This week has been half term in the UK. As is the way of things these days I have been dipping into my laptop all week, despite that is, being on holiday. It seems any week, these days, can turn into a workweek. With no meetings, it was great for getting stuff done, albeit not so great for an actual rest!
This is a very modern problem and is of course greatly enabled by our new way of working. We are always on, always connected, and always available.
Not so long ago, with patchy mobile/cell phone connections, getting away and being out of range was quite plausible, if not frequently possible. Not so these days. Technology is tremendous these days coming on leaps and bounds even in the last few years. There are really not many places left, without signal coverage, on the coverage map.
Despite my lack of time off (or on the beach), it was actually incredibly productive. A week with no meetings booked, not being instantly available on messenger, really provided an opportunity to catch up with thinking and just get organized. Having a smaller to-do list certainly reduced stress and made way for some strategic thinking, which is after all a lot of fun.
Of course, using up holidays to get stuff done, is by no means ideal nor sustainable, especially when we go back to commuting and the office. We may get away with it a bit of extra work on a staycation, but on a foreign holiday, it will go down like a lead balloon, certainly in my house.
However, maybe this is an opportunity to think differently about our time. Schedule weeks with no meetings, reading weeks maybe, could actually be a great way to get stuff done, catch up on ideas, thinking and getting refreshed without burning holidays.
With the frenetic pace we seem to be living at these days it could be a good way to force ourselves to slow down a bit and catch a breath.
A hard start
Travelling for work has also always been a good source of ideas and a trip this week it gave me a bit of time to finish an audiobook. It prompted me to also think about my routine, and in particular how to break goals down into small steps and doing a little each, and every, day.
In our industry we have lots of great ideas, a drive to transform customer journeys, digitise our processes, create fantastic customer experiences… however how many times have we also seen these great intentions stall, get blocked, or just frankly run out of steam?
Sometimes the hill just seems too steep, the change too massive, or funding too large… and then there are also the naysayers, quick to say it can never be done, not to waste your time, and offer an opinion, even it is not their project.
If you listen to hard, it is easy to get disheartened, and never let an idea have enough space to get going… and, after a long week, being busy with lots of to-do’s, slumping on the sofa, watching the latest series is far easier (squid game – another example of Asian cool btw). Starting is hard, giving up is easy.
Once started, every journey is always just a set of steps, and taking each step at a time, and keeping going, will get you there… eventually.
This is true for change at work too. Starting with one small change, moving on to the next, then the next… keep going… link them together and the journey has started… you are on your way. All you need is that first step and the routine to keep moving forward.
Over time this can be a powerful way to generate real change and the beauty of the strategy… if each of the steps is small enough, they can be low cost, easy enough to tick off and keep under the radar long enough, and sidesteps any critical viewpoints, with actual proof it is already working.
So could it be, in a world where flashy projects, big-ticket investments and smart-talking always get lots of attention, the small, steady, consistent, ideas are actually worth taking a second look at? It can be where some of the most powerful change can come from, especially if linked together to a longer-term vision.
Time to relook at that small change investment budget differently maybe? … or maybe take more ‘time off’!
Next week is the Credit Connect, Credit and Collections Technology Think Tank, so will hear more great ideas I have no doubt… will report back next week.
Have a good week everyone.