I recently disappeared into the mountains with my family for some long overdue rest. Computers were left at home and devices largely remained off. I didn't check my email for over a week and had my work calls held.
Nothing bad happened. The Metabahn team handled things perfectly. Clients remained happy, important work got done, and I came back to several promising new leads. It's nice to not be a required component all the time.
Stepping away for a few days led to the realization that few things in any given week can be classified as an emergency. Maybe this sounds obvious, but in context of the burnout I felt prior to getting away, it was profound.
The weeks before I left were filled with one emergency after another. I jumped around from task to task, accomplishing little overall, but happy to be averting disaster after disaster. Fortunately these emergencies and so-called disasters were merely exaggerations of reality.
Taking a step back, what is an emergency? The way I defined it, an emergency is a situation that is in contradiction with one's overall goals and vision.
Here's a summary of my goals:
- Maintaining my personal health and well-being (physical and mental).
- Nurturing healthy relationships with family and friends.
- Keeping the company operating smoothly to benefit our clients and ourselves.
- Improving our open-source work to empower anyone wanting to build for the web.
Having this list brings a lot of clarity to otherwise difficult situations. For example, if something in the company isn't running smoothly but the first two goals aren't being met, my best option is to focus on the first two goals and delegate the third. That's exactly why I stepped away in the middle of things. And the entire company is better for it.
Set your agenda and stick to it.