DPM Podcast

DPM Podcast: Burn Baby Burn (with Lynn Winter)

By 02/04/2019 July 26th, 2019 No Comments

This podcast is part of an article published on The Digital Project Manager.
You can read the article here.

This podcast is brought to you by Clarizen, the leader in enterprise projects and project management software.

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Ben Aston:

Welcome to the DPM podcast where we go beyond theory to give expert PM advice, the leading better digital projects. Thanks for tuning in. I’m Ben Aston, founder of the Digital Project Manager. Now I wonder, have you ever felt like as much as you might want to, you simply just don’t care, or maybe even feel like you can’t care anymore. You’re feeling strung out, you’re feeling apathetic and no matter what you do, you just really can’t be asked. Perhaps you’re feeling exhausted, like you’ve got no energy whatsoever. Your memory seems to be failing somehow. You’re not sleeping well and you’re getting sick. Perhaps you’re feeling more alienated, you’re feeling isolated, and maybe just beginning to neglect yourself. You’re agitated or it might just you feel like your performance is just not what it normally is. You’re missing deadlines, you’re becoming less engaged with the projects you’re working. Or you’re just not able to concentrate properly.

Well, having one or two of these signs here or there, well that really is just part of normal life for all of us and we all have bad days. But when you begin realizing that these symptoms have been going on for an extended period of time, you might be looking at burnout. In this podcast, we’re going to talk about the signs of burnout and how we can deal with it with someone who’s been burned, but come out from the other side. Today I’m joined by Lynn Winter and Lynn is a freelance digital strategist. She works mainly with nonprofits and the open source community. She’s a digital project manager, a content strategist, she does work in user experience too. So she really brings a holistic approach to her work.

This year we’re going to talk about as well, what’s actually as last year, Lynn launched the Manage Digital conference, which is a conference for local DPMs in Minnesota. We’re going to talk about that in a minute, but hello Lynn.

Lynn Winter:

Hello. Thanks for having me.

Ben Aston:

Well, great to have you. Now, first I kind of want to understand your jam because, you’re a freelance digital project manager, content strategist, UX person. So how do you position yourself and what do you actually end up doing day in, day out?

Lynn Winter:

Yeah, well, I started my career doing project management work and I moved from the television production world into digital back in about 2008. So I found myself really lucky at a really small agency where, because it was small, I got to try lots of different things and grow. So after I kind of got comfortable with the project management, I started doing account management, user experience, content strategy, testing, all kinds of things. As I kind of moved on to other places, I had the opportunity to grow in the depths of that. So, I learned freelance a couple of years ago and really have just kind of been focusing more on the content strategy and user experience. Of course, I can’t let go of that PM kind of work, it comes with it all the time as I do stuff.

Ben Aston:

Yeah. So I’m interested though, I mean you say you were kind of at a smaller agency or an agency where you got the opportunity to wear lots of different hats.

Lynn Winter:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Ben Aston:

Now how did you make sure in that process, or maybe you were doing this, but how did you try and make sure you weren’t stepping on everyone’s toes? Because I think as a project manager, we are control freaks, we like just to sometimes get our hands dirty. But how did you do that in such a way that you didn’t just piss everyone off?

Lynn Winter:

Yeah. Well honestly it became like areas that we needed to grow as a company because as I was working there, I think our average project was like $30,000 and by the end it was more of a quarter of a million. So we had to expand our services and it was essentially like, “Hey, here’s this thing. We need to be good at, who’s interested?” If it’s something I was interested in and somebody else was like, “Ah, I don’t really care so much,” then I was able to go full in on that. It just kind of like worked out with a different type of personality. So it ended up being less stepping on toes. There was another person at the agency that did user experience and design, but she worked more at a higher level of thinking about things. So when I wanted to get out a spreadsheet with 20,000 pieces of content, she was completely out, and I was totally in. So it was kind of a complimentary thing where I could like do my work and then hand it off to her at that level.

