Questions tagged [time-management]

Questions around how to control where one allocates energy over the course of a work day. Where does one spend time and make the most of that time in the office.

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335
votes
18answers
64k views

Coworker keeps threatening to tattle on me for “time theft”

One of my coworkers is especially nosy and keeps tabs on when I come to work and leave, and how long my lunch break is, how many times I go to the restroom and how long each break takes, and so on. ...
333
votes
20answers
79k views

What is a 'friendly' way to let managers know that having good developers is a privilege?

I work for a small company, where we recently had a change of managers. The new manager has no experience managing developers, and the old manager has moved into a development role to fill in gaps ...
177
votes
14answers
37k views

Is it unprofessional to have a quiet alarm for your own finishing time?

At my current job - a UK-based development company - I set a vibrate-only alarm on my phone that goes off for only a second at 5:30 pm (which is my official end time). I don't like to literally watch ...
177
votes
9answers
14k views

How can I increase focus when doing something boring?

I'm a senior software dev at a contractor company. The issue I'm asking about goes as follows: When I program or debug or do something I like, I'm super-fast. I'm fast enough that I do tasks in 50% ...
148
votes
12answers
34k views

Coworker watches content on his phone all day

I work at a software company. I have a coworker who props up his phone most of the day, watching stuff while he works such as video game streamers, or cooking shows, or whatever. He's trying to give ...
107
votes
11answers
32k views

My boss wants me to attend a meeting every day before work hours

My manager at a software company I've worked at for a few years has asked me to join a status update (a standup if you are familiar with agile) meeting daily, before my normal work hours. My boss ...
106
votes
12answers
60k views

How can I “kill” time at work when there is no work for me to do?

I am a chemical engineer, and I have been spending much of the last two months doing nothing (either surfing the web or chatting with other employees) since my project has been very slow. The company ...
97
votes
14answers
18k views

How do I deal with a subordinate that insists on providing too much detail?

I have a junior developer that has become a drain on my time. Several times a day, he either stops by my office, or grabs me as I pass by his (his office is centrally located, so that I'd have to ...
93
votes
10answers
22k views

My manager said I spend too much time on Stack Exchange. How can I prove its value?

I was recently speaking with my manager, who stated that while my work is satisfactory, they've been noticing I'm spending a lot of time of Stack Exchange. I find Stack Exchange to be very informative ...
83
votes
8answers
16k views

If you're overwhelmed at work, how do you choose what takes precedence?

I'm becoming overwhelmed at work and trying to choose what work I perform first. There is one customer that has a system which is already live, but it breaks frequently. This is a newer issue and it ...
82
votes
13answers
23k views

How to respond to, “How long will this take?” when in a new job position

I started a new job two weeks ago using technologies that are new to me. I was upfront from the start about what I did and did not know so there's no surprises. I do a little of everything and so I ...
82
votes
11answers
13k views

How to be productive while waiting for meetings to start, when managers are casual about being late

The problem: I cannot work normally when I know I will be interrupted any minute. Example: My manager say we have a team meeting (all 12 members) with the big boss in 14:30. In 14:27 I am already ...
81
votes
6answers
19k views

Should I inform my colleague/manager that I get sudden “bad days”?

Some context: I work as a programmer at a large sized company in the Netherlands. I have been working there for nearly 2 years and so far (this is also my first job), I haven't heard anything negative ...
76
votes
12answers
10k views

Do some businesses quantify the cost of a conversation?

I'm moving into day three of a conversation at work about whether to solve a problem by purchasing a $100 piece of equipment. It's a serious problem: our finance group lost of week's worth of time ...
65
votes
10answers
19k views

Does my boss have any say on when my team should take their lunch breaks?

I'm a project manager working for a startup. Since I've been here, we've never had a set time for lunch, and just taken our breaks at whatever time we wished, for one hour. Our boss (the CEO) ...
61
votes
5answers
17k views

When do I to tell my boss I'm out of work to do?

