t have the time to think about
What makes a flower grow
And I’ve never given a second thought
To where the rivers flow
Too busy thinking about my baby
And I ain’t got time for nothing else
Said, I ain’t got time to discuss the weather
How long it’s gonna last
And I ain’t got time to do no studies
Once I get out of class
Tellin ya I’m just a fellow
Said I got a one track mind
And when it comes to thinking about anything but my baby
I just don’t have any time
The diamonds and pearls in the world
Could never match her worth, no no
She’s some kind of wonderful, people tell ya
I got heaven right here on earth
I’m just a fellow
With a one, one track mind
And when it comes to thinkin’ about anything but my baby
I just don’t have any time
(yeah, she’s never hard to find
’cause she’s always on my mind)
Too Busy Thinking About My Baby by Marvin Gaye