While project managers monitor progress on an ongoing basis, a really good project manager will periodically pause to see not only whether tasks are getting done but how the project team is functioning, what the team members’ observations are, what lessons have been learned. Armed with new knowledge, the project manager can make a adjustments to the plan as well as share the lessons with other project managers.
I recently agreed to take on a writing challenge with some friends—May Manuscripts: 31 Days of Meeting the Muse. My project plan: 1) produce something daily and 2) publish something daily (not necessarily the same thing!). Halfway through my challenge, I’ve already learned…
Lesson 1: I have more time in my day for writing than I would have acknowledged before.
Aha! Gotcha! We all make excuses—myself included and perhaps especially. By prioritizing my time better, by eliminating TV and newspaper time (some, not all), by not letting myself go to bed before I finished my blog entry, most days I have easily found about two hours to write—on my writing, not business or other “required” writing.
Lesson 2: Writing regularly becomes easier when you simply make the decision to do it.
Once you’ve decided to say yes, it’s no longer an option to say no. Once you’ve decided to write daily, you don’t have to waste energy each day deciding whether or not to write, so…you have more time and energy to write! (Go figure!)
Lesson 3: I am lucky to have a calm, quiet household.
After spending a weekend with my brother and sister and 20-month-old niece, I have learned I cannot write in chaos!!!! I don’t know how parents do it. Journaling is one thing, but “productive” writing was hard for me. I struggled to focus long enough to find any sort of flow. Perhaps I would learn how to write in chaos if I were in that environment regularly. For now, blessings on those of you who face that challenge.
Lesson 4: Taking a break is good.
While I am sticking with my commitment to write and to publish daily in May, I have recognized my brain needs a rest once in a while. Just like it needs a day off from my consulting business, it needs a day off from “productive” writing. It needs a day of no pressure and a chance to take in new ideas and experiences without regard to a project plan. It needs a chance to play.
The second half of the month will, no doubt, teach me new lessons. In the meantime, I will appreciate how good it feels to write something new in my peaceful bedroom with only the sounds of the fans moving the air around me…