Not Just for Fridays
Problems don’t only happen on Fridays. It only seems like more of them do. That’s probably because what we’re looking for is a clean desk and a walk out to the weekend.
Instead what often happens is that folks stop by to hand us an issue that “just can’t wait,” and suddenly a Friday seems like it is piling higher and higher in front of that door that says ESCAPE.
Here ‘s a rule I use to keep control of my Fridays, Thursdays, Wednesdays — actually every day — come to think of it.
The Monkey Rule
You know how it happens. Someone comes to you with a monkey — a problem that needs to be dealt with. He or she wants to give it to you. It’s not unusual for folks to delegate monkeys up or sideways. That’s why I use the Monkey Rule. I don’t know where I learned it. I read it somewhere in the last decade, but I’ve been using it ever since.
The Monkey Rule is simple — anyone who leaves a monkey with me also must take a monkey as they go.
The Monkey rule is easy to communicate just say something like this, “Ooh, let me think a minute . . . I’d be happy to work on your problem, but in order to get my own work done, I’d need to have you work on this. Could you do that for me? Otherwise, we could take a few minutes and brainstorm some solutions. . . .”
It’s fun to watch a visitor’s face, when he or she realizes that there is a price for my time. About half of the folks who come by decide on their own that I’m too busy. I guess their monkey looks nicer than the monkey I have to offer. Sometimes it is; sometimes it’s not. Sometimes I tell them straight out about The Monkey Rule. Sometimes I keep it to myself.
Try the Monkey Rule. Your time is valuable. Folks that you are helping out should also be helping you.
–ME “Liz Strauss