Have you ever castigated yourself for being inconsistent?
Perhaps you, like me, can’t sustain a process easily. You work for a while and then go fritter away some time. Then, later (sometimes a lot later) you come back to the task again.
I’ve often criticized myself for not being able to stay focused on a task from beginning to end. And really, sometimes I’m extreme. If I’m writing something, after 15 minutes, when I get stuck, I sometimes go lie down!
Recently, though, I’ve had a breakthrough.
My friend and colleague Miriam Barnard has given me a new way to think of inconstancy. Rather than seeing it as a failing, she’s helped frame it as simply natural.
Slogging Through a Big Project
Here’s the context. I’ve been struggling for almost a year now to buckle down and create the 4th edition of my biggest (418 pages) and most successful book. But every time I started to work on it, slogging through the pages, all I want to do was take a nap.
Finally, I realized that I needed help if I was going to get this huge project done. And I found Miriam!
Miriam is not only knowledgeable about fundraising, but she’s also a great writer. And most importantly, she’s a fabulous project manager. And Miriam introduced me to a new way of working.
Workflow Made of Sprints
Miriam created a system and timetable for redoing the book that was perfect for me.
Rather than mapping it out in a long multi-month slog, she created a plan that has a series of two-week “sprints!” with rests in between.
Now that’s my style. Short intense engagement with clear goals… and then, a nap or a day of movies or getting lost in a page-turner novel.
I felt my head clear. And for the first time, I believed the 4th edition would actually get done and done well.
Design a Work Plan to Fit Your Style
When I saw a work plan based on sprints — short and intense periods of work followed by… whatever, I realized that my inability to work consistently and steadily over a long period isn’t a weakness. It’s just a method of working. It’s just my natural work style.
You can design a work style to fit who you are. Who’s to say what’s better or worse. If it works for you… it works!
Determine if You’re you a Slogger or Sprinter
What’s your work style? Do you prefer to stick with a task until it’s done? Or do you work in fits and starts?
If you’re the kind of person who works in short, intense periods, try pulling your projects apart and designing them into work sprints followed by periods of recuperation. But whatever is your work style, stop criticizing yourself. Accept your style and work with it rather than wishing it were something else.
Let me know what design process works best for you by leaving your comments below or heading over to the facebook page.