Take a step back

29 Oct

Already today I’ve had a handful of comments on how tired and stressed I looked – I try to explain it’s the beard (and the inevitable itchiness it brings) that is creating this impression for people.

In some ways they’re right – I am pretty tired; working days and band rehearsals in the evenings. What if I don’t have rehearsal one night? – I tend to head back to the office or have a meeting with someone to advance BlueSkies or LifePets.

My name is John – I’m a workaholic –

 

Image

I admit it – I’m enjoying the work, and am very focused on progressing every day. It feels great each time I take another step towards creating a successful enterprise.

The problem is recently I’ve been spending so many hours at it (my next post will describe what IT actually is that I’ve been doing recently) that I suddenly found myself bogged down with the nitty gritty of all the tasks and not really getting anywhere.

For example in the game I’m developing I’m having to draw the storyboard of the prototype for our programmer so he can get to creating the game itself. I was adamant to include a very detailed and long tutorial with a storyline that will engage the user. Not only would this require a lot of time for myself, the mental health professionals on board, our designer, and programmer (ending up costing me a lot!) but it would mean that it would take a lot longer to get even the prototype complete – let alone getting the final product out to market.

So after a day of sitting there and just telling myself all I need to do is to work harder and this will get done in the same time I finally realised what needed to be done (and needs to be done regularly).

I took a step back

Instead of insanely thinking “this needs to be done, then this has to be done” ad infinitum, I sat back and said to myself “what needs to be done? – In less than three sentences?”  — “I need to have a prototype developed that can show potential customers what we offer, and something we can build on to complete as the final product” BOOM, one sentence!

So did I need a 60 page storyboard for the prototype? No. I need a 15 page one that can show off effectively the value of the product – 5 mins sitting back and checking what really needs to get done = a whole evening I don’t have to do any work; watch game of thrones.

I’ve got a quick story that taught me the same thing in a different way.

I was on holiday earlier in the year with some old friends. Near our flat was a small island with a lighthouse on it. Three of us wanted to swim out there.

So one day we set off. It took us about an hour and a half eventually. In our first 30 mins two of us tried to go as fast as we could. We looked at where the lighthouse was when we started swimming and then kept our heads down for long periods of time as we swam as hard as we could – we just wanted to get there as quickly as possible.

The other one of us did breast stroke – keeping his eyes firmly on his goal, the lighthouse. The two of us quickly got out infront, but because we kept our heads down a lot the current kept taking us off course and we swam in a direction that wasn’t directly towards our desired destination. Each time we realised this we had to change our direction and make up for lost time we spent going the wrong way. Half way there we realised the third guy was making distance as well as we were, and had spent less energy doing so.

So, at that point we learned from him, and as a three we swam hard, periodically looking up and making sure we were headed straight for where we wanted to go. We got there in good time with less wasted energy. What if we had have not looked up at all ? (like we all do some times in situations in our lives) – we might have been to far away by then to even reach the lighthouse.

In enterprises it is important to often take a step back, look up, and make sure you’re on track and not going off course. If the goal changes, as indeed it does sometimes, that’s fine. You don’t need to religiously lock eyes on a target and get there regardless of developments in the situation. I think it’s helpful just to be aware of your goals, and ask yourself on a regular basis – “Is what I’m doing taking me towards this goal?”

Happy swimming!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: