Bottom line — Manage your time and priorities. If you don’t, someone else will and you won’t like it. Keep your work public and visible within your team. Resist doing hidden work at the expense of your priorities. You ain’t gonna get credit for it.
Whoever is asking you for a favor, ask them to make their hidden request visible.
The road to hell is paved with favors / requests from slack direct messages. That’s how you lose productivity. I’m not talking about sensitive messages that should stay private.
These are the messages that innocently start out as questions and turn into requests / favors. Requests turn into unscheduled time away from prioritized features I’m working on for the quarter. Worst of all, these request aren’t publicly visible. They are hidden.
When it comes to a quarterly review, your manager is not going to know about side favors you worked on because they were hidden in private messages.
Why’d you work on these when you had other priorities? is not what you want to hear during your review.
Don’t let hidden requests sidetrack prioritized quarterly goals you set with your team / manager.
Taking private conversations to public channels.
Let’s say a person from another department is asking you for a non-trivial favor by direct messaging you in Slack.
Respond with “Do you mind if we bring visibility to this request — can you copy / paste this request to this public channel
If you have a manager, it’s better that the manager is in that channel.
Now there’s visibility.
If the request isn’t trivial, your manager will push back on it and suggest it is prioritized rather than have you drop your priorities to do it.
The second benefit is that it’s harder to ask someone to do something for you publicly unless you have a good reason for it.
I’ve asked people to take requests / favors to public channels and nothing came of it. Like magic, the problem was resolved.
If the request isn’t important enough to ask publicly, then it’s not important enough to sidetrack your priorities.