The other morning, while walking the dog, I got a metaphorical lesson in proactive project management that I wanted to share. Plus, it is an excuse to add pictures to a blog post of our awesome dog, Shelby. (He is named for Caroll Shelby, a Texan racecar builder and driver, who also has an outstanding chili recipe.)
About 1 mile into my 2-mile walk that morning, my right hip starting hurting – a lot. As I made it home with a hitch in my giddy-up (that’s Texan for “limp” or other maladies), I got to thinking about getting into tough situations that you have to limp through.
Sometimes I don’t move from my desk for 4 hours because I’m so concentrated on work. Often, I skip my morning swim because I didn’t sleep well. Stretching? Nope… no time for that! Shelby needs a daily walk because he’s so high energy, but sometimes it ends up more of a meander than an opportunity to get my heart rate up. I shove leftover pizza down my gullet rather than making a lovely salad for lunch because I’m too busy. I have 1,000 excuses.
And, the result of me “not having enough time” or any of my other 999 excuses not to be proactive about my health? I hurt all over – often. It causes me to sleep even less well, resulting in more skipped morning swims and in the end, more hitches in my giddyup!
Proactive Project Management
So, have you figured out how this applies to proactive project management? How often do you say, “I don’t have time to plan this project. Let’s just get it done.” What about, “I can just do it faster than I can explain it.” And, the ever famous, “I’ll just work it in and get it done tomorrow.” Or, “We’ll work on the schedule later; I just need to get this done now.”
Meanwhile, your employees are twiddling their thumbs waiting for work. Clients are calling because things are late… or they haven’t heard from you in two weeks after you told them it would be done tomorrow. You don’t know how to prioritize your day. You have a bunch of emails from clients who are wondering about the status of their projects.
Why do we have to be in pain to make a change? How bad does the pain have to get before you decide to do something about it? We know what we’re supposed to do. Why can’t we do it and avoid the hitches in our collective giddyup?!?!?
The reason is plain and simple. We aren’t thinking about it proactively and looking at the big picture. We are thinking about today and the moment. (I’m too tired to get up at 5:30 am and swim.) Instead, we should be considering the big picture. (I have so much more energy and less pain when I’m sleeping better because I’m eating right and exercising.)
Improved Business Health
That pain made me re-commit to being proactive about my health. What pain has to happen in your business for you to re-commit to proactive project management? Stop thinking about only today and the moment. Let’s consider the big picture.
I’ll be reminding myself, consistently, that I will have to work through the initial struggle of additional fatigue and pain in order to get to where I want to be. You need to do the same in your business and commit to planning!
Also published on Medium.