Re-centering

This morning was another stressful one, but that was my doing. I had stayed up late last night playing with Free Rice. (Word quizzes! For charity!) As a result, I hadn’t gotten up until 7:15. A mad scramble for the door might have worked better than a non-rushed-but-not-leisurely breakfast; perhaps next time. In any case, I arrived at 120 Bloor East ten minutes late for our team call.

I will fix that tomorrow. I hate being late. I hate being late more than I like staying up, so that should be easy.

After a morning of meetings, I was frustrated when I couldn’t quite make progress on the market scan I needed to do for a team member. I just couldn’t think of the right words that I could use to find news. I kept running into the same things I turned up during the previous market scan I did for the company. After a short chat with my team member, I tried reframing it from a market scan (“What are people out there doing in this space?”) into a brainstorming session (“How can we make this better?”), and _then_ the ideas started flowing. Sometimes it’s all about what question you ask.

I’m getting a little uncomfortable about one aspect, though. I don’t think I have a good process yet for assembling a large variety of information. I need to do market scans and stay abreast of developments, and it’s absolutely fantastic that there are blogs covering most of the areas I’m looking into. But I don’t yet have a good way to organize this information so that I can see patterns and summarize them easily. Maybe a mindmap. http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page just released a new test version, and I’m looking forward to giving it a try.

I used another mind map on MindMeister
to share my brainstorming with my team member. It was _fun_ thinking
creatively, and I’m back to feeling a sense of centered-ness that I’d
missed over the past few days. One of the things I’ll need to practice
is to build that time and space into my schedule, even if it means
admitting that yes, I don’t have spare cycles for something.

Now there’s something important. It’s not really saying, “No, I can’t
do that,” just helping people see that it might take longer than
expected. If I help adjust the level of expectations (or
“level-setting” in businessese), then other people can plan more
accurately around me. Again, this sense of how many ‘cycles’ I can
spare is something I’ll need to develop over time! <laugh> What
would help?

  • Seeing current projects and their timeframes
  • Seeing how I’ve allocated my time over the next week
  • Sharing my current projects (outcomes, impact, etc.)
  • Managing from my calendar instead of my task list

Saying yes to everything is a quick way to burn out. I don’t think I’m
close to that yet, but it’s good to practice managing people’s
expectations so that I’ll be good at it when it really matters. Not
that I’m going to waste any time, of course, but it’s better to
deliver more than expected than it is to deliver less.

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