Now that I think about it I think I went through a similar graph of stress, clarity and relief with Midnight Poutine last year. When there’s a pattern to be found, there’s knowledge to be gained. So I think its worth looking at this with respect not only to Midnight Poutine, but all projects I undertake that are of a complicated nature.
Right now I feel great because I can see the end and the steps required to get to the goal are fairly clear. I can comprehend all the steps involved. Its doable. Its happening.
As recently as last week the whole thing seemed overwhelming. Lots needed to be done and I wasn’t really clear on who was doing what, how or when it was all going to happen.
Part of it I think has to do with deadlines. When you get close to a deadline it becomes a lot easier to prioritize. The things that aren’t essential just fall away. If they get done great, but they aren’t worth worrying about. Finding a way to cultivate that sense of priorities earlier in the game would make a big difference to my mental health during a project.
Another is just working. Loading Jody’s van, cutting plywood at Ryan’s, these things gave me a tangible sense that shit was actually happening. As important as planning, spreadsheets, meetings and all these other things are they just don’t provide the same satisfaction and reassurance as sweat, sore muscles and a solid piece of finished work that you can look at and touch. So, tangible benchmarks should exist throughout the project instead of just at the end. Its always nice to work on things, even nicer to finish them.
Work with other people. Its damn easy to feel frustrated and alone when working on a project alone. If there’s someone else in the room it feels a lot better, even if the work itself is tedious sometimes. Also, its much harder to find busy work or to slack off if there’s someone else working alongside you. Finally fresh blood always means fresh energy. There’s a thousand reasons to work with other people.
These are a few of the lessons learned. The trick is to remember them and practice them and watch for more. There’s always more lessons. 🙂