Ben Aston:

Nice. Yeah, that’s cool. I think in some of the agencies I’ve been in the bigger agencies and in where these roles are much more defined, you become typecast in a way as a PM. And you only ever get to do PM-ing because hey, there’s someone who does content strategy and someone else who’s in charge of user experience, and someone else who’s the strategist and you might have three different kinds of strategists on a single project. I think it’s great that you’ve had the opportunity to get your hands dirty and I’m fine really that you’ve got a passion for things that beyond just project management, which has enabled you to do what you do now. So, who … I’m curious about the kind of organizations that you’re working with right now, what are the kinds of projects that you’re engaged with?

Lynn Winter:

Yeah, I work with three to four different agencies. Some local, here in Minnesota and some are across the country and it just kind of depends on what their needs are. So right now, I have a high volume of education, so some school district, a college website, I’m also doing some work with affordable housing, with a law firm. So it’s a little bit all over the place and kind of just depends what pops up on people’s plates.

Ben Aston:

So in terms of working lots with nonprofits, all these more charitable organizations, do you find that your approach to managing a project in that sector is different to how you’d have managed it at all in the private sector or how does that work?

Lynn Winter:

Yeah, absolutely. I kind of found myself in nonprofits because it’s just a good fit for me because when I worked in television, I was out at a PBS station. So I started with a nonprofit and then I continued mostly work in that. A couple of years back I worked at an agency that did some commerce and for profit, and I just felt like we were talking different languages. It’s just more of my niche to be able to talk about more mission, and impact. So the management is very different because with a nonprofit, typically a nonprofit is saved up for several years to make this big movement, this big project, and it means a lot different to them. They also tend to have more things on their plate, and also appreciate the opportunity to make this big change.

So, I find that, it’s a little more like maybe collaborative and we’re in this together and for profit maybe they’re more likely to be able to have more money or they make changes more often, so it’s little less precious for them. So I think with for profits, I tend to get more strict on documentation and rules and hourly and tracking things. With nonprofits, the feeling is a little more relaxed and they kind of trust you and lay back. It’s a little different because I tend to often not work with anyone in a marketing department. Or it’s the marketing department of one versus in a for profit it could be a whole 10 people that come from a marketing department. So it’s a different vibe and then I have to kind of adjust how I handle them.

Ben Aston:

Yeah. I think what’s interesting as well, when we’re dealing with clients who are marketeers, who are used to kind of dealing with agencies and projects is very different from when you’re working with a nonprofit perhaps where this is their big project of the decade or whatever. And they’ve got absolutely no idea what needs to happen. There’s much more of a handholding exercise, which can be quite fun as that you get the chance to educate them as you go.

Lynn Winter:

Yeah, education and sharing knowledge is a big thing for me. So I appreciate being able to give that to someone and help kind of teach them how to go and do the things after we’re gone and done with a project.

Ben Aston:

Yeah. Talking about sharing knowledge. Let’s talk about the Manage Digital conference which you started last year, right.

Lynn Winter:

Yeah.

Ben Aston:

So what kind of birthed that idea?

Lynn Winter:

Well, I went to a DPM summit that’s put on by the bureau of digital way back, I can’t remember how many years ago, but it was back in Austin, maybe five years. It was a really big moment for me. I’m up into that point, the agency I worked with was really big into the Drupal community, which is also a wonderful community, but it’s at that time was mostly developers. So I’d go to a conference of like 2,000, 3000 people and all I would find is developers. If I found that one PM I would like hunt them down kind of creepily. It’s to like have like a comrade and someone to share knowledge with and do things with.

So when I went to the beat DPM summit it was like, “Oh my God, like I can find other people like me, and we geek out on this certain things and we can share experiences.” So I really appreciate that opportunity. Then over the years past that point, people would come to me all the time about like, who should I hire here and I need mentors and what do you do about this? I realized it was just kind of a hole in the local community cause PMs just don’t have a lot of options for learning. It’s nice to see you guys doing stuff and other people kind of growing, But it’s been pretty dry for a long time. So, I really wanted to do something locally and when I changed jobs and became freelance, I was like, “Well I finally have time.” Of course that lasted for a hot second.

But by then I had momentum and I started going and just through word of mouth, we put on a conference last year that out of 140 people show up. So it was pretty exciting.

Ben Aston:

Cool. Tell us what’s in store for the conference in the year ahead because the conferences is not that far out now, right?

Lynn Winter:

No, it’s not. It’s up in May 9th. Similar to last year, but a slightly different format. So the big focus for the conference is networking first, learning second. The reason for that is, I want to build the network of PMs locally to support the job searching to support mentorship. So we’re going to have a couple more opportunities to network. So we’re going to do table discussions, where we’re going to have topics and people are going to be sharing.

Because some of the feedback I heard last year was that while breakout sessions in keynotes are really good, there’s also a lot of knowledge in the room and that’s so true. So people are going to have that time to connect and network and learn from each other. Then we moved up the happy hour a little earlier so that people don’t go home and pick up their kids from school, they have time to connect with people. So just going to just a little more opportunity and free space to do that, meeting ingredients situations.

Ben Aston:

Cool. So if people want to find out more about the conference, where should they go?

Lynn Winter:

Yeah, they should go to managedigital.io. Tickets are going pretty fast, so if you’re interested, you should register now and get on board.

Ben Aston:

Yeah. It’s just a one day conference, right?

Lynn Winter:

Correct.

Ben Aston:

In Minnesota?

Lynn Winter:

In Minneapolis.

Ben Aston:

In Minneapolis, yeah. You know, my American geography-

Lynn Winter:

There’s a big stay, there’s some blakes in it.

Ben Aston:

Is that a city, is that a state? What is that thing?

Lynn Winter:

It’s the twin cities. Come on, there’s an airport, close to it.

The part of the deal too is to keep it affordable because it’s hard to kind of build up the money and go to a big conference. So, we’re past the early bird pricing, but right now the price ticket price is 175. So, it’s totally manageable for a one day conference.

Ben Aston:

Yeah. That’s awesome. Good stuff. Well. let’s move on to talk about, your post and burnout. We’re kind of making the assumption that people know what burnout is. I kind of introduced the kind of symptoms of burnout at the beginning, but what is burnout? Tell us what it is.

Lynn Winter:

Yeah. It’s basically an exhaustion of both your physical and emotional strength. So, you’ve hit some walls in both those aspects, so it might not just be a physical changes, but it might just be a mental exhaustion. So you’re basically burned out, stressed out and frustrated.

Ben Aston:

Hmm. Obviously the causes of it, it can be a variety of things, but in your experience, often the experience of talking to others about it, what have been the kind of primary drivers of getting into that place?

Lynn Winter:

Yeah. I think it’s really three fold and it’s really based on the way the world is changed our workplace in ourselves. So, the world in general, the work world has changed, right?

Ben Aston:

Mmh.

Lynn Winter:

People aren’t just coming home at four or five o’clock shutting down and that’s it for the day and they’ll deal with whatever problem comes the next day. We’ve got iPads and watches and phones and slack channels in any other way to get ahold of anyone at any time of day. We’ve changed that. I think at first it was this great convenience and helpfulness and it’s become more of a detriment to how we do things. In our industry has even like worse reputation of having these sorts of problems. I’m sure Silicone Valley is causing a lot of that, but essentially this digital industry is really hard and drawing a line between work and personal time.

The other … Before we blame ourselves, the other area of concern is the workplace. I think that really comes down to, as far as for project managers, like how much a workplace values the role of project management, how they see it and support it. We were talking previously about how people often don’t even call project managers. Like that’s maybe a dirty title or not the right thing. I’ve been at so many places where we don’t even display how many hours in the cost of a project manager because we think people they wouldn’t want to see it and they don’t want to pay for it. Like why wouldn’t they want to pay for it? So if you’re in a workplace that doesn’t support the value, who you are, give you opportunities and make sure that you’re not given too much work, if you’re not in that kind of place, that can cause a lot of the problems.

Then of course the final thing is ourselves, which is a lot of my problem personally because I’ve been in some good workplaces and some bad workplaces. But I myself have always just been like the yes person I can take it on, I can do that, I can help the team and just taking on more and more things and just putting bad habits into place. I also have found people that when they either switch into the PM industry later on, or are new to the industry or maybe older in the industry, like were not 20 and they’re more 40 or 50, there’s a lack of confidence. So there’s this kind of like hustle that we think we should be doing to catch up or get to where we need to go and not maybe as a perception that we might have that we don’t actually need to do.

Ben Aston:

Yeah. Yeah. It’s a balance, because I think that kind of feeling of like you need to hustle, there is a reality to that when you’re in a new role or you’re trying to make an impression. But is when you push that too far and then you start becoming burned out. But what’s your story of getting burnt out and how did you … Like all of the kind of three things that you’ve identified there, what was the kind of primary drivers to you? At what point did you realize, “Hey, there’s a problem here?”

Lynn Winter:

Yeah, well, I think probably what I was born. But I got the extra majors in college, I’ve had to kind of jobs since I’ve graduated college. I have a secret life where I shoot sports for either television or in house video. So I’ve kind of always maintain multiple jobs for a long time. So, really when it comes down for me is there’s first … and I think when it comes down to all of us, we should first look at ourselves because if we’re doing what we should be doing, then we can look at our employer and our environment. But we can’t look at other people and point at other people for our problems until we took a hard look at ourselves.

Honestly, I’ve been putting pressure on my family and my work life and just trying to be like, “Oh, it’ll be easier and four months or in six months,” and that’s really no way to live your life. But a couple years back, I was in a position where I, along with a couple of my employees got laid off from my job kind of out of the blue, and it was like, “Okay, what do I want to do?” So I started getting phone calls of like, “Hey, Ella heard you lost your job. We have this position. Do you want to do it?” Something inside me kept saying like, “I’m not ready. I’m not ready. I don’t want to do that.” I realized if there was ever a time, this is the time to kind of address my work life, balance my choices, my goals, where I wanted to be.

So I took the time to slowly get back into what I wanted to do and made a couple other personal changes around eating and exercise and just being happier to make a change for myself.

Ben Aston:

That’s cool. I think my experience of this is, I find myself in a role and I think that throughout my entire career I’ve found that I was always pushing, I was very ambitious and trying to get a place where for me the objective was, “Okay, well I want it to be a VP.” The way that I did that was work extremely hard and I was on planes all the time, traveling all over the states and over Canada. I was traveling every week and at the end of it, I was just exhausted. I think the final straw for me, it wasn’t actually the work, but it was at the point where I had my second child and that at that point where even less sleep, that’s kind of what broke me.

Then what happened wasn’t just psychological, but maybe it is psychological in a way, but I got arthritis, and something I still have. But it just came from exhaustion essentially from just having worked too hard for too long. These things can be driven through the ambition or it can just be this kind of striving to just keep your head above water where you feel like, “Oh, I just want to impress,’ but the impact at the end, is just really not worth it, right?

Lynn Winter:

Yeah. I had a similar, like a physical issue too, where I know I had information about some things that were happening at the company, and I started having like fake heart attacks. I was having in the middle of the night, my chest was hurting so bad, I would wake up like in so much pain that I literally went to go check to see if I was going to have a heart attack. I was just having panic attacks in the middle of the night. It was like, “Oh, okay.” I’d love to say that. I was like so smart to look at these things and all the other signs beforehand, and I made the change myself, but I didn’t. I hear after I talked about this topic at the DPM summit, so many people come up to me and tell me their story.

I was just like, I feel bad, but it’s like, “Okay, well let’s take control of this. Like what can you do about it?” You know?

Ben Aston:

Yeah.

Lynn Winter:

Because life is short and it can happen. What also happened in the last couple of years to make some changes for me is that, a neighbor of ours husband passed away from a heart attack at 40 and one of my clients got breast cancer. So it’s very real, like time is limited, and how happy do we want to be with what we’re doing in the choices we make.

Ben Aston:

Yeah. In terms of dealing with it, I think one of the things that you talk about in your post is starting small and picking one item to focus on in the first month. But even that can feel overwhelming. So to give us a head start, what did you do … The words, what was your small thing that began to help create some momentum for change?

