It’s a huge project unwinding sixteen years of living in one place. It wasn’t easy, but we made it! Looking back, I recall some days when I thought we had made a big mistake and should just undo everything. There were other days when I wanted to throw random stuff in a suitcase and just head south that day. Along the way, and especially now that we are here, I realize that this process was a lot like managing a business. Good days, bad days, planning, re-planning, what comes first, what goes where. All those thoughts fit well into the management of any business. Getting work done requires management skills. Here are a few skills that are essential if you want to get from here to there, whether you are moving or managing a business.
When you are planning a move, you need to agree on the end goal. If either person has reservations about this venture, it probably won’t work out too well. Moving requires a great deal of planning. You need to plan to the goals – short and long term goals. Some of the short term goals can be negotiated along the way, but everyone needs to know what the end goal looks like and how long it will take to get there.
It’s important that you know your strengths. It is also important that you know the strengths of your team mates, because a successful move, like successful management, requires team work. One person can’t carry the load. This is no time for the micromanager. This is no time for one person to decide he or she knows it all. In order to successfully manage this project, there needs to be a division of labor. Every piece of the project is important – right down to the final sweep of the house. Every team member needs to understand the priorities along the way. These may shift from time to time depending on what crisis pops up. Priorities should be revisited every day and everyone needs to be on board. Make sure you know that everyone is on board – assumptions are dangerous when managing a project.
Some people are particularly good at organizing. In business, these people are often in operations. In a successful move, these are the team members who can help you get rid of sixteen years of stuff you don’t really need any more. These are the people who can figure out what to pack in the order that will work at the other end. Organizers remember to label boxes, too. Use these people well because you’ll be able to find stuff later.
Like managing a business, moving is stressful. Everyone involved will have his or her own stressors in the process. Everyone will respond differently. You need to keep that in mind as you manage your move. If you commit to maximizing your communication during the process, you can help reduce the stress, because effective communication requires active listening. If you take the time – each day – to actively listen to the concerns, suggestions and thoughts of the members of your team, the stressors can’t live long. They are reduced in the speaking and in the listening, because, then, there is the opportunity to work them out with someone who cares.
Relocating is difficult for everyone. You lose your comfort zone. You lose good friends and maybe some family. If you can make the actual move work well, you will have more time to deal with the stress of losing what had become familiar. Moving your stuff from one place to the other can be a logistical nightmare if you don’t plan right, use your resources to the max and make sure everyone is on the same page. I can’t say we were perfect along the way, but working hard to manage this so we both felt successful each day paid off. Hmmm, couldn’t the same be said about a day at work – managed well?