Greetings from Ypsilanti, Michigan, where I’m staying with a close friend for a couple of days before heading to Chicago where I’ll be facilitating the biggest unconference of my career. On friday, I’ll be holding an open space for 500-700 people traveling from all over the world for the first day of a four-day conference.
Nervous? Me? Not in the slightest. I have the advantage of being a volunteer. In other words, they can’t fire me. The conference, while beloved to my soul, is on a very niche topic that won’t really affect my work or reputation in any other areas. So if it goes well, it’s a feather in my cap. If it goes poorlyâ¦well, at least I tried, and the 700 attendees have three more days of “regular” conference afterwards to forget about any debacles.
Â Finding the Time
As part of my volunteering on the staff of this convention I also offered to help run their social media. This was primarily twitter, and I used one of my favorite social networking platforms to run it: Hootsuite. Among the many things I love about it is the ability to schedule tweets in advance – so I could schedule announcements, countdowns, etc to keep people “buzzing” as well as informed about the event.
However, I’ve found that I’m a bit busy these days. In fact, if you look at the list of signs that you may be doing too muchÂ I’ve got a whopping six out of seven. ThatÂ is obviously a problem that will need addressing in later blog posts. Meanwhile, the fact is that in spite of my best intentions, I was beginning to feel that handling the social media for the conference was going to be too much. I contacted the chief administrator, and asked her if I might be able to pass it on.
She was gracious about considering the idea, though she felt that I was best suited to the task. She finally asked “Look, Gray, do you think perhaps you could just commit to fifteen minutes a day?”
Fifteen minutes. Where haveÂ I heard that before? I realized that yes, I thought I could commit fifteen minutes to that every day (along with another chunk of time, never more than 45 minutes, spent preparing for the open space). I had my personal assistant add them into my calendar every morning.
Success in Spite of It All
I’m not going to pretend that I hit it every day. Or that every tweet was 140 letters of sheer golden literary treasure. But the event has sold out with a record crowd and the engagement of twitter followers and back-and-forth is far greater than any other year. It’s a great success story, and a good example of how incremental progress can be made by the smallest commitment of time.
This is part of my hope for Dirty Yoga, as well. At left is a screen shot from a short video on their site about “Who can benefit from doing Dirty Yoga?” While I don’t drive an Aston Martin or have multiple passports, I am a pretty fair juggler and travel extensively. Being able to just carve out that half hour or so to stretch my body is, I hope, going to reap some good benefits.
It’s hard, though, to have that kind of faith. I still fall into the trap of trying to “win at yoga”, and discover myself pushing, twisting, wrenching my body more than it probably needs to be. Eventually, I’ll get the hang of it – just like today when he suddenly threw “warrior 3” at me unexpectedly (a one-legged balance pose) and my body just lifted up into it – so surprised that I forgot to fall.
The “daredevil twists”, though…they still had me flailing and groping for balance. It’s easy to get discouraged when this happens, feel like I’ve lost so much dance training, or that I’m just getting too old for this kind of thing.
None of that is true, any more than I was failing at getting the social media posts done. I just need to keep doing it, and trust that eventually authentic action will result in improvement.
Coming Soon to a Gray Near You
As a preview of things to come, I can tell you the project I have on deck now that the conference will be over. I had the good fortune to get an “emergency project” towards the end of last week – one of my primary clients needed a website completely put up within two days, with social media integration and content management systems and such. Nothing too complicated, but there’s a lot that goes into it.
I got to spend a good amount of time during those two days really digging deep and focusing on the work. Uninterrupted focus, really getting into the flow of things. It was awesome.Â And now I’m hoping to find ways to get more of that into my day.
However, that’s going to take some doing, since as I mentioned, I still seem to be doing way too much. I’m considering that some of the answer to my nascent workaholism might be in the concept of the un-schedule.
We’ll be talking about that more later. Meanwhile, I got me some more dirty yoga to do…
Special thanks to commenter KarlT
who gave me the heads up on this Ben Folds track
which complements perfectly my “All In” post
and, well, this whole blog.
You have to deal with Facebook,
but I think it’s a rockin’ tune!Â