Author Topic: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere  (Read 6019 times)

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pierrotlunaire0

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S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« on: March 06, 2014, 03:26:34 PM »
I didn't want to hijack the other thread, but I do have a similar but not quite similar situation.  Our days run like this at the DMV: Doors open at 9 am; Doors are locked at 5 pm, but we still take care of everyone who is in the lobby; We cash out, clean up and leave at 5:30 pm.

Now, for the clerks, at 5 pm, they are basically done.  But 5 pm is when my crunch time begins.  I have to cash out everyone, balance the deposit, complete End of Day reports and close out the cash registers and account for inventory.

My somewhat similar situation is when a clerk wants to ask me a question they could have asked me anytime during the previous 8 hours.  For example, "Can I have Tuesday, August 12 off?  There's a family picnic that day.  Is the 12th a Tuesday?  What is the second Tuesday of August?  Anyway, can I get it off?  Does anyone else have that off?"  Meanwhile, I have a stack of money in my hand, approximately $1000 - $1500 in every denomination, and I am actively counting out loud.  I can't even yell, "Stop!" because I will lose count and have to start over, and the process is exacting and time consuming as it is.  In the past, I have grabbed a pen and quickly jotted down the number I am on, so that I can say, "I can't talk now.  Ask me in the morning."

Now, my staff is very well meaning, but some people just can't get it into their heads: this is the absolute worst time to ask me anything.  Someone in the other thread mentioned that some people have an idea hit them, and they have to ask before they forget.  But it is even harder for me to remember!  I am trying to count a lot of money, and it's not even my family picnic.

Often, the employee does forget, and then there is some wailing and gnashing of teeth two months later when I say, "I only honor written requests by union contract.  I don't even remember you asking me, and Sally turned in a written request six weeks ago."

What is an effective way to get across the message: Do not ask me questions between 5 - 5:30.  Requests should only be submitted when you have my undivided attention.  If I tell you to come back for my undivided attention, the burden is on you, I will not hunt you down.  And time off is requested in writing, and only becomes official when I sign your request and return it.

Help!  I do not want to snap at people, even though there are times when it seems as if it might be the only thing that works.
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TootsNYC

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2014, 03:41:45 PM »
A sign? A vacation-request form?

First a meeting, maybe, to explain the problem.

Then get a little easel and a small piece of of foamboard, and write something on it like

No Interruptions--Counting in Progress
Put Your Post-Its Here

Leave the bottom half blank, and double-stick-tape a Post-It Note pad on the board, and have a pen somewhere, and they can write, "Susie, vacation starting Sept.5?" and stick it on the blank spot on the board.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2014, 03:42:56 PM »
Wear a sandwich board while you are counting that says, 'If you ask me now, the answer will be NO.  If you send me an email in the morning, it will probably be yes.'

OK, maybe not.

I'd either bring it up at the next staff meeting or send a staff wide email or memo that states something like:  During the period from 5:00 to 5:30, I cannot be disturbed.  If you need something from me during that time, put it in writing and I'll get to it first thing the next morning.  Better yet, ask me before 5:00.  Thank you for your co-operation.

Or move yourself to an office with a door that locks, if one is available.
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
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MrTango

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2014, 03:46:20 PM »
When I'm working on something that requires a lot of concentration, if someone comes up to me and tries to get my attention, I'll say "Just a minute."

If they keep talking, they're just going to have to repeat themselves becuase I'm not listening.

pierrotlunaire0

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2014, 04:00:48 PM »
No Interruptions--Counting in Progress
Put Your Post-Its Here

Leave the bottom half blank, and double-stick-tape a Post-It Note pad on the board, and have a pen somewhere, and they can write, "Susie, vacation starting Sept.5?" and stick it on the blank spot on the board.

