Matt Klay: Excellent workshop developer

The dark side of doing the right thing

Don’t worry, I’m not going to write about morality or ethics today. I want to share a story with you all about my experiences with developing a workshop for my colleagues. The results are great. I was satisfied with the result, although I could see some parts of the workshop that could be improved. My colleagues rated the workshop favourably, both directly after and some time later via an evaluation form. The management team is satisfied as well and has asked me to do the workshop again in a month or two. But… if there’s just one learning I’m going to take away from this experience, it’s this:

For god’s sake, man, take good care of yourself.

Allow me to elaborate.

The psychology of Matt

I know myself, I like to distract myself when I have to work on something I’m not totally enthusiastic about, even if it’s very important that I do. I had been working on developing the workshop on proactivity for my colleagues for quite a bit of time, so my enthusiasm was a bit dampened. Knowing myself, I was afraid that if I had something to distract myself, I would stop working on the workshop. So I stopped doing things that could distract me, but that I like to do, like reading and playing video games. Guess what happened? I began to feel stressed, couldn’t really relax anymore and I got frustrated and a bit angry.

Which was quite the problem, as you can imagine. I felt and feel very strongly about giving my colleagues the opportunity to grow as persons. If I can contribute to that, even better. This was my motivation for developing the workshop. As far as I’m concerned, it’s an excellent one. But speaking of motivation, I just didn’t have any anymore. I wanted to add value for my colleagues, but couldn’t mentally get myself to work for it. I didn’t want to work on the workshop anymore. What I wanted to do was relax, read a book, not worrying about whether the workshop would turn out good or not.

So there I was, frustrated and unable to relax, feeling the pressure to create something that would enrich other people’s lives. I felt miserable but didn’t know the root cause of it. Yeah, that sucks.

But that’s not all!

At the same time, I spend quite a bit of my free time on developing that blasted workshop. Normally I use that time to do things I enjoy, such as doing nothing at all, playing with my daughter, chilling with the missus and other stuff like that. I had less time for my family because I decided to spend my time on doing something else. Which is okay, by the way. I realised that for me, I shouldn’t do this for more than a few days.

So there I was, frustrated, unable to relax, feeling pressure and near my loved ones, but deciding to not spend time with them.


The solution

Eventually, I realised what was happening. I was making myself miserable while working on something I love. The solution came quite easily to me, seeing as I’ve been writing about it for a year and a half. I had to find a way to feel happy and still work on the workshop. So, I started with the former.

I made the conscious decision to do something I like, instead of working. I downloaded an e-book, drew a hot bath, and soaked for a while. After that, I started working again. Wasn’t so hard after all. Quite fun too. The next day I did the same. I started with getting myself in the right mindset and did a bit of work immediately after. I didn’t have to work as long to get the same amount of work done, and I felt a whole lot better about it.

You know what? I even started incorporating this in my regular work. I now work a small amount of time doing something that makes me feel like I accomplished something, putting me in the right mindset. Directly after, I do something that’s on my to-do list, but don’t feel like doing. The effect: my to-do list gets shorter by the day, and I feel like I get more done in the same amount of time. I’ve effectively cut out most of my ‘hesitation-time’.

Yeah, that’s my experience.

I’ll talk to you later!

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