Lynn Winter:

Yeah, I think the first thing I did, just because things like when you lose your job, things can be emotional and little out of control and you’re not sure what’s going on and what you should be doing next. I just started by exercising and eating better. So, the last year I had gained 20 pounds from just like sitting on my computer all day and all night, not taking care of myself. So I started by doing this like disgusting green shake diet, which I still drink every morning. Less disgusting now because I’ve changed it up a little bit. But my sister had been doing this like smoothie diet thing to cleanse and so I did that, which led me to stop eating wheat, which has been really good, and having a gluten free diet.

Then as I was trolling Facebook, as I had more time, I purchased this exercise thing off of Facebook as one does, and then new age and I just started doing it. It was like a 20-minute a day, three times a week exercise thing, and it made a huge difference. So I started feeling better and it kind of cleared my mind. I was like, “Okay, so I can feel better. I’m not as stressed out. What do I want to do now?” I just started working on the physical part of me first.

Ben Aston:

Yeah, and you bought a Unicorn.

Lynn Winter:

I bought a Unicorn and I love that. Well, we don’t have it anymore.

Ben Aston:

Oh, I was going to ask you, how is the Unicorn? If you haven’t had a look, take a look at the posts. If you want to be inspired of what to buy just I don’t know what to buy pick a unicorn.

Lynn Winter:

I think everyone should, everyone should do like say, “Fuck it.” I’m going to buy this most ridiculous thing this year. I’m thinking about buying inflatable, unicorn costume and trying to water ski on it. I haven’t gone that far yet, but I think I’m going to do it. But this thing was like 16 feet tall, like 12 feet wide.

Ben Aston:

How long does it take to pump up?

Lynn Winter:

Well, I didn’t do it, but my husband said it took like four hours and six beers. But it was well worth it until a lovely fishermen took the head out with his hook.

Ben Aston:

Really?

Lynn Winter:

Yeah. Yeah.

Ben Aston:

Oh, well sad.

Lynn Winter:

So we had a deflated head for part of the summer and then it was just like … Because we had it sitting in the water all summer, so it got a little green and stuff. So we put that away. But we did buy one of those hot dog, like ridiculous things that you like would go on in Mexico on a spring break kind of thing. We bought one of those for this summer. Because I had to like … I’ve decided like every year we’re going to buy something ridiculous, and fun for our brief summer that we have in Minnesota.

Ben Aston:

Sounds like a good plan. But let’s talk about how we stop burnout happening in the first place. Because I think once you’ve hit burnout, I mean one thing is recovering from it and trying to set new boundaries and trying to pivot. But obviously what’s better is, if we stop that happening in the first place. Then your post, you’re talking about three things we can do, which is gaining control over your time, creating work and home boundaries and investing in yourself. We’ve kind of talked about a couple of those in what you did to recover. But in terms of gaining control over your time, I think within the workplace in terms of actionable things that people can do, can you tell us what you found to be most effective in gaining control over your time so that you’re focused on the right things and not ending up, working late, working all hours, what’s worked for you?

Lynn Winter:

Yeah, I think the first biggest change I made is stop scheduling everything around everyone else and imagining that you’re invisible and that you can just make it work. I did this forever. I see everyone doing this is that, well, I want the project to be on time, on budget and respond to the client. So I’m going to squeeze this meeting in anywhere I can fit, where it works for my team and then I’ll just make it work. So what happens is, you end up piling too much stuff on, the workday doesn’t start till four or five o’clock when you can actually sit down. Everybody leaves you alone and now you can work. So I just stopped doing that. Like what’s the difference if a project gets done a week or two earlier, like it doesn’t matter because what we do know is the client will probably delay it anyway based on content or some other decision and so it doesn’t matter.

So it needs to be spread out as needed. I tell clients all the time that I can tell you around when major things are going to happen for the letter a part of the project, but I’m not going to give you exact dates until we get into it. Because either you’re going to change the timeline, or I’m going to need to for good project reasons. So making sure like, I’m going on vacation myself on Wednesday and it’s like, “Oh, how many things can I squeeze in?” I’m like, “Forget it, can this meeting happened without me when I’m gone, great, that one will go on when I’m gone. That one will go in a week when I get back,” and no worries off my back.