I'm a software developer, but I'm not the "manager of my time" because I have a boss who gives me tasks and deadlines. Sometimes I happen to be inactive for hours, sometimes even days. During these ...
60
votes
8answers
23k views

How to handle being late

I hate being late and usually am early, though on occasion I still arrive late. This is embarrassing but today I had a large coffee before leaving for work, and I had to get off the bus to use the ...
57
votes
11answers
8k views

How to deal with severe mental fatigue without taking time off?

I work as a remote software developer. I work on a casual basis from home, and I'm free to work as much or as little for my boss as I like, while billing my boss on a weekly basis for the worked time ...
51
votes
3answers
14k views

Manager wants to completely avoid any overtime work. How can I adapt to this change?

I'm asking some advice for my mother. She was hired around 2 years ago for a team leader and customer-facing role. She wanted to be employed full time, but the company did not want to pay for this. ...
48
votes
14answers
7k views

What to do when different project managers insisting that I must work on their requests immediately?

There are 5 project managers who keep coming to me and insisting that their requests are urgent and I find myself switching between 4 different projects, while I am supposed to work on only 1 project ...
48
votes
5answers
10k views

Answering questions of project failure during interviews

TLDR: Projects have failed due to lack of dedicated resources (money, employees) and not, as far as I believe, to mismanagement on my part. How can I address this to future employers without bad-...
43
votes
6answers
14k views

I've been given a project I can't complete, what should I do?

I've been given a project over 5 months ago. I felt like it was beyond anything I've done previously when I got it, but I believed that since I've been given it, the task must suit someone of my ...
38
votes
13answers
16k views

Am I damaging my reputation by arriving and leaving on-time?

I work 9am-5pm, 5 days a week as an employee (not contractor). I'm fairly strict with myself in only doing work at work and making the absolute most of my time away from work. This means I will ...
38
votes
5answers
10k views

How to cope with an employee who stays late and does work on Saturdays?

I work in the IT industry. One of my employee works late and on weekends. I, on the other hand, arrive and leave on time. The project schedule is tight, and others are asking me to work extra hours, ...
36
votes
10answers
20k views

Do developer teams put fewer constraints on themselves or have they fewer constraints in terms of work hours?

In a given company everybody arrives between 9:30 am and 10 am. Yet, the developer team (front/back) always arrives between 11:30 and 12 pm. If this is typical, why do people put fewer time ...
34
votes
5answers
10k views

My manager always seems too busy to meet with me. How can I improve that?

He's a great guy, but it feels like he's always in meetings or going to conferences or on the phone on long calls. He has told me that he really enjoys those interactions. He and I work somewhat ...
32
votes
11answers
11k views

How to convince employees that IM and Facebook during work is unethical?

I believe that the employer pays employees their salaries to keep working for seven or eight hours daily, and he didn't agree, while signing the contract, that there is few hours set aside daily for ...
30
votes
8answers
46k views

How do I politely ask about the “urgency” of a work request - i.e. what date should it be completed by?

I work in an IT Help Desk role, and I often get requests that have vague "due-dates". So maybe a Project Manager wants a large database pull, which will take at least a week of my time. But they don'...
27
votes
6answers
7k views

How to deal with a boss that continues to do day-to-day work?

My boss (and, actually, his boss too, which is the company general director) are generally quite good. But it happens (seldom, but frequently enough) that they start to fiddle with the details: day to ...
25
votes
5answers
11k views

How to politely decline unproductive jobs assigned by my manager?

I'm working on contract basis with an IT giant. Since I have good experience on the project which I'm working now my manager asks me to train the new recruits whenever they join. Giving knowledge ...
24
votes
6answers
7k views

Is it okay to work on personal projects in my spare time at work?

About two months ago, I started work as a full time server administrator for a small company. I have almost nothing to do. I generally work 1-2 hours a day. There have only been two days where I ...
19
votes
9answers
4k views

How to deal with hundreds of unread mails after an absence?

I'm in a situation where I'm away from my corporate mailbox for a few weeks. I have an autoresponder set up that says when I'll return and who to contact in urgent cases. Nevertheless, you can imagine ...
18
votes
10answers
5k views

How to convince boss to spend notice period on documentation instead of new projects

Recently I've signed with a new employer and am currently serving the notice period at my old employer. There's a rather long notice period where I live, given my parameters (13 weeks, Belgium). ...
17
votes
8answers
3k views

What sort of reasoning can I use to differently review two employees who provide the same output?