I really like this idea, and what is really great is that I have an empty bulletin board, so it would be very easy to implement.
I have enough lithium in my medicine cabinet to power three cars across a sizeable desert.  Which makes me officially...Three Cars Crazy

TootsNYC

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2014, 04:08:41 PM »
I would suggest you put something on your desk--something people will see instead of your face, or in the same mental "picture."

bopper

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2014, 05:16:37 PM »
"I am counting money. You have to wait until I am done. "

TootsNYC

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2014, 05:18:40 PM »
or "Shoo"

 ;)

Hey, it's short, and you might not have to stop counting.
Or a "Ssst!" or something?

kidding, really.

YummyMummy66

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2014, 05:35:41 PM »
Who is your boss?  I would talk to your boss about the situation and ask them to send out a mass email/or notice stating that you will not field questions after 5pm. 

Make a sign or hang up the notice sent to or given to the employees and when someone approaches you as you are counting, don't stop, just poing. (You might have to hang this up when the doors close, not during working hours).

And also state that don't even bother to ask about time off requests.  If you do not have said paper in hand to give to me, (during working hours), then don't bother.

Although, in different words, (someone is probably better at this than I could be).

Minmom3

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2014, 12:21:23 AM »
What has gotten the point across for me and many other people I've worked with - when counting money and somebody comes up with their Important Question - I count louder.....  I don't stop counting, I don't look at them, and I raise my volume (partly because it gets the point across that I'm Counting) and partly because I HATE counting money and I'm not really good at it, and counting out loud helps me not lose my place.  If I lose my place and need to start over - there will be tears, and they might not all be mine!   >:(
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Promise

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2014, 12:46:09 AM »
For vacations, we have an employee google calendar.

perpetua

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2014, 02:20:23 AM »
Can you not take the money somewhere else to count it? An office or a room that isn't used?

I sympathise - I hate counting things and the smallest idea planted in my head that I *might* lose my place will instantly lead to me doing just that.

ClaireC79

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2014, 02:46:29 AM »
Maybe you need something like the drug round tabard to wear

Piratelvr1121

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2014, 08:17:29 AM »
A sign? A vacation-request form?

First a meeting, maybe, to explain the problem.

Then get a little easel and a small piece of of foamboard, and write something on it like

No Interruptions--Counting in Progress
Put Your Post-Its Here

Leave the bottom half blank, and double-stick-tape a Post-It Note pad on the board, and have a pen somewhere, and they can write, "Susie, vacation starting Sept.5?" and stick it on the blank spot on the board.

I like the board idea too, as I'm the same way.  When I worked retail in the past, it drove me round the bend when people tried to talk to me when I was counting out a drawer.  Sometimes it was the manager doing it...you'd think they'd understand!  Then they'd get annoyed at me when I had to start all over.  ::)
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dawbs

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2014, 09:50:07 AM »
A sign? A vacation-request form?

First a meeting, maybe, to explain the problem.

Then get a little easel and a small piece of of foamboard, and write something on it like

No Interruptions--Counting in Progress
Put Your Post-Its Here

Leave the bottom half blank, and double-stick-tape a Post-It Note pad on the board, and have a pen somewhere, and they can write, "Susie, vacation starting Sept.5?" and stick it on the blank spot on the board.
This is more or less what I do.
I have a job where  *have* to multi-task, a lot.  (But I also look like I'm open to chit-chat--sometimes I am, sometimes I'm not, but I'm usually able to do the polite smile/nod/"oh yes?").
The people who work for me know that it is *NOT* a time off request unless it's in writing.

Hell, it's not anywhere close to formal, it's just that they need to tell me that they're requesting a day off, i need to pick up a pen and a post-it, i need to write it on the post-it, and I stick/tape the note to the 'wall of worker notes' next to my computer.
If they walk away from me before it's on the post it, it wasn't a requested time off.  If I say I'm busy, they're to write their OWN post it--clearly, and put it on the bottom left of my computer screen--I'll review it before I leave and put it on the wall-of-notes.  (and if I'm not approving it, talking to them about it goes on my to-do list w/ the post-it)