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  #16  
Old 12-15-11, 07:44 PM
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Re: Damage Control

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Originally Posted by anonymouslyadd View Post
Hire a college student to type up all of your work.
Should have put a "can" in there. Can you hire someone to type up your work? It sounds like you have quite a bit of writing in your job.
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  #17  
Old 12-17-11, 01:36 AM
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Re: Damage Control

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Originally Posted by Luvmybully View Post
If you had lupus and a flare up caused you to miss your deadline would you be so hard on yourself?
Possibly!
(But if it were, say, another forum member, I'd probably cut them more slack than I'm willing to cut myself.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by LynneC
Have you actually missed the deadline yet?
Does your boss know yet?
I have missed the deadline I'd agreed on with my supervisor (which was yesterday).

Deadline for the (outside) people we promised the report to is January 31, but it will need to go through several iterations before we send it off. (And there are holidays between now and then, so the clock is really ticking.)

Supervisor actually sent the "So? How's the report coming? Are you sticking to the timeline?" e-mail a few days ago already.

I replied, saying that the report was moving forward, I had fallen behind but was catching up, and anticipated no problems in meeting our (external/Jan 31) obligation (which, when I wrote it, was absolutely true, though I'm afraid I may have been overly optimistic).

Then I admitted I didn't have a draft ready yet, apologized, and said I'd said it as soon as I could (or I could send it in sections for review if that was easier), and that I'd check in again on Monday.

He replied (from his iPhone, in the car !?!) saying I should send it as soon as I could so he could look it over and also maybe try to put it in a shared internet folder...

So he didn't get upset with me (yet), but I wasn't specific about how far behind I am, and I still have to get it done ASAP.

In sum: crisis deferred for a few days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LynneC
First, do a realistic projection of when you can have this report finished. In 1 week? 2 weeks? Be realistic...
Once you have determined this, go to your supervisor and tell him that you are not going to meet the deadline this week, and that you need 'X' amount of time to finish the report.
As far as outlining a plan of action, I have real trouble with this. I have no ability to estimate how long things will really take. And I have a history of underestimating/overpromising as a result. And even when I try to build in a buffer, I tend to blow it.

I don't want a reputation for promising and not delivering (and my efforts to underpromise and overdeliver haven't resulted in the desired effect). At the same time, I have an obligation not to jerk people around and leave them hanging with the risk of having to clean up after me and pick up the slack if I don't finish it on time...

This is why I no longer feel I can promise not to repeat my mistakes. Because if history is any indication, I don't learn my lesson. I just repeat the same mistakes over and over, despite intentions and plans to the contrary, with increasingly damaging results.

Of course, we recently changed my meds around and I think it's helping, but meds (and side effects and mood and motivation states) have been kind of fickle for me in recent years, so I can't count on this lasting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarek
Is there any way you can salvage something in a very short amount of time or is that unrealistic?
That's what I'm working on for Monday. Of course, I also promised someone else I'd work on another joint project and have something by Sunday. And there's another unfinished project of relatively high importance that I really need to finish by the end of the year... (To say I'm overwhelmed by the backlog would be an understatement!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andi
Have you used an outline? Breaking out what you need, pulling the resources together and parsing it down into deliverable sections can help make the overwhelming part more manageable. Easier for me to tie things together when they're pieces, parts.
I do have an outline (thank goodness) -- usually I don't. (I was one of those kids who, required to turn in an outline in English class, had to write the paper first and then outline what I'd written because I usually didn't have a plan...)

Of course, in the recent e-mail from my supervisor, he suggested we might not want to stick to the agreed-upon outline, so I may have to rethink things a bit...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andi
once you can spit out 3 pages, you can eat pie because what do people love more than pie??
Mmmm....pie....

(I'm not so good with the 1/2 hour here thing...not enough self-discipline...hence Leechblock limiting my time...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnonymouslyADD
Hire a college student to type up all of your work.
Not in the budget, unfortunately! (What I wouldn't give for a secretary/personal assistant!)

I am looking into dictation software, though. For me, a lot of the difficulty is in the organization and finding the words and putting them together (also a problem in speaking), so I'm not certain it will help. But sometimes it is easier for me to write if I approach it as a conversation with someone, so it has some promise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ADHDTigger
From a project management perspective, each task needs a time to completion assigned to it. Work backward from your deadline. DO NOT expect that you will complete the paper on the deadline day. Instead, tell Supervisor Guy that you will be submitting the work in progress. Two things will happen- he gets something on paper sooner than March, you buy some time.
The problem is, I did that already (figuring in a couple of back-and-forth iterations), but I missed the boat.

Quote:
Arrange to meet with him on a schedule to go over the paper as you work to complete it by the new deadline. Weekly, every other week, whatever. Get those appointments into the plan.
This is a great idea.

I did something like this with my former supervisor until that relationship went down in flames...

But I'm not sure how to do it at this point (rather than having suggested several months ago), at least until I have something to show for myself. I want to hide until I have something respectable, even if that's counterproductive. But I don't think he'll take too kindly to having to hold my hand on something I told him would be done already.

