Project Managing Myself

sock

Sometimes big changes start small. This sock drawer will look different tomorrow.

I manage projects every day—my family’s projects, my volunteer projects, and most of the time, work projects. I am a project manager—it’s what I do.

My Keys to Successful Project Management

  1. Prepare well. Understand the needs of the clients and what problem you are solving. Then prepare the requirements and strategy up front so your team can begin well and join you in the quest to solve the problem.
  2. Set deadlines and keep them. Even if your clients don’t give you specific deadlines, make them. And hold people to them. When you relax deadlines, you end up with wasted time, wasted money, and frivolous features on products that don’t need them.
  3. Be nice, but be honest. Deliver praise and feedback to your team with care, but don’t hold back on the truth. Quality and awesome customer service are the measures. Nothing else is acceptable.
  4. Give away the praise. Managing a project is important, but it takes a team to make something great. The skills and talents of your team need to be encouraged and applauded.

What I’ve come to realize this week is that I manage everything and everyone, but myself. And I need to. I need to be one of my projects and give myself the same level of detail, perfectionism, and care I give to every other project in my life. If I can’t do that, I won’t ever be able to achieve my personal goals. Instead I’ll continue to suck what life I can vicariously through the projects I manage for others.

So, I’m going to swipe a chapter from my own rule book and begin by preparing. I have some really big changes in mind and I’ve got some significant preparing to do. It all starts with cleaning out my refrigerator and sock drawer. No, my plans are not to become the Barefoot Contessa…but if those who know me don’t see a pretty big change by June 30, I will not have managed the Trish project well.

Why Should You Care About 2017?

future

What’s out there, 2017? Why should I care?

Happy New Year! 2017. I have no idea why one day makes such a big difference to me, but it does. Yesterday is a closed door–a year I can forget about. There might have been some good or interesting things that happened last year, but I can’t really recall them right now. And why would I want to? I’ve got 365 brand new days staring me in the face. What will I do with them? So exciting!

Just as December makes me crazy, January makes me hopeful. January is a cold, dark month where you can dig your heals in and work really hard. Not hibernate. Work hard. Build something. Do something new. Move in a new direction or in a new way.

I have a “fortune” from a cookie taped to my computer monitor at work. It has been there for about seven years. It says, “It is better to try something great and fail, then to do nothing and succeed.” That’s what January 1 is all about. Heck, that’s what life is about. A new year just helps bring this philosophy into focus.

I love hearing people’s ideas about New Year’s resolutions. I’ve had people tell me resolutions are dumb because it just sets you up for failure. To that I say, see the fortune on my computer monitor above. Others like to make broad sweeping resolutions, like “I’m going to work on being healthier.”  Still others make very specific lists. I’ve done both. And both work as long as the “why” is important enough to you.

So, what are you going to do this year? What are you going to do today? What are you going to change or build? Where are you going to go? And most importantly, WHY?

I have a challenge for you. When you write your resolutions for the New Year, write them in the form of  the “why,” not just the action you are going to take.

Examples of WHY Resolutions

I want to feel better and have more energy to share with my family, so I will eat healthier and lose 20 pounds.

I want to be able to have intellectual conversations with people about world events so we can really process and understand the world better together, so I will read three different sources of news every morning.

I want my free time to be spent doing good for the community and not wasted idly, so I will volunteer my Saturdays at the Rescue Mission.

The problem with not keeping resolutions is not because we fail in the doing, it is because we fail in our hearts. We fail in the “why.” You say you want it. But do you? Do you really? If you do, let that “why” stare you in the face. Let it motivate you and push you.  I think the specifics of resolutions can change over the course of the year. For example you may find another way to accomplish your “why”—a better way.  But the “why” never changes.

So today, as you think along with me about your next 365 days, try not to think as much about how you are going to do things, but think about why you are going to do them. Then join me and let’s go get 2017!