Assess Yourself and Topic
In my job as a computer technician for The Navy Marine Corps’s, I am responsible for completing a variety of tasks at a high volume.
It is important that I am on top of each situation as it arises, as there is little room for error. While on the job, a variety of challenges arise, often requiring my quick attention. Every day, there is a compilation of challenges that my employer faces, and I must figure out how to prioritize the tasks. In this essay, I will discuss the challenges of my job and how I am able to use a course theme to “Put First Things First,” to ensure that I complete my job in the most efficient way possible without overburdening operations. I need to be savvy at time management if I want to be able to perform my job and meet all of the daily problems that arise at work, and putting first things first is the way to accomplish that task.
Chosen Course Theme: “Put First Things First”
Fortunately for me, and my employer, I am the type of person who likes to make lists and follow through each item as quickly as possible. That is one side of my personality; the other side is that I love working with computers. Both computer and time-management skills are imperative to functioning at a high level on my job. Each day, I receive a list of tasks that need to be completed. For example, I may have to fix a computer that has a virus on it, reinstall hardware, or repair hardware. Each of these issues carries its own weight of importance, and it is my job to ensure that the most vital task is completed first.
Often, I can delegate my responsibilities to my assistants, but they are not always trained to handle many of the more difficult issues, and when they do not know how to complete a task, it takes more time to help them than it would have if I had done the task myself. This is where another key component of my job comes in: training. In addition to handling the computer tech problems that arise at work, I am responsible for ensuring that those who are on my team are knowledgeable enough to complete many of the tasks themselves. But it is not always easy to balance the pressing computer issues and training a staff that can deal with them effectively.
“Put First Things First” in Relation to Training
Many trainers, such as myself, face the challenges making changes to technology in the workplace, and this is often because of time management issues. It is important for me to put first things first, and train staff so that they have the knowledge base for the most important task first. This becomes a particular problem at my job because of constantly changing technology. This means I am consistently training staff about the changes that continually arise. Sometimes I have the assistance of team members to decide the best way to implement the change, but sometimes I am confronted with the task of making the switch on my own. This is often where I thrive, thanks to my “Put First Things First” attitude. While some changes can be as simple as using a new server to put information, others are extremely challenging and deal with an array of possibilities to which the outcome is difficult to know. These decisions often require action by the computer technician team. When technology is involved, this can become somewhat of a challenge in any type of office. For example, The Navy shouldn’t have much of a problem implementing technological change due to its high-quality training, particularly in time management. A real estate brokerage, on the other hand, might be confronted with confused employees.
According to “Strategic Planning Facilitator Guide,” several techniques – when only one person is responsible for making the decision – can often be ignored by employees. They may not want to commit the time or energy to tackling a problem. Attempting to make the change is also risky because it could lead to failure. For myself, not being able to fix the issue can damage my team’s reputation. Many trainers believe that ignoring the problem, and not bothering to train the staff, will cause it to go away, but this is rarely the case, (Muller, N.D.). Many trainers lack the time management skills to enforce the change, because they can become overwhelmed with the tasks they have to do, the text explains. This is an accurate outlay of the issue; however, I would go a step further by emphasising that change is not often easy to implement. Employees are sometimes unwilling to co-operate because of personal barriers, organizational barriers and lack of readiness. It is up to trainers like myself to overcome the resistance and guide employees to accept, and showing them how to put the first thing first is effective.
“Put First Things First” in Relation to Task Organization
In addition to ensuring that my team is up-to-speed on all of the needed changes, I must tackle all of the problems that arise during day-to-day operations. These issues can be quite complex, and it is often difficult to tell how long each task will take. Often what seems like a complicated problem surprises me by having an easy solution. And sometimes when a problem seems like it would have an easy solution, it does not. When organizing lists, I find it is difficult to tell how long each task will be. However, with experience, it has become much easier to make the estimate of the time that it will take for completion. Many challenges are not new, and as similar issues arise, I am more familiar with exactly how to solve them and that makes putting the first thing first easier. But, I have to also take into consideration the issue that needs to be addressed the most. Often that means prioritizing who needs the problem solved. For example, if it is my boss who is having problems with his computer hard drive, I will make sure that his issue is addressed before a lower level employee. It is not only in my best interest to make sure my boss is happy, but his daily work requirements are likely much more vital to the organization than a lower-level employee. This is a deduction that I make based on my putting the first thing first skill.
Provide Evaluation of Textbook, Readings and Lectures
I thought for the most part that the textbook dealt with the subject matter in a very efficient way. I felt like I could relate to the text because it gave real-life examples, rather than just providing a general overview of the theories. Often, theory and practice differ quite a bit, but I thought the text was effective at bringing out some of the issues that arise every day at the work place. It was relieving to see that it is not just I who faces a problem with handling the high volume of tasks. And it was striking to see some of the similarities in my ways of handling a high volume of tasks, and the ways that the textbook mentions dealing with the complications that can come up.
The readings were also an interesting look at the various components of the work hierarchy and the tasks that each level has to deal with. There is much more emphasis at the management level on ensuring that the staff are happy and working their hardest than I had imagined. In the Navy, we are constantly ensuring that we are performing our tasks in the best ways possible, and efficiency is key. It is rare that a person needs to be disciplined, or is called out for not working their hardest. The readings showed that other organizations aren’t as lucky with their employees, as there is a constant need to motivate them. This made me recognize that there is a sense of pride in the Navy, and each person who works there wants to perform their best. This could be due to the attractive pay and benefits, as well as other perks that management has put in place. They already conform to many of the standards set out in the readings.
The lectures were also helpful because they emphasized many of the key points that were made in the textbook and in the readings. The lectures helped put everything into perspective, and they added insights that I would not have been able to contemplate myself. Essentially, the lectures took the sometimes dry material of the textbook, and made it lively, to the point where I was enjoying what I was learning. I could see some of the material getting redundant if it was not presented in such a way as to provide unique insights into the textbook material.
Review of Authors
The authors did a good job at provided a theory that I believe is accurate of the real world. This is important to understand in participating in a workforce, because it provides an employee with a unique perspective. I found myself at work thinking more about the role of time management, and what managers would expect me to do. This increases my ability to act and not be acted on. This made me feel more a part of the unit, rather than just another ant in the ant hill. Thanks to the authors, I was able to fully understand the hierarchy in which I find myself, and I think this will be an extremely valuable tool in developing my tasks in a proactive way. While studying this course, I set goals that would limit stress and burnout. With a knowledge of what my superiors are looking for, I can more easily anticipate what they want of me. That will likely lead to increased performance, and potentially a promotion due to putting the first things first. Of course, if the authors are not accurate about their theories, I will not be able to make such a leap forward, but judging by the examples that they provided – such as those dealing with the role of time management – I believe that the authors are correct in their evaluation of organizational structures and their theories about innovation and time management particularly stood out to me because of my experience. Providing the real-life examples gave the authors a solid foundation from which to address the topic in an authoritative manner. The motivating employees section of the handouts was particularly valuable at helping me understand the views of management. For example, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory showed me that it is not only important to pay attention to the lower-order needs, such as safety, but it is also important for employee morale to understand the higher-order needs, because this will create a more vibrant work environment where employees can more effectively put the first things first.
Muller, G. (N.D.).Strategic Planning. Open Space Institute Denmark. Retrieved from