SOS (Simple Obvious Strategies)
We live in a world where we’re surrounded by masses of technology, so much is expected of us, we have more responsibility than ever before, our time is precious and not only is more expected of us, we’re expecting more of ourselves. With all of this in mind, it’s no surprise that illness, both physical and mental, is prolific throughout society!
There is so much for us to juggle that often we just become bogged down and find that joy eludes us because all we can do is think about the next thing that we have to doing or the next event we have to be at. I’ve noticed though that many people use the term: “I’m busy” not because they have too much on their plate, but because the things that they do choose to undertake are badly managed and that is what causes the “BB syndrome” as I call it. (BB= Busy Bee) I’m completely guilty of it too! It almost became an excuse so that I could get out of doing things or seeing people just because I wanted a bit of time to myself.
When we get to that stage where we begin feeling overwhelmed, we try and find solutions, but because we’re used to living in a complex world with complex systems, we think that the solution must also be complex. And then what happens? Because the solution you’ve formulated is so complex, you end up giving up and going back to suffering from the BB syndrome. It’s easier that finding great management strategies, but if no action is taken, all your time and energy is gobbled up by churning over all the things that you have to attend to, rather than taking action.
I was in a situation quite recently where I wasn’t enjoying my job. It was really frustrating me as I love working in I.T. in general, but after I got promoted just over a year ago, things went downhill and I really started to feel quite depressed when I was at work. Ironically, I was finding that everyone else around me was busy and I had nothing to do which really frustrated me! Even though it gave me time to blog and do various other things it was still a bit soul destroying being in place where I earn my livelihood and finding no fulfillment in what I was doing.
I’d had enough! I was so frustrated and I just could handle it anymore. I was on the verge of quitting but first I asked myself, what can I do to turn this around? I tried a few things like getting more involved with some of the other teams, but that didn’t help. I tried making work for myself but that didn’t help. I tried all sorts of things but nothing was getting results. But then I came up with a relatively simple plan, I had no idea if it was going to work or not, but it was so simple that I new that trying it would be easy and hassle free. Deep down I knew I’d found the answer to turn my situation around, but I put that feeling aside and just tried it out.
I formulated a simple strategy for gaining greater fulfillment at work. It wasn’t a supremely complex 50 point plan or didn’t involve taking drastic or massive action, all it took was a simple goal, a very simple strategy that turned things around.
My strategy was simply this:
TO LEARN ONE NEW THING EVERY DAY! 😯 Would I be able to manage it? 😛
To clarify; it didn’t have to be anything technical, I didn’t have to learn the complete working of a particular piece of hardware, nope, nothing like that, I just wanted to learn the simple stuff every day. Recently we installed a brand new VOIP (Voice over I.P.) system and that was a huge project, of which, I only had a small part. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get my hands dirty in all area’s of the project, so I decided that whatever I do get involved in, I will make sure that I learn something new from it everyday.
One day, I had a real headache of a problem, A Cisco network switch kept crashing when we switched it on. At first, I thought it was faulty cable, so I changed all the cabling. That didn’t work! Then I thought it might be a faulty GBIC card (A fibre optic component of the network switch). I changed it, but that didn’t work. Then I thought that port itself was faulty so I plugged the GBIC into a different port, that also didn’t work! Then I thought the fibre uplink going in the port of the PASSPORT (A giant core network switch) was faulty so I plugged it into a different port, that still didn’t work!! I then thought: “There’s only one thing left that it can be!” That was that the Cisco switch itself must be faulty. I swapped that too and guess what? It still kept crashing!!! This whole process of elimination took me two days in total, by which time 90% of my hair had turned Grey, 😛 but I was not licked yet! I thought: “Let me plug each network cable into the switch one by one and see what happens?” I did that and found that one particular cable caused the switch to crash! BINGO! At least now I knew that it was something plugged into the switch that was causing the problem! (Something that I thought initially but dismissed!) It turned out that someone had double plugged one of the VOIP phone into the wall ports and that was causing a loop which shutting down the port on the PASSPORT! (I promise no more techical jargon from this point onwards! :lol:)
So, I learned something new, actually I learned two things: 1) To trust my gut, and 2) That if that happens to a network switch in the future to try that avenue first!
Even though it was a stressful couple of days, that simple strategy made me feel more relaxed less stressed and also gave me greater confidence for the future. It took my focus away from the stress of the problem and put it onto what was good about the problem.
So in a nutshell, my simple strategy became applied in two ways. At the beginning of my working day I ask myself: What new thing can I learn today? At the end of the day I ask myself: What did I learn today? This extremely simple strategy turned around my entire feeling with regards to my job to the point where I now actually look forward to getting to work everyday. I’m now enjoying my job much more, I feel much lighter at work and even though it’s much busier, I’m not feeling the stress of it.
There we have it, the greatest transformation can come from the most simple strategies. It doesn’t take a major change or a huge 50 point plan or jumping off a cliff to find a solution. All it takes is one SOS and you’ll find the world around you transform in your favour. So let me ask you, what area of your life are you struggling with and what is the most SOS that you can think of to turn your situation around?