This past weekend I put a plan together to address all the things I have coming up over the next couple of months, including relocating the family from the desert southwest to the upper Midwest. All was on track to work out pretty well, some finer details would come as the dates got closer, but the overall plan was established. Then a friend contacts me about doing some consulting work for her company until I move, could I come in to discuss it with the key people today. On the surface this doesn’t seem like too big of a deal, however this project would preempt another project that was gearing up to start at the end of this month. Now I have to look at everything and re-evaluate what I can tackle and what has to be dropped.
I could spend days looking at the pros and cons of the two work projects and how they affect the family, the move, and my long-term goals. Reality is I have less than 24 hours to decide what to do. If I choose the new project I will need to re-evaluate the plan for the next couple of months and possible shift around dates for the move. It’s has quite the impact on the bigger plan. It’s a good problem to have, so here’s how I’m tackling it.
- Time Requirements: First I looked at what the new opportunity would require of me in terms of time vs. the other project. Which gives me the best schedule for me and my family? How does each project fit into the overall plan for the next several months?
- Alignment with Goals: While both projects support my long-term goals which one would really help me get where I want to go quicker? Does one have a higher impact than the other?
- Side Effects: Like most things there are side effects to taking the projects. One requires significant travel while one is local but could impact my move date. So which ones can I live with?
- Financial Impact: Lastly I looked at which would have the best contribution to my income. I will be working as a contractor in both cases so cash flow is a real consideration for me; however it was the last of the items. I am more interested in fit than the money.
As I went through this exercise I realized this is a good process to use to quickly evaluate new opportunities that drop in on you. Over the years I have done this when considering job transfers, promotions, and relocations. It helps put things in perspective as part of the bigger picture. So when a curve ball comes your way, or even just a new opportunity, stop and follow these four steps to see what will work best for you. Once you are clear on your direction you can adjust your schedule to meet the new demands. Your priorities will help you align your tasks.
How have you handled the need to adapt to a changing world?
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