Great You Have a Problem! So…

For me, working from home is excellent.

The one hour in a week it is not working for me is Wednesday 12:00-13:00. Why?

At that time, we had our MSD Prague Toastmasters meeting. When working in the office, it was an excellent “break” from all the usual meetings: a chance to see some friendly faces. It was something worth sacrificing the usual “free lunch hour” for (we did not stay hungry, just instead of an hour-long lunch, we went to grab a quick meal in the company cafeteria after the meeting).

But with the home-office set-up, this wasn’t working so well anymore.

A lunchtime meeting suddenly lost the appeal of “changing the atmosphere,” as I took it from the same chair, as the meeting right before and right after. And it robbed me of the entire hour that I would use for cooking or a short walk on the other days.

It was an even bigger challenge for my colleagues who had a family – and for whom the lunchtime has naturally become a break they could spend with their family.

The attendance dropped. In response, we dropped the frequency of our “Wednesday Toastmastering” from weekly to fortnightly… and got used to the fact that “Oh well, people don’t like to meet for Toastmasters online.”

One year later, we decided to drop the meetings altogether, and I quit Toastmasters.

Oh, come on, I’m just kidding!

What happened was that in one of the conversations with the Club Officers (i.e., the organizers), someone asked: “What if we did the meeting at a time that would not collide with everyone’s lunch?”

I know what you’re thinking: “Hello, why haven’t you thought of that earlier?”

Exactly my point! We were so stuck in the “how it’s always been.” We even called it “Wednesday Meeting” (in contrast to the other meeting, which we held on Tuesday evenings). It has always been on Wednesday lunchtime!

Here’s what happened next: We re-scheduled one of the meetings in the series to Friday, 2 pm for a “Test Friday Session.” It turned out great – some “regular” Wednesday attendees came and said they liked the new time better; some new people came and said they couldn’t have come before because Wednesday lunchtime was not working for them.

Resolved and happily ever after!

A nice reminder of Principle 2.2f from Ray Dalio’s Principles:

“Tolerating a problem has the same consequences as failing to identify it. Whether you tolerate it because you believe it cannot be solved, because you don’t care enough to solve it, or because you can’t muster enough of whatever it takes to solve it, if you don’t have the will to succeed, then your situation is hopeless. You need to develop a fierce intolerance of badness of any kind, regardless of its severity.”

Ray Dalio

Sometimes, all it takes to solve a problem is to attempt solving it. How about you, is there something that’s not working for you exactly the way you want it to?

Great, you know you have a problem!

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