I took vacation this year; a formal thing with travel, schedule coordination, planned activities, and days full of interacting with others. Sounds pretty much like work, with the minor exception that this was all family-focused, with my SO being the only arbiter of success. The other differences were the realization that HughesNet has some serious speed constraints, and that I had to stand in just the right spot in the driveway or there was no cell service.
I thought that Virginia on the main corridor between the state capital and the population center on the coast would have had at least nominal cell coverage. But no. Minimal access to internet and cell service. Both restrictions were perfect for me as the whole point to a vacation is to change pace, viewpoint, and take the load off, right?
Too bad for me that my ki does not work that way.
What happened is that my spare brain cell kicked in and started doing the random thought comparison thing. If this has not happened to you before, it is very annoying. In this case, I was watching some sci-fi show about time and travel, another show about fighting the bad guys before they got bad and not getting the task done as promised (hence the protagonist being railed on by his boss). Yes, I was flipping channels.
The random thought comparison thing comes in when all that gets contrasted with my real life. Note that I did not ask for this to occur, it just does. My SO is used to me going blank and starting to drool; coworkers know to stay away. My children just run.
So here are the world-shaking insights that banged into me in those exacerbating moments. Time, fight the fight that needs fighting, under promise and over deliver, “what is the other guys’ perspective”, and my personal need to re-focus.
Time: it is the one thing the we all possess, and once spent, we cannot get back. How are you spending your allotment?
Not every fight needs fighting. Determine which is which. Live with one, pursue the other. I will let you decide which path to take with which fight. Picking which fight to fight is sometimes more about which weapon to choose.
I find an approach to the recalcitrant project counterpart is to leverage some of my limited consulting skills and make my counterpart think that all of what I want is because he/she thought of it. Mostly you can do that with the “help me understand…” sentence preface where you get them talking. A few suggestions along the way and their explanation of their perspective will start aligning with the answer you need them to give. It works, it really does.
How many times have you had someone say “just a sec”? That is an extreme case of over promising, because we all know that waiter is not getting back to our table in “just a sec.” Expectation setting is crucial to positive outcomes. If you layout what you will be able to do, and then exceed that, everyone is happy. If you do the layout and cannot deliver the minimums, everyone is not happy. Very simple. So simple it appears to be in the same vein as “common sense.”
Finally, the re-focus thing cropped up again. How I spend my time, what goals are important enough to survive the latest round of life objective updates, and what am I doing about those goals and objectives needed some introspection.
Goals and objectives simply need to be refreshed on a regular basis. We have our personal goals, our professional goals, and the goals our manager says we have. Review, re-prioritize, shuffle, juggle, change, delete, and add objectives to achieve your goal. If you don’t pay attention to this process, the process will do it for you, and probably not in the way you want. You must do it. Or it will do you.
Just so you know, Stargate (the movie) is a lot deeper than the genre might suggest, and NCIS: Los Angeles has a few spare angles as well.