You’d think by now I’d have learnt to take care of the housekeeping before I embark on some crazy new adventure.
I’m not talking about washing my gym shorts or cooking a delicious meal. I mean the week-to-week and month-to-month deliverables that I consider the absolute bare minimum for my job.
The blog posts. The monthly newsletter. The live sessions and workshops. Tackling the inbound queries keeping a sub-1 hour resolution time and a less than 10 minute response time—Even though we don’t track the numbers and I actually had to look them up for the purposes of this post.
I’d let the housekeeping slip.
Which it turns out is super easy to do when you’re so excited about a perhaps less immediately important part of your job. 😬
I’ve been planning to put together courses for ages.
If you’ve tuned in to one of our weekly live sessions as of late, you’ll no doubt have been regaled by the promise of them.
When I came back from my vacation I was raring to go. Ready to record. Ready to push the button. Ready to just get it done.
But for all my months and months of planning—the scripts written, assets created, and general planaboutery—I’d failed to consider 1 thing.
And when it came to actually recording, it took a whole lot of it.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve made a lot of videos over the past decade. And you can ditch your rules of thumb about needing 1 hour of footage for 1 minute of content. 🙅♂️
I know how long it usually takes me to make something great.
But it turned out recording course videos was a whole other genus of aquatic creature.
In hindsight I think there’s a different kind of intensity to a course video.
You can’t help but pile on a little extra pressure compared to say a live session—where anything can happen and fighting fuck ups is futile—or an event video—where you’re just documenting everything.
Course videos are expected to carry a certain amount of value. And although I’ve spoken before about how you can never really know how much value your content provides, you can do your damnedest to create as much value as possible.
And that means pressure.
Which means extra attention.
Which ultimately results in a disproportionately tiring recording experience considering the actual time spend recording. ⏲️
Thing is, I had a script. But I kept going off script. Largely because I’m not an actor and scripts suck!
But going off script meant reviewing the video and making sure I’d done all the things I was supposed to do and re-recording if I’d screwed up.
I ended up in a loop of record > review > re-record > review ad. infinitum.
Ok maybe not infinitum, but close enough that I was knackered three videos into a 12 video course. And I’d wasted the day.
When the Days Don’t Show up
Monday through Wednesday disappeared in a fog of catching up with emails and excitedly recording videos.
In fact, looking back it’s as if they were never there. They just didn’t happen. Like they woke up at the start of the week and were like “nah, fuck it. Maybe next week.”
I couldn’t tell you a single thing that happened on Tuesday without digging through emails and support tickets. Well, apart from “I was probably recording”.
Recording had become an intense and tiring time suck. And it meant that after I’d finally allowed myself to be happy with a video, I’d lost all my mental energy.
I was drained.
I couldn’t think straight, let alone write a decent product update post or thought provoking blog post.
That in itself posed a problem since both are important deliverables! More important than say a not-yet-value-tested course. 😬
Like I said, I’d misjudged the amount of time the course videos would take. I’d gotten a little cocky and figured they’d be as quick as any one of the hundreds of videos I’ve made before.
They weren’t, FYI! 🤷♂️
And the result of not being so easy was my other priorities slipping away.
As with most self-reflective things the worst part for me is the impact it has on my imposter syndrome.
I’ve usually got a good handle on my priorities and because slipping up isn’t something I let happen very often it adds unnecessary fuel and justifies the syndromes existence.
Sure, there’ve been times where I haven’t delivered a blog post or a product update on time. But it’s usually down to more important things taking precedence.
A particularly heavy week of support tickets.
Candidate interviews and crucial discussions within the team about hiring that suck the time away from everyone.
That kinda thing.
Things that are actually more important than my 1500-word weekly mind vomit.
Reflecting Without Ratings
It can sometimes be hard to admit failures like this. To reflect on a bad week and try to detach yourself so you can understand the underlying cause.
Since we don’t really track anything, performance reviews don’t happen in the traditional sense. But to say they don’t happen at all would be an outright lie.
It just makes performance a gut thing. It’s taking a moment each week to answer the question “How do you think you did?”.
It’s a constant process. Even though it can be quite a raw thing at times I think this unrelenting self-judgement can be a good thing. Despite stirring up some unwanted justification for the imposter within
For me, the tradition of quarterly or annual referential data points feels inherently flawed. A piss poor performance week is tough at the best of times. But when your performance is aggregated across a quarter or a year, a crappy week can get lost.
Worse, it can compound into two crappy weeks. Or three. Or four.
Before you know it, one crappy week has turned into a crappy quarter which could’ve been avoided with one simple question.
So, how do you think you did?