Saturday, January 7, 2017

Memory... where I succeed and where I fail (work)

I have been working a colleague who works very differently from how I work, but we have the same role. Although we both still get the work done successfully and effectively. What I always found fascinating as we discuss our processes was the things I never paid attention to and how I have absolutely no recollection to the piece of information.

The most interesting thing that I am always thinking in the back of my mind while we're chatting was how little I remember about the details that she picked up. I mean absolutely zero information like reading the document at all, but I did in reality. I only know because I keep a checklist of tasks that I am supposed to complete. I am also very consistent on the missing information.

What I have learned is that there are many factors to how my mind remembers and recalls information. The biggest factor is how much I "care" about the information. For me to work quickly and effectively, I ignore a lot information that is not directly relevant to my role. The less I care, then I will more likely forget the information. If I don't care, I will almost not remember a thing about it.

The next because factor is stress and time. By stress, I do not really mean high blood pressure but how close I am to my limitations. For example, I can only handle at most two new emergency releases. Another one, my level of quality will drop dramatically. If you were to ask me 2-3 months later about the details of those releases, I will almost not remember a thing even though I appeared to know all the random numbers and ids at the time. But given time and a long term release, I will remember significantly more information for a much longer period of time.

On the other hand, my colleague has less tolerance with stress. The reason (imo) is that she cares about a lot more information. If there is ever a problem, she will be able to resolve the problem herself. She has a reputation to be a great superstar. I am more known for managing and handling processes.

In some ways, we make a good team though. We have more work than our team can handle so she gets delegated the larger and more complex releases, while I work on the more immediate requests. We do have other people in our team and they fall in the spectrum between us, and we all work out pretty well.

Unfortunately for me is that this is a little fail for me because I am almost always busy but I am the only person willing to build something to improve our process (at least as far as I know). I have recently spoken to my manager so hopefully this will alleviate some time for me to improve our work.