Prioritizing After an Inspirational Weekend

Prioritizing After an Inspirational Weekend

2015, Nov 25    

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On Friday and Saturday we had our first ever Packback team retreat. We did a mix of activities designed to help the team grow closer together and cement a unified mission and values for the company. This is the first time I’ve been with a company that is truly run by idealistic leaders who want to embody our values, so it’s exciting and inspirational to dig into these important tenants. I think we all really enjoyed getting to know each other better (here’s a bit from my teammate Eric on his thoughts).

After I got back from the Packback trip, I served as a judge in this year’s WildHacks at Northwestern University. I’ve never participated in or judged a hackathon, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the students did an absolutely amazing job building some really cool projects in just 24 hours. As an engineer who now spends more of his time managing and planning, it was truly inspiring to see people who were so young but still so productive.

Back to reality

Coming back into the office on Monday morning was a bit of a comedown. While I love my job, and I can really geek out about improving processes, hiring, and engineering, it’s a little hard to come back to the grind after such an inspiring weekend. I felt a little overwhelmed as I had at least a dozen pages of notes and ideas from the weekend that I now had to start unpacking. So, here’s the process I’ve been using to get back to normal this week:

1. Organizing my notes

Like I said, I had a lot of notes from the Packback retreat, and unfortunately they weren’t really organized in any way. The first thing I did on Monday was to go through them and figure out how to split them up (mostly using Trello).

2. Being honest about priorities

The hardest thing about having so many good ideas generated for you in a weekend is that you can’t act on all of them at once. I had to pull out the ones that were immediately relevant (especially those related to hiring) and put those at the top of my to-do list. Many great ideas went to the “future ideas” column of my Trello board, but hopefully I’ll get to all of them someday.

3. Biting of reasonable chunks of action every day

Finally, I had to move my brain from “free-thinking” mode to “action” mode. This sounds silly, but for me, brainstorming or ideation and execution are very different functions, and it’s very hard to switch between the two rapidly. By compartmentalizing my time and splitting my day into “action” and “ideation” times, I can be much more effective

What tips do you have for decompressing and prioritizing actions after an inspirational weekend or conference? Let me hear your thoughts on Twitter.