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I know how you feel. I used to work in more socially engaging jobs, and now I work a mostly sedentary job in a library doing book and media orders and dealing with magazines. (Oh the hell that is magazines… I tell ya…) I’ve been here about 4 and a half years and I still struggle though not nearly as badly as I did when I first started.
Like you, my first couple of months were fine, good even… but that’s mostly because it was new, exciting, and most of the difficult-for-me stuff hadn’t really kicked in yet. I have to track long standing orders and magazine renewals, I have to track transactions and file invoices in specific places, and I have to remember to double check for missing issues. The worst thing is when there is a problem I can’t resolve right away and sometimes I would forget to follow up on them.
I do a number of things that have increased my success in the meantime:
– I listen to music or pod casts or audiobooks I’m already familiar with (cuts down on ambient distractions, coworker’s converstaions carrying, etc.)
– I write out “To-Do Lists” AND “Follow Up” lists. Even your every-day tasks can go on that To-Do List if you know it’s going to be a busy day… that way you can avoid some build up.
– “Follow Up Day” – every Monday I have a block of time saved in the early part of the day to focus on my “Follow Up” items… be they emails, vendor questions, whatever went on that Follow Up list that isn’t complete yet.
– Write those lists by HAND, even if you have to re-write them. There’s a connection between writing things down and brain processing.
– I created Excel documents that have helped me track my long-term responsibilities better. I make it a habit to review those documents once a month at the start of each month. I even write it on my calendar and add Outlook Calendar alerts to remind me.
– When I feel like some part of my job has really backed up on me, I devote half a day or a whole day to resolving that back-log. Not only does it get done, but I feel better about it. Don’t underestimate the impact of ANXIETY. If you are anxious about an old to-do pile, then you are going to struggle with EVERYTHING. Just tackle that pile, the anxiety will likely decrease dramatically, and doing your other stuff will be easier.
– try different time systems. there are lots of methods out there, but a basic one is: set timer for 25 minutes to work on a task and devote to that task, when time is up then set for a 5 minute break (bathroom, coffee, stretch your legs, something relaxing but won’t throw you down a rabbit hole), then set a new 25 minute timer and rinse and repeat.