Why am I wound up by this?

If this sounds a bit rambling and off-message then it probably is, but I’m experimenting.

One of the reasons I write a blog is that I find it cathartic – it helps me to construct my thoughts, analyse them and then, if necessary, spit them out. In writing this I am expressing a set of feeling, the feelings don’t necessarily relate to real issue or problems – feelings are like that.

Levens SnowToday I am wound up. This particular thing has been winding me up for weeks and this thing is a document.

This document is a long very document -  160 pages and 31,000 words at the last count., that’s almost half way to being a novel. I’m currently responsible for the editing of this document.

The problem with this document is that it can never be finished. As soon as we get one version signed off there’s another set of updates ready to be incorporated. Some might regard a document like this as a good thing – I struggle to see it that way.

Every time I open it up for updates, there are a set of people ready and able to “help” us update it. I am inundated with a thousand opinions some of them specific and useful, many of them are just opinion. Sometimes I feel like I’m sitting in the stocks with people to throwing rotten vegetables at me.

Although it takes a lot of words to say it, this document, in my opinion, has a very simple scope. Within this scope, it has a purpose, it’s going to make a difference to something. I struggle, massively, with doing things for which I can’t see any viable outcome. What’s the point in doing something if it’s not going to result in anything.

Having written the document I want to get on with the outcomes, I want to do something with the information that the document makes available. I want to put the document to bed and then go and build something, fix something, create something. But that’s not how it seems, I’m here, updating this document, again with few perceptible outcomes from the last time. I feel like a train on a track with no station in sight.

But why do I care? I’m being paid aren’t I? It’s just part of the job isn’t it? Someone has to do it don’t they? And that’s when the non-conformist in me comes out.  None of these answers have ever been sufficient, and why should they be. If something isn’t fulfilling its purpose – why bother doing it. We already do too many things in life because they give us “a tick in a box” so I’m not sure why I should do any more of them.

As I said at the beginning, I’m just expressing feelings here, and those feelings don’t necessarily reflect upon the reality of the situation. What I need to do is to turn these feelings around and writing them down helps to expose them to the cold light of day.

In that cold light of day I can realise things about this situation:

  • I can realise that I don’t need to carry this document on my own, I don’t think I’ve actually been asked to, and even if I have, I shouldn’t.
  • I can see that I need to set myself a target with a purpose attached to it. This target can give me something to aim for and give the revisions to the document something to live for.
  • I can start to assess the opinions of others as another set of opportunities to be filled. If people want this document to do something different to what it’s designed for it’s because they have a need for that kind of a document.

It’s necessary to change the way I see the situation before I can make a change to the situation. That’s the point of writing it down, changing me so I can see things differently and make the necessary changes.

2 thoughts on “Why am I wound up by this?”

  1. Perhaps the discussions are not concluded sufficiently to complete the document. Arguably there should be:
    iteration1 “straw man”
    iteration2 “compiled thoughts for review”
    iteration3 “final draft for review (on content more than ideas”
    iteration4 “job done”

    sounds like you are on iteration 99 which should be somewhere between 2 and 3 – I also find this very difficult in todays organisations, we employee a lot of people with very defined roles (try finding someone who can own something without pointing you at 5 different stakeholders”) however unless you as the de-facto “owner” tell them that this is the final draft and there will only be one more version then I dont think this document will ever be complete?

    easier said than done I know!


    1. Thanks for that Mike, sounds like a good plan. I’ll try it out on the next version.

      I should also clarify though, that this document can’t ever be finished because it’s talking about things that are constantly changing. As soon as it’s finished it needs updating to be correct. The problem I have is with the people who want to change “everything”. Instead of just changing the content they want to change the structure, and…


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