I spend a lot of time thinking about monkeys at work.
One of my favorite time management concepts is “Who’s got the Monkey?” by William Oncken, Jr. This time management classic is targeted at managers, but I think this time management skill works great for non-managerial employees too.
The author uses the “monkey on your back” metaphor to describe how we assign tasks to each other. The “monkey” belongs to whoever has the next move.
You typically have a monkey on your back when someone has a task that you agree to take on, or a problem that you agree to look into. You get the monkey because the burden is on you to act.
The monkey doesn’t jump back to the other person until you complete your task and the next move is theirs.
Other people’s monkeys can quickly pile up and prohibit you from focusing on your own priorities.
Monkeys from bosses and customers are inevitable, (and part of your job to deal with), but monkeys from peers and subordinates can sabotage your performance. Continue reading “Other People’s Monkeys” »