“Yes, you could call it stress,” Daniele replied. “And it’s building. I seem to get farther behind and I can see there are things that need to be done, there is no way I will get to them.”
“What do you think is happening?” I asked.
“I get to work early to get a few minutes of peace and quiet. It’s usually my most productive hour of the day. But then, there is an email, or a note on my desk about a struggling project and boom, I am in the weeds again. I am not complaining about the work, but I feel the stress. I am torn between these urgent projects and the work I know I really need to be doing. It even affects my work-life balance. I feel like I need to come in to work two hours early.”
“Do you think you have a work-life balance problem?”
“Yes. My husband thinks so,” Daniele nodded.
“You know I am a structure guy. I don’t think you have a work-life balance problem, I think you have a structure issue. Why do you think you get pulled into the weeds and cannot get to the work you need to be doing as a manager?”
“My team has questions that have to be answered, problems that have to be solved and decisions that have to be made,” she described. “If I don’t spend that time, they just get stuck and don’t know what to do.”
“Your stress is only the symptom. It looks like a time management issue, but it’s not. It’s a structure issue.”