Tape Loop, Turn yourself towards yourself

Today was one of those days.

This is an odd posting.. I don’t really know how to say what I want to. Let my try anyway. Something reminded me of this song..

Tape loop, keeps on turning round, forever,
Patience, love is coming ’round for your pleasure,
Wait now, no use trying to push, there’s no need,
People, go against the grain, with their greed.

I’ve been here before, it ain’t gonna work no more,
I’ve been here before, it ain’t gonna work no more.

Focus, your mind will be strong, no distractions,
Soak up wisdom all year long, and then take action.

— Morcheeba, Tape Loop

The background involves a few events in close succession that disappointed me in the last day or two. I’m trying to make sense of it all.. internalise it and learn from it.. I’m not going to go into details but this related to both for-profit and non-profit projects.

Energy and enthusiasm mis-matches between people, miscommunication, expectation mis-matches, management and task delegation troubles. Putting in effort and not feeling good about it.

I’ve labeled this a Tape Loop problem. Finding it hard to complete something and detaching. Not being able to delegate a task and getting out of the loop with enough trust that it will be completed. Being dependent on interactions with other people, busy people with their own priorities. Priorities that do not match.

Some things I’ve learnt…

You can’t be a one man army. You have to depend on other people. You have to try and empower, give autonomy and trust others. Simple little things like people being sick at a time when you hope everything should come together can be frustrating.

You can’t take responsibility for other people’s motivation. People motivate themselves. Don’t de-motivate, but don’t feel you should keep fueling a project. There is a risk to being dragged into the tape loop if you give energy and people assume you will continue to perpetually drive a project.

Don’t have too many meetings out of the office. It can make a day seem very unproductive.

Too many open projects make you reactive. It breaks the plan, focus, take action cycle. It makes you feel like a fire fighter and all your time gets consumed by little emergencies. Specialisation makes sense. There are multi-taskers and single-taskers. Context shifts are expensive. Some ants guard the nest, some ants find food. I sometimes wish a could single-task more. I only really get time to focus on one thing between 20:00 and 0:00.

e-Mail is a war. Your Inbox will never be cleared. I send about 1200 emails per month at the moment. I don’t even try and keep track of how many I receive.

Slow and steady wins the race. Have realistic expectations. Don’t get demotivated if things don’t happen at the speed of thought.

Ideas and project goals have a time window when everybody is receptive and “in sync”. Sometimes it’s just not worth trying to push.

“Soak up wisdom all year long, and then take action.”

Now, find your power animal…

3 thoughts on “Tape Loop, Turn yourself towards yourself

  1. Yeah, I know exactly what you’re saying, especially the single-tasking bit…

    I’ve found that I’ve been overestimating the time it takes to do thinking-intensive stuff quite a bit lately. As soon as I delegate it to someone who’s focused, it gets done in a fraction of the time. Doing a million different things kills productivity more than you’d think!

  2. yep – real hard lessons to. Can motivate peeps then find myself asking why if it takes so much energy… and they’re not really into it – something comes to mind about the trip only being for the self elect.

    Trump Power Law – make peeps come to you – he never leaves the Tower ‘cept to occasionally go on site oh and in his ‘copter o’course.

    maybe c u at Cape Town Book Fair Room 2.44 4.30pm Saturday Launch of Mamba Comix 5

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