Did you see this WSJ review of “Wait”?

I’m surprised that I haven’t seen more comment on this WSJ review of “Wait: The Art and Science of Delay” by Frank Partnoy. 

With all the emphasis on being “first”, it is good to hear someone praise “the gift of hesitation.”  Goodness knows that I could have used this advice more than once!   Of course, Partnoy’s book could be dangerous in my hands.  Now I’ll have art and science in hand to rationalize away my next procrastinations.

By the way, the review itself is sharp.   Christopher Chabris alludes to his own experience and insight in a way that qualifies him, but doesn’t make the review all about the reviewer.

Personal and professional lives fail before the project does

Well, I’ll confess.  Not only has failure happened to a friend, but I’ve seen it, I’ve heard it, and I’ve lived it.  Personal, professional, and project problems grow and cascade into a torrent of trouble. In other words, project problems don’t remain confined to the project; they inundate every part of one’s life.

This challenge is what I’m going to address in this series. Many excellent writers and thinkers have laid the foundation of project management and project recovery. And indeed I’ll outline many of those standards and practices, along with my take on them.

However, my experience is that projects rarely fail because the initiative’s leaders were ignorant of tools and techniques.  They usually “knew the good,” but did not “do the good.”  This inability to translate knowledge into effective action is often driven by neglect or damage in one’s personal and professional lives.

What do I mean by personal and professional?

For now I’ll keep it simple. The personal life refers to one’s mind, body, and spirit and the balance among the three. I’ll borrow from Eastern and Western traditions to illustrate what and how the personal life gets out of balance. The professional dimension is more like a complex Interstate or Autobahn interchange. It’s where one’s career goals, relations with one’s team and bosses, and professional network come together. We’ll look at both in more depth later.

Things fall apart

Another sleepless night.  It’s 4:25 AM and you’re wide-awake. Check that. You’re awake, sort of, after another sleepless night.  Yes, another sleepless night, because you had two last week, and another two weeks before that.

As you shuffle into the day — guzzling a cup of this, wolfing a bite of that — you barely put one foot in front of the other. You’re so busy that the only time you have to yourself is in the shower. As you slump under the spray, you ask “How did it come to this?”. That moment’s reflection leads to an answer.

You can’t sleep because your life is a mess, you can’t sleep because your job is a mess, and you can’t sleep because your project is a mess. “I’ve gotta take a step back and… Arrrgh!”

A bit of soap in the eye does the trick and now you’re well and truly awake…and late!  And rushing unawares into another day.

Does this sound familiar to you? Are you living this right now ? Has it happened to a friend of yours? 

More later…

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