What about all this free time?

A friend of mine stopped in my office one day and he started a conversation about trying to help our division build or create free time in their week.  Free time so folks can work on a personal blue sky project for a whole or half day.  He told me something that blew the sweetener out of my coffee ( I like my coffee black), he said “of all the people I’ve spoken to, they have no idea nor are they interested in having free time at work to blue sky something”.

Now I’m no workaholic by any stretch, but I’ll pitch in if the dam is about to break, or if management says “go and do”.  There are things work related that I want to devote time to but can’t during the normal 9-10 stretch each day.  But after thinking more about this, maybe folks just want time to  think about nothing; For example, no mental challenges,  interacting with stuff we can’t ignore; not like turning off your smartphone, but more like turn off that TV inside your head that plays on some UHF channel static and all.

I’m actually rethinking my free time as well.  What would you do if you had a free 1/2 or whole day on the clock to work on a personal project at your shop?

Cabin On The Lake

Cabin On The Lake

My folks had an awesome idea recently.  They want to gather the family together and meet at a campsite with cabins for some fishing, hiking, and unplugging from todas las cosas!  How does that sound?  Umm, in a word awesome.  I will probably back date a few posts and get them to post over the week.  But, I’m sure I’ll keep my analog journal buzzing with stuff.

Over the years I hear about and know folks that are just in no big hurry to head back for some family get-together, and a (very) few others do and look forward to it over the holidays, but part of me thinks some genuine reconnecting  seems built-in; as in we want to (re)connect at least once a year with the folks that made us.

I took a week off and spent it working on house projects with my Dad and having long talks in the kitchen with my Mom about food, family, God, crime, radio, computers, weather; everything is on the table with my Mom; visiting sisters and nephews, and having lunch with my grand-daughter for the first time.

What a great week – my Dad’s mind is so sharp and building stuff with him is just a blast.  We laugh so hard at ourselves some times we couldn’t even swing a hammer and pound a nail in straight.  And my Mom really makes me laugh too – really good times.

But a week on a lake with a cabin; wake up and walk out on the end of a dock two minutes later and cast a line out onto a glass covered lake – that sounds great to me right now, well great anytime actually.

I really hope this trip works out, it will be a blast.  We stayed in cabins when I was seven and we all really just froze b/c there wasn’t any heat – and that was fun too. That cabin on a lake view and experience is blistered into my memory like it happened yesterday. I guess I like being outside, that probably helps, but I love being around my family, outside, more.

It’s farther than you think

Lake Apopka Loop

Lake Apopka Loop

Today we went to a local trail that was converted from unused railroad tracks.  It’s a loop that is farther than I’m sure, but it’s called the Lake Apopka Loop.  We started down the trail and really didn’t set out to do a full 20 miles, it was the first time we had all four bikes on the carrier (which was a bit of a Rubik’s cube) and on this particular trail.  20 miles it is.

Three hours later, and at almost complete exhaustion, we returned to the trail head where we started out.  If you look at the map to the right, we did the yellow line, back and forth 10-miles each way.

At the 1/2 way point cramps had already set in, by the time we reached the last incline before the trail head none of us had any drive left.  Hopefully the next time I take on a twenty-mile trek it won’t be so far.

What a great day for a ride, kind of chilly, definitely not hot however it felt like we rode into the wind going in both ways.

Great day, great ride.

Going Bald

On Monday I shaved my head.  The responses I received were very interesting, indeed.  Most folks I’ve worked with for years at my shop didn’t even recognize me while I was standing next to them in lunch lines or waiting for my turn at the drinking fountain.  Those closer to me had no response at all, just a “Oh, you shaved your head.” – that’s it.

So not to read too much into those responses, I think it’s just another type of measuring stick.  I’m glad I took the leap, so much seems so different now: the way the back of my head feels on the headrest in my car – the leather is actually much colder than I realized; the way my hoodie creates the sensation of a squirrel or mocking-bird (I’m in FL)  landing on my head or that they’ve dropped something on my head during a morning run.

Shaving is quite interesting as well – you have to go really slow or the morning gets weird really quick.  Remember the feeling of pizza mouth, you get a bit of really hot pizza stuck to the roof of your mouth?  The feeling in the roof of your mouth an hour later is what your head feels like if you rush.  I think everyone’s hides are different so YMMV.

The consensus from other head-shaved guys say they have “no intention of growing any hair back”, I’m there too.

Happy New Me.

Today, A Win

Over the last few weeks I’ve been putting time into reading about patterns that aid in moving new ideas into organizations, i.e. what to do first, what to do next, how to keep the wheels on the idea.  One of the first patterns talks about weaving your new idea into your own work, then sharing it with others for validation and/or buy-in.  There’s more to it than this, but here’s where I’ll start my story.

I’d taken a very different approach to building in a feature for an application at my shop.  The business had a lot of input on how they need to perform tasks, I captured what I thought was everything in one, one hour meeting last month.  I used my (borrowed from a conference last year) idea for how to compose the information they had shared and today I shared their information in a new format they probably have never seen.  Four levels of employees all reading from the same pages, and everyone got that I populated those few pages with pictures, ideas, and information that told the story of how one part of the business works.

We went from the dry stuff to something a bit more interactive and fun – I let the end users show me how the feature’s workflow would be most beneficial for their day-to-day operation.  They seemed to get excited to have some authorship on the idea, and all with a low-tech prototype that allowed from quick changes on the fly as the conversation progressed.  We finished with only go over 15 minutes beyond our allotted time.

A good day, today, a win.

Just like Favre…

I broke my streak for being consecutive, but I admit I did not send any (alleged) racy texts to any folks in the process.  Yesterday was good and bad.  It was my shop’s New Year’s holiday so it was my last holiday off.  I had really high expectations for the day and then about 9:30 a.m. I picked up my first sinus headache of the year.  My sinus headaches really suck, I’m sure everyone else’s will too, but not on my last day off.

So I still managed to finish a book and skim through one that I’ll never finish but tied together a few thoughts.  The thoughts I had were to figure out how to tie my goals to collaboration.  I don’t think I’m a great collaborator as in Lewis & Clark, Martin & Lewis, Laurel & Hardy, where they churned out real team work in their own works.

I look more like a mentor that needs someone to teach a hard lesson in the field that I work in.  And I don’t truly believe that anyone in my circles of influence care about the hard lessons, not yet anyway.  Something has to hit the fan before that happens.

So one idea I had been to be my own mentor.  After asking myself what seemed hundreds of times on how to do this over my holiday break, I figured out a way that might work.  If I ask myself what could be the worst thing that could happen with this or that thing in my work.: Final answer.: Inspire Yourself Daily

Sinus headache still sucks today, and I’ll post again tonight, it’ll be like giving Favre a chance to play another game in a different timezone to keep the streak alive, only without retiring.

Don’t Confuse Motion With Progress

Sometimes I create the movement I want to experience on project or task I’m working on. It feels good to move that big fat rock up the hill once in a while. A Peter Drucker quote I read a few days ago sums it up (the title of this post).

But today I realized all of the motion or movement doesn’t always cause the rock to move. And I also realized today (tonight actually) you may need the help of a perfect stranger to move the rock even though you possess the strength and the will. This was from watching “The King’s Speech”.