Welcome back to the grind.
I have much to be thankful for after a pretty decent year. While 2012 would be described as devasting, 2013 would be described as healing. In 2014, I'm looking to do a number of things. No big promises here. No big resolutions. Just some simple thinking about how to make my life even more enjoyable than it is right now.
We work hard all week. Vacations are few and far between. Sometimes you need to stop and smell the flowers.
That's what I did this weekend.
When I left my previous job to head to One to One Interactive, I had no idea what to expect. It's been about a month now and I'm loving it. I work with some smart, creative and entrepreneurial type folks. People really enjoy what they do and enjoy working with each other.
One thing the agency does that I thought was very cool was supporting the Greater Boston Food Bank. Employees can donate canned goods or money.
Here's the kick: it's competitive.
My house has been the sick ward for about a month. My wife and I have avoided the flu bug for a little bit, until this week. I've had the chills, sweats, fever and cough since Monday night and it couldn't have come at a worse time.
You see, work is jamming, which is another word for ridiculously busy. There's new business to chase. Client programs to manage. Teams to work with. Results to get and so on and so on.
And all of this is for my full time job. Add in my moonlight gig as executive editor for Technorati and my days are pretty much filled with work.
So when the flu bug comes knocking without an appointment, it really throws a grenade into the room.
Holy disruption Batman.
It's hard to focus. It's difficult to sleep. It's unbelievably hard to focus on what you need to get done. Regardless of the uphill battle and how hard it is, you have to fight it and get things done.
The work never ends.
How do you manage the sick/to do list balance?
I haven't taken a weeks vacation in probably a couple of years. Yes, I've had days off here and there, but it's been a while since I actually got on a plane and headed to a destination other than one located in the northeastern part of the U.S.
This pattern will change pretty soon as I have some scheduled time off. I really enjoying the planning, packing, preparation, etc. that goes into it all, but what I'm struggling with — and what I'll continue to struggle with — is cutting the proverbial social media chord.
Do I tweet while I'm on the plane or should I take that time to get some rest and hang with the kids? Do I need mobile uploads to Facebook as we're doing the tourist thing? What about blogging about my experiences with the family while I am spending some time in the fun and sun?
These are things I'd do normally, so why not while I'm on vacation.
I feel like I'm an alcoholic and I'm at an AA meeting: "Hi, my name is Don and I'm a social media geek."
I just can't cut the chord. I'm going to try my best, but it's going to take some serious discipline and of course, nudging from my wife and kids.
I always have the urge to Tweet, blog, create video, snap pictures and share my experiences with friends, family, co-workers and my extended friends in the social media world.
How does one go from total transparency to total darkness. I don't think it can be done.
How do you cut the chord?
Life is one big time management project. Think about it.
This weekend I had one of the best Fourth of July's ever.
We didn't do anything too crazy nor was what the family and I experienced out of the ordinary.
Our Fourth festivities always starts with the annual Point of Pines block party. PoP as we call it, is a little neighborhood in Revere, MA where my mother has a house that comes deeded with a portion of Revere Beach (a private section that she technically owns). The PoP block party is always on the third of July. As a result, we call it PoP03.
Last week I was away from home, on the longest business trip I've ever taken. I've never been one to travel a ton for business. It's mostly consisted of day trips or quick over-nighters. I honestly don't like it because it takes me out of my routine. However, each time I do, it's an experience that I can chaulk up to my professional development.
This time around, the trip was to Hawaii.
The scenery lived up to the hype. The food was fantastic. The people watching was interesting. The travel was excrutiatingly brutal. The three business days were very busy and long. Overall, it was a great experience professionally and I was able to soak in a little bit of the Hawaii hype (courtesy of my cousin and her hubby who live out there).
The toughest part was leaving the family. However, the travel back was awesome because I knew I had "daaaaaaaddy!" to come back to (and of course, the wife).
All of the sun, sand and beautiful landscape in the world can't replace that feeling. Ever.
Next time I go, I'll just bring the family and have the best of both worlds.
I don't travel a lot for business - maybe three to five times a year. When I do it's usually for a new business pitch, client meetings or training sessions. Being a big guy it's also an uncomfortable experience because honestly, who the heck can fit into those seats anyways?
It's also an uncomfortable experience because I hate breaking my routine. We get into habits and grooves, becoming creatures of habit. When that routine is broken, it throws us for a loop.
The biggest reason travel makes me uneasy is that I miss the family. The kids are young and they don't understand what it means for daddy to be gone for that long of a period, as they are used to routines as well. I know I will see them in a matter if hours, but trying to explain that to a nearly six year old and a three old is like trying to read and understand the healthcare reform legislation. Regardless, it's hard and I miss them (and Mrs. Big Guy as well).
On the flip side, these travel opportunities are exciting and new. It's an experience I embrace because it's good to test yourself every once and a while -- push yourself if you will. Comfort zones are meant to be stepped out of from time to time.
That goes for business practices as well. Success only comes if you take risks and step out of that comfort zone. Eventually those out of comfort zone experiences will become part of the routine. Then it's time to do it all again.
p.s. I am writing this from 10,000 feet. I am having one of those out of comfort zone days. :)