Five lessons in project management.
Last Sunday I bundled up and went outside to clear the six inches of snow that fell overnight. Six inches is not a lot of snow, and with a temperature of only 12°F, it was light and fluffy. The problem was, and usually is, the end of the driveway. The snowplow snow.
It’s a messy mix of snow and ice at the end of the driveway after the city plow comes through. It's heavy and chunky and challenging to move.
Because it was only six inches, and it was early (just seven o’clock in the morning), I decided to forgo the snowblower and shovel my way out.
Like most projects, there are things to consider when starting out, and I realized my plan for clearing the snow was really an exercise in project management.
Lesson #1: Assess the situation
Shoveling a path out was the first step. After the porch and stairs were clear, I needed to tackle the driveway surface, remove the snowplow snow from the end of the driveway, and clean off the car.
Lesson #2: Make sure you have the right tools for the job
Snow shovels come in as many varieties and flavors as ice cream. There’s the big scoop and the small scoop. Metal and plastic varieties. And varying weights. Some shovels are light and easy to handle, others are heavy.
After years of testing, my preference is a light-weight, flat scoop.
Why? There’s a lot of lifting involved and I don’t like adding extra weight from the shovel itself. And the bigger the scoop, the more snow it holds, and the harder it is to lift.
Lesson #3: Make a plan
Once the porch and stairs were clear, I decided to use an alternating pattern of removal. Because snowplow snow is so heavy, devised a plan: shovel, brush, dig.
I shoveled 1/3 of the driveway, moved on and brushed off half of the car, then dug a two-foot wide section of the snowplow snow. And switched again. More shoveling, brushing, and digging.
The plan allowed me minimize exertion (recommended), make slow and steady progress, and vary the tasks at hand to avoid frustration.
Lesson #4: Check your progress
When I started, it seemed it would take forever to get through the end of the driveway. But when I stopped to take a breath, I could see I was making progress. My plan was working.
Lesson #5: Find pleasure in the doing
When I stopped to check my progress, I took a deep breath and looked up. I saw that the sky was robin’s egg blue and I noticed the light. The sun was still rising and it put a glow on the horizon, the tree tops ... and the underbelly of a seagull that flew overhead.
It was a beautiful winter day and it felt like the reward for a job well done.
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The winner is .... Cover #1
Most of you thought it best reflected the subject of the book, cursive writing.
Thank you for voting and sharing your thoughts.
I need your help.
I'm in the final stages of designing my book, Cursive Writing Practice by the Letter and I need your help.
There are three cover designs to choose from, and I'd like to know which one you like best.
(voting has ended)
Cursive Writing Practice by the Letter is a workbook. It includes instruction for writing each letter of the alphabet and introduces a more creative, engaging way to practice and improve your writing skill: writing and mailing letters to your friends and family.
Inside there are tips for who to write to and what to write about along with detailed instructions for how to address an envelope ... and where to put the stamp(!).
It also includes writing samples from over 20 people (so students can learn to read, as well as write, cursive), and a selection of writing prompts from the popular "I Write Letters to Say" series.
(voting has ended)
So which cover do you like best?
To make your selection, just click on the cover you like, and it will generate an email that will come directly to me ... just type Cover #1, Cover #2, or Cover # 3 in the subject line and your vote will be counted. You can also add any comments or suggestions.
Next week I'll reveal which cover got the most votes and share more details about how you can order your copy of Cursive Writing Practice by the Letter.
(voting has ended)
Thanks for reading along (and choosing the cover you like), I really appreciate it.
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P.P.S. If you're writing a book, get in touch if you need help with developmental editing, design, or project management.