The other thing is scheduling and work time. So I have no matter what kind of calendaring system you use or not, I like to block out like here’s what I’m going to do during those two hours, and I’m going to only do that. If I have a problem with people bugging me, I work mostly from home now. So I’ll just silence my slack channels that I won’t get pinged from four different select channels I have right now to bug me. But if you’re in an office, you could actually literally put up a, Do not Disturb Sign as long as that’s only happening a couple times a week.

You tell your team, “Here’s what I’m doing, I have terrible boundaries. My time, I’m not getting anything done, it’s stressing me out. I want to try this technique. It doesn’t mean that I don’t care about you, but I’m going to set it up at these times, and I’m going to put a sign up. So as a reminder for you guys, if you could respect that and try that, let me know. In a couple weeks after I’ve tried it, I’m going to check in with you to see if it’s causing a problem for how we get work done at work, if it’s working out okay.”

Ben Aston:

Yeah. Another thing you can do if that’s not working, if they do not disturb sign doesn’t work, leave the office, take your laptop and go to a coffee shop, so that you are not available. But I think what I found was that I’d always use lunch breaks as a time to … That’s the kind of like the first opportunity in a day when there’s no one that will not accept the meeting.

Lynn Winter:

No one bugging you?

Ben Aston:

Yeah.

Lynn Winter:

Until they find out you’re in your office every day at lunch time.

Ben Aston:

Yeah. Yeah. You talk about this, make sure that you’re taking breaks and I love what you’re saying about, don’t schedule everything around everyone else because invariably that will mean that you’re screwed over. It’ll mean you’re coming in early, it’ll mean you’re leaving late, not taking any breaks out the day and it’s going to burn you out. So yeah, I think maybe controlling your time is really important.

Lynn Winter:

The other thing I’ve done more recently is really black meetings into like one day or two days. I do that a lot because then I’m in this mysterious place called Minneapolis for you. It’s a good 40-minute drive between traffic in the morning. So what I try to do is I line up all my meetings at one or two days a week and then I don’t have to travel. So that means I have another hour and a half. But I think if you are in an office, if you can kind of be like, “Oh, this is this the day that I’m not going to get anything done, I’m going to go in and out of meetings, but then tomorrow I have nothing.” I think it makes a really big difference too.

Ben Aston:

Yeah, definitely. You’ve told the story of how you realized you were burnt out, and you’ve made some changes and now have adopted a different way of working. But what are the kinds of challenges, or where do you see it being kind of being problematic and you are slipping back into old habits? What are the kinds of things to watch out for people who are in danger of kind of backsliding or slipping into foresight. What are like the key indicators for you?

Lynn Winter:

To me and I’m kind of in a slippage mode right now because I’m working on the conference. So it’s an extra thing that I’ve chosen to do. But to me is when you start having your computer open at night. If you’ve decided I’m going to do it once a week and that’s fine, is if it becomes three days a week, is it happening multiple weeks in a row, that’s kind of a big sign. Also like exhausted. Like if you have gotten yourself a new plan to either go to the gym or take walks or something, if they’re not happening, what’s going on with that? So some signs around that. Just like if you have a family at home, if you’re starting to get a little cranky and having less patients, it probably has a lot to do with your job. It’s not probably because your kid all of a sudden became like in an evil place because they grew into a new phase. It’s most likely because you just don’t have the energy and time to do it.

So I mean, in general, for me the winter is very hard because I shoot most of my sports in the winter and then with a manage digital conference. So I’m trying to take in a little different approach of like … Because I like to have the flexibility where I can leave in the middle of the day and pick my kid up or do something. I’m starting to approach it as the Marie Kondo kind of situation. If you know who that is.

Ben Aston:

Yeah. Yeah.