I have two employees, Alan and Beth. If I assign a task to be completed within 4 weeks (which is enough plus some slack to spare), both will finish on time with the same quality of work. The big ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

The “Help Me” Nag

For the past few months, I have been constantly haunted by a team member for "help". This dude continues to play ignorant and gets me to do his work. I am stuck, can you help, and get me to sit in his ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Working alone and working overloaded with priority responsibilities + ADHD

I work in a very small privately owned manufacturing business (<5 administrative employees) as the only web developer (official title, but see second paragraph). My boss is the owner. I currently ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

Late to work because of my small child

I've worked for this company for 6 years. I just started a month and a half ago, at an office in the circulation department. I came in late 2 days in a row due to dropping my two-year-old at my mom'...
13
votes
3answers
4k views

How do you tell a business user politely that the work she's requesting has to come through my boss?

I have a customer that has been going through me to request work. All requests need to go through my manager before we can address them. I have already sent her 3 mails stating this. The last 2 ...
13
votes
3answers
27k views

How can I tell my manager the task I was assigned is beyond my current ability?

I was hired a year ago as a new graduate to my company. I have been learning the job as I go along, helping out with smaller tasks (modifications to C++, C#, vb6 programs) rather than being ...
13
votes
3answers
804 views

Prioritizing support for colleagues and your own work

I started at my current company a few months ago and am currently growing into a more Senior role as a DevOps Engineer. This is my first time going into a more senior role and I am wondering what kind ...
12
votes
4answers
4k views

How do you deal with co-workers who respond to your emails without reading the whole thing, or don't read them at all?

I'm a web developer (who writes code -- not css/designer). I work in an office, but many managers work remotely, hence the heavy reliance on email/IM. I am starting to notice a trend where people ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

A new hire is asking tons of questions which takes up a lot of my time

I am trying to create a culture where developers attempt to solve their own problems first before approaching me. Right now, it is the opposite. They come to me as a first resort. Of course, I will ...
12
votes
4answers
691 views

How can I deal with 3 managers telling me to work on their tasks only?

I'm currently looking for a new job so just commenting that and dipping is less than useful. I have 3 managers who all have the same title, and they keep getting mad at me for not working on their ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

How to reply to large number of cross-company e-mails that require a lot of research, problem-solving and communicating tech ideas to non-tech people? [closed]

I recently started feeling too much was on my plate and in an effort to help me become more efficient, my boss asked me to keep track of all my tasks and record the time I require. I am a new manager ...
11
votes
5answers
1k views

How can I schedule my day to ensure that the “boring but necessary work” isn't ignored in favor of the fun work

So In my job there is fun work* that I enjoy doing and boring-but-necessary work** that I loathe. It's about a 60/40 split, but because the fun work is fun and interesting I usually ratchet it up to a ...
11
votes
5answers
601 views

How to manage managerial deadlines with a volatile and eventful health condition?

I have, like most professionals today, a deadline-driven job. I also have, unlike most, unpredictable health events. There are periods in which I am just like everyone else. I am also very ambitious ...
11
votes
5answers
678 views

How to keep track of time spent helping others?

I'm a fast learner so I often become the go-to guy in the office (and out of it, but that's off topic), I love helping people and I learn much from seeing different perspectives, ideas (even bad ones) ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

How to co-ordinate working hours for a team distributed across time zones?

I am working very closely with a couple of other developers across time zones between North America and Europe. We all have flex hours and it's proving difficult to be online together at the same time ...
10
votes
4answers
6k views

What to do after I finish all my tasks and my manager has no tasks to give me? [duplicate]

Sometimes, after I finish all my tasks, my boss has no tasks to give me. So I sit and feel bad I'm not doing anything. Additionally, I'm not sure if I can surf the Internet and mind my own business or ...
10
votes
3answers
4k views

How to handle a situation where my meeting deadlines is delayed by someone superior to me?

I am in a management position where my role is to coordinate and assemble the first hand manual research and analysis of raw data by junior business analysts, which I have to give to my direct ...