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Kill Consistency: Embrace Cycles

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Has someone ever told you about the "calm before the storm", implying that things were good now, but about to get out of hand? 

Or perhaps that, "life's greatest triumphs usually come right after life's greatest slumps?"

I have always found these to be true, but I think there is an important lesson to be learned here. An often overlooked component of work with a far greater importance than we give it is the cycles of work. 

You see, most projects have periods of time where you work really hard, and then you get to scale it back a bit, focus on supporting the product, or perhaps even, enjoying the fruits of your labor.

But it seems that as a society, we've gone against this inherent component as we strive to find the all-too-elusive "balance" in our work-life relationships.

We strive to maintain a certain, consistency, in our lives.

  • Consistency with our morning latte.
  • Consistency with our route to work.
  • Consistency with the time we arrive, the time we leave, and the amount of time we put in.

But let's take a brief pause and look at the world around us.

There's day, and there's night. There's a time to wake, and a time to rest. A time to work, and a time to play. A time for plants to grow, and time for them to die.

There are cycles in everything around us! 

So why is it that when it comes time to plan our projects, we forget about these cycles and we want a consistent workload? 

For one of our projects, we finally took a step back and looked at our normal development and support cycles; and what we found was quite astounding. 

We naturally have a lot of time during the summer where support is low, and feature development is high. Following summer, we have a really high support time, and a really low opportunity for feature development.

We've always kind of known this in the back of our minds, but we've never really done any planning with it in mind.  

Cycles are a natural occurrence for this business, and by realizing when and where the cycles are, we can actually begin to leverage these cycles and have them work to our advantage.

We can plan budgets and resources around the high times, but keep our support costs low. Then, after development, we can swap those resources to better support our customers.

Are you struggling to find the proper balance in your projects?

Take a step back, and evaluate if you need a consistent balance, or if you really just need to plan around the natural cycles your project already has.

How can it work for you? In the comments below, tell us about your project's cycles, and ways that you can leverage the ups and downs to be more productive.

 

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A Passion for Helpfulness

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I've always read that happiness is very much related to your profession, and whether or not you're passionate about what you do. 

So, I've been doing a lot of thinking recently on what my passion is, and what I like to do. My experience and talent is in the realm of software. Not particularly design, or marketing, or even writing blog posts; although I do have some skills.  It's always been software. But quite honestly, I don't truly enjoy writing software.

So I sat down and just started thinking: what are the accomplishments that make me proud and bring me joy? 

And then it hit me. ..

I enjoy helping people. I enjoy hearing that something I did helped someone else to have a better day, or to solve a problem, or even in some cases, to save someone's life.

I enjoy being helpful to others; and if you're reading this post, I'd bet a cute, furry, red panda that you're in the same boat.

So I ask this: what is your talent, and how can you use it to be helpful to someone else? 

Tell me your talents in the comments below; and as always, if there's anything I can do to help you, hit me up via my contact form or any of the social links at the bottom of the page.

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The Key to a Great Business

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Business isn't about revenue or profits. 

It's not about making the blue line on the chart jump higher than it did last week, month, year or even decade.

And it isn't figuring out the perfect balance between how much you charge and how many customer service employees you provide.

It's about delivering value to your clients!

It's about solving their problem. It's about making them love who you are, because of how you help them.

The next time you're dragged down by a meeting about profit margins or staffing needs, or any of the billion things that we get caught up in; just remember why you started in the first place: you saw a need, and you wanted to help.

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