If I make it past this report without getting canned, I will definitely ask to meet regularly in the future. (Probably by Skype, as I'm not working in the main location and won't be for the forseeable future.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ADHDTigger
Namazu, break out the 3x5 cards...
Thanks for the how-to! It is helpful. I definitely handle chunks of this size better than 30-page reports...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simenora
I use a similar system to get to places on time. I work backwards from the ETA and build in some extra time for unforeseeable contingencies.
Yes, this I have managed to figure out over the years. I don't miss many appointments these days because I have a system and a good computer calendar with alarms set up, so as long as I can get myself out the door and pointed in the right direction and remember where I'm going, I usually get there. Sometimes ridiculously early because I now leave a healthy margin for getting lost/distracted/etc. along the way.

But for tasks requiring more planning (rather than just "going"), and especially tasks requiring thinking and writing, I haven't mastered the art of estimation or of sticking to schedules.

"What to do right now" is much less obvious when it's "write a report" than "hie thee to pdoc appt."

But I guess that just underscores Andi's and Tigger's and LMB's and others' points about breaking the task into much smaller chunks so that they are less overwhelming and a bit more straightforward (and I can give myself little kicks of motivation/reward along the way).

"Download relevant information", "print out papers", etc. -- those are more doable. And even "read 1 paper" or "write a 3x5 card of notes about the paper", those I should be able to handle, I think. (Reading what I've scrawled on the 3x5 cards, that's another story!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnonymouslyADD
It sounds like you have quite a bit of writing in your job.
Yup. This is why I really need to learn how to approach it more efficiently (and to get better at estimating how long it will take, so I don't keep breaking commitments).

Or I can look for another job. But applying my training/education will almost certainly involve some amount of writing (and long-term projects), even if I don't continue with what I'm doing now.

I've sometimes entertained the idea of becoming an artist or joining an organic farming commune, but as an artist I'd start and abandon a thousand projects (plus, I'm not talented enough to make a living off of it, especially considering most people who are talented enough can't make a living off of it!), and I don't wake up early enough to be a farmer...

Thanks for the suggestions re: breaking it down more, 3x5 cards, outsourcing some of the tasks if possible, and setting up some kind of structured time-frame with regular meetings.

If I can make it through Monday (ideally, with -- not a full draft, but at least a couple of competently-written sections), I may have a fighting chance.

I love you guys! XOXO

P.S. Pie, anyone? (Oh, wait, I'm supposed to do some work first to earn it, right?)
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  #18  
Old 12-17-11, 01:44 AM
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Re: Damage Control

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Originally Posted by namazu View Post
I love you guys! XOXO
We love you!

Please consider checking out my strategies thread:

http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=100053
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  #19  
Old 12-17-11, 01:45 AM
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Re: Damage Control

The only way I ever manage to pull a paper together...

3 x 5 cards...

bunches of them...

Write all the pieces down, then sort.
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  #20  
Old 12-17-11, 03:37 AM
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Re: Damage Control

Hokay...

3x5 is still the approach. You know what you want to prove, now you need to prove it.

SINGLE ideas per card. The first run is scattershot. You will table some arguments. That's okay.

Time to complete? TURN OFF THE INTERNET!!! An hour or two.

Supporting statement, clarifying the main point? Probably closer to 6 hours to complete.

Single page per argument? 6 to 8 hours. Time is now dependent on the number of points you are introducing in order to validate the thesis. Each page will *generally* take around 30 minutes.

Stitch it together? 10 to 12 hours.

Now you get in front of Supervisor Guy and hand him a red pencil. Changes should be as explicit as possible. If he thinks you are going in a wrong direction, your folder of rejected arguments should be helpful. Alternatively, create a new 3x5 card and note where it is suggested you insert it.

Flesh out the new idea for inclusion? Call it two hours for each one.

Communicate this to Supervisor Guy and set the next meeting.

He isn't holding your hand. He is taking responsibility for managing the work that he wants done.

In a typical project, I met with my team weekly. I met with individuals on my team daily as needed. They were responsible to complete the assigned work within the deadline. I was responsible for making sure that they were managing to deadlines and maintaining the quality we agreed to bring to the project. A quick "touch base" was often all I needed to know if we were on track or if the world was in danger of coming to an end.

I literally lost my site engineer the day before a hairy move. We had just completed the site work and had gone back to the hotel to clarify our plan for the next day. On arrival at the hotel, my engineer got a call that his dad had a heart attack and wasn't looking like he would survive.

Job one- get the engineer on a plane home.
Job two- call engineer's senior and get a replacement en route
Job three- manage client's expectations. Phone calls backed up by emails summarizing the call.
Job four- revise planning for next activities to accommodate the new engineer.
Job five- communicate to the entire team via email what the current status was. Request that someone get flowers sent to the family of the engineer. Insure that the task was completed.

Job six... have a large scotch for supper and go to bed early.

What I'm saying is that Supervisor Guy has ownership of this task. He delegated the work effort to you, but he owns the responsibility. He needs to proactively engage with you and understand what you can reasonably do. He may need to take responsibility for managing outside expectations. He may need to acknowledge that you asked him to be proactive long ago.

Let me know if I can help.
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