3 min read

Back in the swing

It's been a while since I've shared my adventures in project management here. Is there a term for professional blogging hiatus? Anyway, here's why this blog has gone dark for over a month: my wife and I had a baby girl and all of my spare time has been focused on my family.

Everyone knows, or has heard, that having a baby is mentally and physically taxing. It's been six weeks and I just now am sort of starting to feel like my old self, plus one. Not only have I been sleep deprived (the obvious complaint, I know), but I've been full of energy at the same time. It's like a life high! It' so exciting to have this new little creature to stare at and show off. So exciting, in fact, that I ended up not thinking about other things that I was doing in my spare time. Like writing.

Back to work!

I was lucky enough to take almost two weeks off from work. I didn't shut work off completely, but I did my best in focusing on my family. Regardless, getting back to work wore me down a bit. Add that lack of sleep and excitement to a full work day of planning, meetings, catching up on conversations missed and work delivered, and you have yourself a mind-erasing cocktail. Yes, it can be rough. Here are a few things I did to help avoid issues with time management issues, forgetfulness, and general overwhelmedness before I left, while I was away, and when I came back:

Before I left (as my wife was having contractions) I pulled together a current status list of everything I was working on. The idea here was that I wouldn't be needed for the details-if something important popped up while I was out of the office, there was a "go to" manual type of document for anyone to refer to. This, of course, if on top of the regular daily communications and status reports that are made available to the team.

While I was out I checked in on email a few times per day. I mainly did this to be sure I was not missing anything major. And, if I was needed for some sort of PM-related detail, I wanted to be in on the conversation (yes, I am a bit of a control freak). It took almost no time to check in and it didn't stress me out. In fact, checking in daily helped me to avoid 67,000 unread emails in my inbox upon my return. That alone was worth the time spent at the computer while out of the office. Side note: Some people thought I was crazy to check in so often. Many people think that once you are "out" that you should disconnect. It's definitely a personal preference thing, but I do think it's important for a project manager to stay engaged, even from a high level, if possible.

I also signed on to IM every once in a while just to say "hi" to people. I needed to check in with the real world and connect with some adults who were not baby-crazy family members. This was very important to me, although I didn't do this until about 4 days in.

Since I've been back I have been pretty busy. Not only is a lot work being delivered, but some exciting new projects are coming up. A few days here and there I will be a little tired. Daylight Savings Time and a grunty baby will certainly do that. It's hard to say that I've done anything different, aside from taking a few hours on my first day back to totally re-engage myself and try not to talk too much about my kids. I don't want to be that guy. (Instead I just flood the internets with pictures. Look to your right. Uh huh!) But I guess what I am saying is...the blog got back burnered for a while.

What's next?

Now I am BACK to work and back to the blog. I have some things in the works for the blog and I am getting excited:

  • a couple of interviews locked and loaded
  • a collaborative "how to" post with a reader
  • a redesign
  • tweeting PM knowledge and links from @happycog with Dave on Mondays. We've received some excellent feedback, which is cool.
  • I'm still waiting to hear back on my SXSW panel submission. My proposal was not accepted in the first or second rounds, but there is one left. And I haven't heard that I didn't make it yet.

So, the end of 2010 will be baby-filled and busy, as will 2011.

If you have any ideas for blog posts or want to collaborate, comment of feel free to contact me directly.

Thanks for hanging in!