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I Failed

The feedback loop portion of refining your process cannot work if you tell yourself, “no excuses” and ignore what actually happened.

I failed already, and it has only been a few weeks.  I had made a commitment to publish a new blog post each week until the end of the year. But I failed.  I missed the last two weeks.

It was a chaotic time.  I was getting ready to be out of the office for a week; attending an industry conference which also doubled as a family vacation. I attended a Red Bull match, which was extremely fun. I recorded a new Baker’s Insight podcast. I got my hair cut. And to close out the week I took several unscheduled phone calls and meetings because they seemed important enough, and I would be out of the office (and country) for a week.

During the family vacation/work conference, I never found the time, or better I never made time to sit down and write. It was lots of fun, sun, eating, drinking, and mingling. Not necessarily easy to concentrate with all of that going on.

I was scatterbrained (before I left for vacation), distracted (during vacation), and disorganized (throughout). My mind was everywhere but on the blog.

But that’s no excuse.  It might sound like I whittled off a list of excuses, and if I were to stop right there, it certainly would be an excuse pile.  I failed in my objective, and to understand why that happened, I need to take into account all the different things that happened, the facts, the entirety of the situation. It’s important to be grounded in reality.

The feedback loop portion of refining your process (I wrote about refining your process here) cannot work if you tell yourself, “no excuses” and ignore what actually happened.  It’s easy just to say, next time work harder. I probably could have stayed up a little later, or got to the office a little earlier. Putting in more time might have been the only real solution.

But maybe it was a matter of better planning.  I did sit down to write last week.  The time wasn’t blocked out, it wasn’t during a productive part of the day (at least not for me). It was after the kids went to bed.  I sat down and just stared blankly at my laptop. I had no juice. I banged on the keys a bit resulting in gibberish, nothing worth sharing. The creative forces were just not there. I gave up for the evening thinking I’d try the next night again.  That never came to fruition.

In weeks past, I had been keeping little notes of ideas, or situations that I’d like to explore in the blog. When I sat down last time, I had nothing.  Perhaps, carving out time during a morning, or early afternoon, the times of the day that I am most capable. And better yet, having a brainstorming session to build up 5-10 good ideas worth writing about, and then fleshing out those ideas with some basic outlines, would alleviate the pressure to come up with something on the spot.

There’s absolutely more I can do to refine the process.  I am upset with myself for missing the mark here, but I’ve been reminded that I need to take a look honestly at what were the failure points, plan for those, and execute.

Onward and upward, thanks or reading.

-Dan