Lessons from the holiday break
It's been a struggle. In the heat lugging around 6 metre lengths of heavy timber. Sun beats down. Sweat beads on forehead. Up the ladder. Down the ladder. Searching for shade, any shade.
This summer my partner Simon and I have been building a cabin in the Coromandel. And it's been freaking hard work.
But I’ve learnt a valuable lesson:
Slow and Steady wins the race
On the hottest of the hot days, it was impossible to think three stages ahead. The only thing for it was to focus on simply putting one foot in front of the next. If I had to move 10 lengths of timber, I just focused on one at a time. Slowly but surely, we have built a cabin on this philosophy. Slow and Steady wins the race.
Yes, we had a plan. Yes, we had a vision. But to be honest it was too overwhelming to think of it half the time. We just set a task list for the day and went to work. We had a small break when we needed it. We knew we had to keep our energy up for the rest of the day, and the next day, and the next.
At the end of the day we'd crack open a beer and review the progress, and congratulate ourselves on a bloody hard day's work.
There are so many parallels here with the work that goes on in organisations.
1 Get your plan written down. The fact that we had a plan to work to was incredibly helpful. We modified it a bit along the way, but the steps were clearly laid down, and we just focussed on doing one thing after the other.
Have you got your plan written down for 2019? If not, get it done!
2 Deal with bite sized chunks. Focus on the quarterly plan and then chunk that down into months. Only deal with what you can get done now so as to not overwhelm yourself and your team.
Chunk things down into threes - 3 priorities for the year, 3 priorities for each quarter, 3 priorities per month. You get the idea.
3 Tick off the things as you go and regularly reflect on your progress. The end of the day beer was fabulous! Being able to sit back and see what we had done provided the energy and enthusiasm for the next day.
4 Persevere. There were many many times when I just didn't think I could keep going. In the end I found if I grabbed my sunhat, sought out some shade and had a breather, I could do another couple of hours work. It was all about perseverance - keeping an eye on what my body needed - but not throwing in the towel half way through the day. Be mindful about what you need, practice self care and when you think you can't keep going, figure out what you need to do to enable that bit extra.
Think now about how you can get through the hard times when they hit. That way you can go straight to self care and avoid the angst!
5 Have Fun. Daily yoga, jumping into the estuary at the end of the road, and plenty of laughs with Simon kept it fun amongst the hard work. Look for small ways to bring levity to what you do.
I may be spending my days in Auckland businesses now instead of the Coromandel bush, but I plan on bringing these lessons back with me.
What life lessons did you learn over the holidays?