Christmas on a Wednesday puts Silicon Valley into the uncharacteristic state: two very slow weeks. All of my high tech clients were running at full speed in December. Projects hit a crescendo around the 12th when people realized just how little time they had in 2013, and then they crash landed just as school let out on the 20th. Luckily, those eight days were followed by an unprecedented calm.
In my case, I got 10+ days of family time, exercise time, house cleaning time, accounting time, and of course football time (which has become even more fun now that my six year-old will curl up with me on the couch, ask questions about the rules, and calculate the number of ways that a team can score 26 points). Go Niners!!
With ample time on my hands (for once), I reflected on my life a bit and made some New Year’s resolutions. While my aim was personal, I realized that my resolutions could be applied almost as well to my client relationships and my clients’ businesses.
Resolution #1: Invest the time in better family communication
When you’re rushing to get a bunch of people out the door in the morning or rushing to get a campaign or product into the market, it’s tempting to under-communicate, then repeat yourself or re-hash the same discussion over and over, and finally YELL. (Or worse yet, give people the silent treatment.) Families and teams aren’t always on the same page, even when they think they are. And communication really does take a commitment.
At work, I find that using a project management system really helps. Even in my technophile client base, only about half of my clients can actually make the jump. But when they do, it’s so much easier to set expectations, manage priorities, and keep everyone in the loop.
At home, this resolution seems to require even more attention. Sticker charts don’t always stick, and other methods are hard to apply consistently. Nothing seems to work the same at different times in the day. Maybe I need to get everyone on a home project management app!
Resolution #2: Live healthier
Pretty straightforward at home: eat better food, cook more from scratch, and exercise more. Less straightforward at work but equally important: do the research to make data-driven decisions, inject creativity into every task, and get the most marketing output from every input. Living healthier isn’t about the destination; it’s about the journey.
Resolution #3: Slow down and smell the coffee, even if just for a minute
The technology is ridiculously fast-paced. Sometimes I think about what my life must look like from my children’s eyes. So different from what my parents’ lives were like when I was a kid, and so different from what should be normal for a human being. It’s too easy to get caught in a work spiral that ends in burnout. But I think if I can find a way to step back for a minute once in a while, I’ll remember how much fun my job is!!
So wish me luck in keeping my resolutions for another 359 days.