Monday, February 20, 2012

NY, NY: Lessons Learned

The NY, NY project is over, so back to your regularly scheduled ramblings and experiments after this summation post. Here's what I've learned from tackling diverse goals in a reasonably systematic way with more than one kind of attack:

1. Look for the second right answer. Someone said that, because I have it on my wall of quote notecards at my office. We're good at arriving at the first answer that will change the way we're doing something. It's an improvement, but that doesn't make it the right answer. You need to find what comes after that. When everyone warns you that magic will take the path of least resistance, so be careful, the first response is to be really specific to control risk. The second answer, the right one, is to focus on what you want out of meeting that goal instead of how you presently think the best way to reach it is. The easiest path may not be the most pleasant, especially if you put a lot of boulders in the way because you're a control freak.

2. Fear and anxiety about doing it right take up way more time than just doing it and fixing any mistakes you make. The mistakes will happen no matter how much planning you put in because nothing is static. Acting with a reasonable amount of information to go on gets you a lot further a lot faster than trying to wait until you know everything possible and have planned for every contingency you can think of. It's good to be brave. It gets easier each time you try.

3. Caretakers need lots of care, too. I take care of people, feed them, comfort them, help them when I can. It's something I enjoy. Begrudging myself the same nurturing and love is not healthy, especially when it's in forms I can give myself. Everyone needs to take care of themselves, and it shouldn't take some sort of intervention to get you to take time to just chill out. (It didn't happen, but it got threatened.) Half an hour or so to meditate or take a hot bath or a cat nap is easy to find in the day and helps me be happier and more productive.

4. I need help. I don't have superpowers. Everything can't be done at once, nor can it be done well if you have too many things going to see each job through to completion. Even if I were able to manage juggling everything smoothly, I would still need help from the outside to get perspective, reexamine priorities, or be my backstop so that I can take time off. If I'm clear about the help I need, it turns out that it's no problem to get people to share the burden on a big project or on little daily tasks. Sometimes, you help yourself by having good boundaries and saying no to taking on more things.

1 comment:

  1. V. good thoughts! It's been great to have you join us for the first leg, I'm looking forward to seeing you in the second segment! Your posts have really made me think (and laugh) and it's been great getting a chance to get to know you!