"The Days are Long, but the Years are Short"

“The days are long, but the years are short”.  It’s a great quote that I’ve heard a few times, but until writing it down for this blog I never really knew or gave much thought to who said it.  So hey, now’s a great time to attribute it to Gretchen Ruben, since I finally looked it up.  Now sorry, Gretchen, but that’s the last mention of you that you’ll find here, so step to the side while I move the focus back to your quote.

I think this is a sentiment that we all can relate to and certainly one that feels more and more true the older we get.  Here we are, after all, moving into the eve of another new decade.  2020 is just around the corner and Coke has officially beat Pepsi in the cola wars, so get over it.  Okay, that doesn’t have anything to do with anything, nor is it a timely reference, but the years do pass quickly and each is filled with change that we either embrace or that passes us by. 

Yes, this applies to our personal lives, but for the sake of this post, I’m speaking in terms of our professional lives.  I’m talking about it in terms of our organizational health.

Each new year brings with it many new initiatives, new projects, new people and maybe even new tools........or at least that’s what’s expected as we hit the ground running on January 2nd

The reality for many organizations is that after the new year’s bluster wears off, we often fall back into the same routines. We fall back into our normal, familiar daily work life.  As this general malaise begins to spread at the individual level from person to person, it often bleeds into organizational momentum as well.

“This is the year we really focus on emphasizing a heavier utilization of test automation”

“We’re going to finally get that new copier in the break room”

“This is the year that we really look at streamlining our validation practices”

“I’m going to make sure my team gets that tool they need”

“This is the year that we move off paper and excel docs to”

“This is the year that we’re getting ahead of our audit preparations, rather than scrambling to cobble together adequate inspection submissions”

Pronouncements are found aplenty in the early part of the year, but all too quickly people fall back to what’s comfortable.  People fall back to what they’ve always done because, well, it worked last year (or at least got you by) so it will continue to work this year.  Because learning a new way of doing things is uncomfortable.  Because the initial surge of growing pains hurts a bit and takes some time to acclimate to.  Because sometimes giving something a new start doesn’t seem to put the finish line within eyesight, when you used to feel like you already crossed it.

Well, you know what happens then?  Next thing you know it’s almost 2021 and all the improvements and changes and innovations that were supposed to happen in 2020 are now being talked about again as something to accomplish in yet another new year.

Don’t wait for a CIO mandate.  Don’t let your team fall back into old routines.  Don’t let people in your org push back.  Don’t let regular project work bog you down instead of making sure you find a way of moving forward on growth initiatives.  Don’t let a longer-term ROI (and not just monetary ROI) scare you into continuing to put short term band-aids on long-festering problems.

Many of us have been guilty of this at least at some point in both our work and personal lives.  We revert to what’s comfortable and familiar all too quickly while everything stays the same (or even deteriorates) around us.  The most successful among us don’t fall into those patterns.  They move.  They challenge.  They figure out.  They don’t just continue to step around that random box on the floor in their cubicle that’s been there for two weeks instead of moving it.  They don’t let that random box or obstacle become a part of their scenery. It doesn’t become part of their world.  They figure out where it needs to go the first time they see it and they get it there.  It doesn’t matter if that means out to the recycle bin or putting something in it to ship to a client across the world.  They get it there. 

Not letting that box becoming part of your scenery is something I heard Adam Carolla say (paraphrased) on a radio show years back and it always stuck with me.  It’s a little thing, but that same mentality can be applied to anything.

That’s contagious.  That’s what we all can bring to our teams, even in small doses.  Not everything has to be so bold or so grand as to be a revolution, but make sure that you are contributing to the continuation of the evolution at your company.  The evolution of your own professional life.

Don’t let 2020 be another year where initiatives fall by the wayside after a couple of meetings in a conference room, or after a couple of conversations with partners and vendors.  Contribute to keeping things moving.  It will bleed into much more than just your work life and yes, while it may make the days seem a bit longer and while the years may seem shorter, the accomplishments and the results will give you that sense of satisfaction of knowing that the long days were worth it and that the year was filled with achievement.

This is the last blog of the year, so for everyone that we have worked with, partnered with or anyone that has just read along, Tx3 thanks you and wishes you a happy holiday and a productive, fulfilling 2020!

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