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I have a Clever-Dick Nephew Nick who lives in Roanoke USA, and 'CDN' paid me a surprise visit for my recent birthday. Apart from the fun and affection of having his giant personality bubbling around me, we had a man-to-man chat about my business and lifestyle. Now I consider myself as a reasonable manager, but thanks to his insights, I found out I had become, well, a little defocused.
See, I had loads of new projects brimming inside my fertile brain and by golly, was I working hard on several of them when he turned up. But I wasn't getting the results I was expecting.
To cut a long story short, he held a gun to my head (so to speak) and forced me to make a detailed list of all of my projects, assignments, ideas and what-have-you. My Daughter Carina was great at taking notes. Within an hour she had filled several pages of detail.
Then came the voodoo. CDN said let's make up a spreadsheet, factor in several aspects of each project, invent a prioritization formula, and press calculate…
We found the 20% of my project ideas that will give me 80% of the success. Job Done. Wish I'd have kicked my own arse first through…..
I haven't been sleeping too well recently, in that I keep waking at 04:30 or thereabouts, and I'm darned if I can get back to sleep…
I usually toss and turn for about 45 minutes, give up and get up. A cup of tea or coffee later, and I'm beavering away at my PC.
I think I know what's at the heart of it all. 2009 has been a year of significant change for me, in many small but important ways, and my subconscious brain has been working overtime! A good buddy and Uber-Smart money-making associate of mine Dave Shillito, has a great technique when he has a problem to solve – he speaks aloud "subconscious brain – go to work on it and give me a solution". Then he carries on doing whatever he's doing.
Craziest thing to watch I'm telling you! But it works.
It set me thinking about why my head is buzzing these days – It's buzzing with processing solutions to all the small changes that are going on my life right now.
The title of this blog post came from a 1970's hit by my favourite band, Huey Lewis and The News". See, I've got so used to the many changes going on in my life – I'd get totally screwed up if I had a day where nothing had to change. My subconscious would have to come up with a change – just to keep me sane!
Back in the 1990's when I was a working project manager, I had to deal with change on a regular basis. Here's an article I wrote on it recently:
But my point is, that the discipline of managing change in a project can be directly applied to ourselves.
Here is how I do it…
1. Log the change. –For you and I that means acknowledge that you need to change some aspect of your life.
2. Carry out an Impact Analysis. — Think about, or write down, the impact if this change went ahead. The impact might be your time, or spending money, or learning new skills, etc, etc
3. Consider Options. — What action could you take to implement the change? For each option, how would the impact (above) change?
4. Recommended Option. — Think through which option you would consider best (or tell your subconscious to go to work on it!)
5. Authorize. — Tell your subconscious of your decison.
6. Implement. — Do it and track your progress until the change is implemented. Go back to previous steps if you run into problems.
A good project manager will tell you that no matter how urgent the project (or task/activity/problem) is, you must give yourself time to sit down and create a plan first.
I guess this blog post is telling you just that…