Lynn Winter:

From tidying up and really thinking like if I take on something extra and that is going to break my boundary of balance, is it going to bring me a lot of joy? It’s not just like, is it going to move me up a level, but is it actually going to bring me joy? So I kind of think about it that way now. When I do something, I’m like, yeah, but that makes me happy. I’m going to choose to do that. What it does then is when I have a lot of work on my plate, then I say, “You know what though, I chose this and I’m happy about it,” and I put a different attitude on.

Ben Aston:

Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s so important. I think as we think about … I think it was often kind of in the early parts of our career we’re kind of thinking about, climbing the ladder, being ambitious and making our mark on the world or doing something impressive. Well I kind of realize now for me is that actually, yeah, what you’re talking about is thinking about the things that actually matter in life and realistically whether or not a client’s project is delivered two weeks or a month late. The difference that you kind of slaving day and night to help them achieve that versus taking a more balanced approach and being realistic with the clients and everyone right from the start. Not just saying what people want to hear, but actually saying … being realistic with the project planning and say, “Hey, Asha, I can’t give you a date for the delivery because things aren’t defined yet.”

Or actually being realistic about this, this project is going to take six weeks longer than you want it to. But then the result of that is yes, you have a difficult conversation at the start and people get upset, but then the next three months of your life aren’t a constant struggle and you’re not going to burn out as you try and deliver this undeliverable projects with an unrealistic deadline. I think so much of the time, we can be people pleasers and we want to look good, we want to achieve lots and we want to say, “Hey, I delivered this exactly when the client wanted,” but actually if we can slow down and have that difficult conversation at the start, buy ourselves some time, actually we be a lot happier at the end of it, and we might have more joy in our life.

Lynn Winter:

Yeah. I think also too, as far as other signs, like if you’ve really taken a hard look at yourself, because being the DPM summit and hearing people kind of complain about where they work and stuff, I think there is just kind of a mode we get into. But if you’ve taken a really hard look at what you’ve done and you make a really good run at this and finding the right things for yourself, and you’re still hitting walls that where you work, then you’re just not working in the right culture, or the right place. I worked at a place once where I was like, “I’ve got too much on my plate. I’m going to be on vacation over Christmas and I won’t be able to deliver this report until I get back after Christmas,” which was due while I took my Christmas vacation. And they said, “I understand that you’re over worked, but you need to get it done, figure it out.”

So if that’s the response you’re getting over and over, then you may need to look for a place that better matches what you need.

Ben Aston:

Yeah, yeah. Sound advice. There are plenty of jobs out there with some really good agencies. I should say, if you are looking for a job, and you haven’t joined our slack team yet, go to the digitalprojectmanager.com/slack, we’ve got a channel for jobs, and you can find all kinds of jobs. Some are remote jobs and lots of jobs with some great agencies. So if you are suffering, consider your options.

Lynn Winter:

Reach out. Yeah.

Ben Aston:

But then it’s been great having you today. Thanks for joining us.

Lynn Winter:

Yeah, and I just wanted to say thank you also for being a sponsor for Manage Digital. It’s a huge deal and we can’t put on a conference without people like you guys supporting our community. So we really appreciate it.

Ben Aston:

Pleasure. So I wonder what you think. I wonder if you’re suffering from burnout. I wonder if you’ve got any great burnout tips, well tell us what you think. Comment on the post and also head to digitalprojectmanager.com/slack as I said, and join our Slack team and you’ll find all kinds of conversations going on at about all things digital PM, and you can find some jobs. If you like what you heard today, please subscribe and take a couple of minutes to leave an honest review for the DPM podcast on apple podcast, they are extremely helpful for us and they will help us tailor the show. So it is greatly appreciated. But until next time, thanks for listening.

Ben Aston

Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager and founder of thedigitalprojectmanager.com. I've been in the industry for more than 15 years working in the UK at London’s top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, Lowe and DDB. I’ve delivered everything from film to CMS', games to advertising and eCRM to eCommerce sites. I’ve been fortunate enough to work across a wide range of great clients; automotive brands including Land Rover, Volkswagen and Honda; Utility brands including BT, British Gas and Exxon, FMCG brands such as Unilever, and consumer electronics brands including Sony.

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