Time Management – Michael Braun

Here at F12 we try our best to make IT easy for our clients. The best way to do that is to resolve client issues quickly. In order to be able to do this, it is imperative to be effective with your time management. There are some strategies that I use that I would like to share. If you work in a customer support role, you may find them useful as well. This article will touch on three parts: prioritizing tickets, knowing when to escalate and the importance of taking breaks. By keeping these three things in mind, you will be able to get more work done and keep your clients happy.

 

The ability to quickly assess and prioritize tickets/tasks is crucial to keeping the clients happy. Sometimes, this is very simple. Take this scenario for example:

There are two tickets. One user who cannot view a webpage. Another user cannot start their computer.

Clearly, the user who cannot start their computer is the higher priority. However, sometimes priority is not as obvious. Here is another scenario:

A user is having difficulty with a web based accounting application versus a user who is having trouble connecting to an Oracle database. However, you have already seen the problem with Oracle and know the solution.

The best approach is to quickly take care of the Oracle issues, as you have the solution. Then spend some time working on the accounting application issue. By working on the tasks in this order it allows you to get one user back to work right away. Then you can focus on the problem which may require some research, or vendor intervention.

 

Another key component of time management is being able to recognize when you are out of your depth. Part of the job is to solve problems, so naturally, we will work on an issue until we have a resolution. While it is great that the technician wants to own the problem, fixing the problem on their own is sometimes not the fastest way to resolution. If you get stuck on an issue and stubbornly try to solve it on your own, it can eat up your day very quickly and divert you from helping other clients. At the end of the day, the client wants their issue solved, regardless of who solves it. The question becomes: how do I know when to escalate a problem? According to the Project Management Institute, these are the questions you must ask yourself[1]:

  1. Have you made a sincere attempt to reach an appropriate solution but have found that you are at a dead end?
  2. Have you exhausted all other options and any further delay could have a detrimental effect on the project outcome or deliverables?

It is best to answer these questions within an hour. If you find that after an hour, you are no closer to a solution, then it is time to consider escalating or asking for help. Finally, in order to be effective at the points already discussed you must be focused. According to a study done by Baylor University, “After a morning break, employees said they had more energy, more motivation to return to work and were better able to concentrate.”[2] Placing short breaks at key periods during the day will make it easier for you to prioritize tickets/tasks and recognizing when there is a need to escalate.

Focusing on these three time management components will allow to be more effective during the day. This will translate to client satisfaction, as their issues will be resolved faster. In turn, from their perspective, we will have made IT easy.

 

Michael Braun

IT Analyst

[1] https://www.pmi.org/en/Escalation-How-to-Do-it-Right.aspx

[2] http://news.health.com/2015/09/18/workday-breaks-help-employees-reboot-researchers-say/

One Response to Time Management – Michael Braun

  1. Ray Archer says:

    nicely done Mike…This takes me back to a time when as a Tech I would run around all day long trying to resolve problems and there never seemed to be enough time in a day.

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