Improspectives

Improv skills lead to success

Managing Post-Project Doldrums

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We’ve all fought our way through huge projects and felt the satisfaction of releasing a product to market or finishing the run of a show. The feeling of relief that washes over you is amazing…you see everything you worked for come to fruition and hope your audience appreciates it.

With that relief comes relaxation and, on many occasions, a sense of being adrift, without immediate purpose. Some companies help you “manage” your feelings by throwing you right onto another project, but freelancers are always in search of their next gig. It’s hard to turn down work, but it’s also hard to manage your energy and emotions after a big project concludes. This concern is especially true if you’ve already started a new assignment and have to work while you’re dealing with the end of  the previous one.

I’ve found the following techniques help me deal with the end of project blues:

  • Thank your colleagues for the work they’ve done. Very few projects are solo efforts, so you should make the time to acknowledge others’ contributions. It’s hard to throw a party for a virtual team, but emails and phone calls serve the same purpose for information workers.
  • Walk away, even if just for a day. I have a hard time with this one. Because I work from home, I can work any time I want and for as long as I want. When I need to decompress, my wife and I like to disappear to Vancouver, BC for a couple of days. Yes, I take my laptop or (now) Surface device with me, but I strictly limit checking email to twice per day.
  • Spend time with friends. I’m lucky to have been part of ComedySportz Portland for 17 years. I’m an employee of the company, as are all of our players, but I’ve become close friends with many members of the group. For me, getting on stage and performing is often the therapy I need to attack a new project.
  • Sleep.
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