What do you do when you feel like you're doing too many things at once?

(Jordan Tompkins) #1

Hi all,

I was speaking over email with @HAWK and she suggested I reach out to the larger community.

I am currently managing an online community of practice, and my other teammate had to go out on leave in November so I’ve been managing all of our projects alone. I’ve run into frustrations mainly related to time and prioritizing and wanted to see if I could gain some help and feedback.

I’m listing the stuff I’ve been working on, but I have been told to prioritize content development for this year, webinars, and working with the developers of the website to improve it. My new supervisor has worked with me a lot already, so I’d like to try to figure this out with y’all’s help, or at least get input if I need to talk to him again. When I look at the list below I wonder if I should be struggling to get everything done - maybe the problem is organization more than actual workload.

So here’s what I do…

  • Content development for all of 2017 – needs to be finished before April

Plan, coordinate, run (or have it set up to run) at least 6 webinars, 6 Q&As if possible, more discussions (generally have to contact people individually to post to discussions) if possible

  • Web development - ongoing

Coordinating with developers, identifying bugs, identifying new features (content updates, possibly an interactive map in the future). Also includes coming up with new features our members may want (like the map), and figuring out what types of data we would need from them to make it useful.

(This is a priority, but obviously very time consuming. I wonder if it would be useful to try to learn about what our platform (Drupal) can do to cut down on the amount of time the developers and I spend emailing back and forth to make changes to newsletters, etc. I know nothing about development though.)

  • Research project on our site’s content.

Haven’t worked on this lately, but have to start dedicating 5-10 hours/week to this.

  • Analyzing past survey data to come up with topics, new ideas, new development ideas so that our new features and content are actually member- and data-driven and not just from the top of my head – ongoing

This has been hard for me to organize since I should be using it for different aspects of the site

  • Planning and strategizing for the future – ongoing where possible

Thinking about new ways of coming up with content for 2018 (planning committee?) to reduce CoP manager’s workload. Thinking about new features for the website that would make it more user-friendly.

  • I am also allowed 10 hours/week for informal and formal training, but I haven’t gotten to this very much.

It would be helpful if you could tell me how you organize your workload, or if you have feedback on how I might strategize to be more efficient with mine.

(Travis King) #2

I have to be pretty strict and do a priority break down. Anything that falls in the low impact/high effort category has to get canned. Even if it’s things I really want to do. And everything that has high impact/low effort goes to the top of list. Even if it’s boring as hell :smiley:

(Sarah Hawk) #3

Here are a few articles that might be useful:




(Darren Gough) #4

Hi @JordanTompkins

What does your super-user programme look like? I’d recommend a lot of this stuff (especially bug shooting or ideas) could easily be given to trusted members to do if you give them the right incentive.

I’d divide your tasks into higher level strategy that only you could/should do, and time draining but important tasks that a group of trusted users could do with some clear guidance.

(Renée Van Holsteijn) #5

Just a few thoughts, some might be silly:

  • do you work efficient already? Without any distractions? Otherwise: try to bundle tasks, or try the Pomodori technique
  • what’s really burning? Like super important? And what can be posponed?
  • in addition to this one above: are you familiar with the scrum methodology?
  • do you have to do all of this by yourself, or are there colleagues/community members/external freelancer who can take over parts?

And don’t forget to keep your head cool, @JordanTompkins :slight_smile:

(Jordan Tompkins) #6

Thanks for the input @Travis! I definitely get so caught up in the excitement of all the things I want to do sometimes that I end up stressing myself out because the things I needed to do got put on the back burner for too long.

(Jordan Tompkins) #7

Hey @Darren_Gough, I really like that idea! Right now our web development moves too slowly, but once we get that hammered out I’ll definitely see what we can do about having super users added!

(Jordan Tompkins) #8

Thanks @reneevh! I’m going to look into all of that. As far as help, it’s just me right now, but I’m trying to build a team!

(Gear Buzz) #9

Learn to deal with near continuous disappointment.

Celebrate the things you HAVE managed to pull or get pulled over the finishing line.

Everything is important, but you can’t do it all. Focus on what might actually ruin the community and or what might make money

All other ideas will have to languish, likely for eternity, on a giant “someday maybe” list

(Sarah Hawk) #10

This is really good advice. Pick the big wins.

(Jamie Cantrell) #11

I focus on my purpose. My life purpose. My team’s purpose. My boss’ purpose. My organization’s purpose. If what I’m doing doesn’t directly serve my purpose, I don’t do it. A concrete way to think about this is to look at your organizational/business goals and determine what the business has decided are its key priorities. Are your actions serving those goals? Directly or peripherally? Then, ask what has the most impact on those goals? Start there. And, if you are still feeling stuck, you can always ask your manager to help you manage your bandwidth. “I can do X, Y, or Z. Which is most important to you and which can be delayed or set aside?” Personally, I’ve found this incredibly challenging because I don’t ever want to say I can’t do something, but sometimes, you have to say “no” to save your sanity. Best of luck!

(Shreyas) #12

I think the feeling of doing too many things comes inherently with the role of a Community Manager. But this started going way out of hand for everyone in my organization and this was making it difficult to account for our time. We had a team meeting to see if tech could help solve this problem, even if that meant building the necessary tools or buying them.
We ended up using Toggl. Since Monday, we’ve all made a conscious decision to use it to track time. The main problem that I face is- white writing a blogpost, Toggl is great because it’s a whole activity by itself, but then if it’s following up with a stakeholder or meeting someone to talk about events, is not really something that can be added because it’s too many things. You can only focus on one thing at a time(which is really difficult for me). In any case, do try it.
Another practise I follow is to maintain a bullet journal so that I know what I’m working on and how much time I worked on it today. It also helps in keeping a reminder and checking tasklist.

(Jordan Tompkins) #13

@dun3buggi3 - that’s great advice! I used to do something similar by color coding my activities and adding them into my calendar (purple for time management, with the subject line being what I actually did), and that really helped. I think I’ll start doing that again!

@jmecantrell that is something I don’t think about enough for sure. I have so many ideas for what we “could” do that I forget to focus on what we ARE doing! I appreciate your practical approach.

There is so much useful advice in this thread. Thank you all for your help!

(Sarah Hawk) #14

I like that it has a built in Pomodoro timer!

(Rachael Reilly) #15

+1 on the Pomodoro Technique @reneevh Great tips from you!

(Alessio Fattorini) #16

I have been use toggl + pomodoro for 1 year and they really suit my needs! Pomodoro helps me to focus on one task at a time and toggle helps me to figure out how much time I devote to my community things.

(Sarah Hawk) #17

I have traditionally used timers like Toggl to manage my freelance hours across clients, but I’m going to start using it to manage the time I spend on different community tasks here – time which I’ll allocate according to my new strategic plan!