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Enjoy Your Project Like a 70?s Disco, Dude

disco-project-manager-from-the-70sIt was with a great deal of trepidation that I slipped on a pair of flared white trousers and attached a chest wig to my body. My best friend was getting married in a week and for his final night out with his friends and work colleagues he had decided to invite us all to a 70s retro night in a local disco.

I had never gone to one of these events before and I had never felt any great affection for disco music either. However, I decided to try and enjoy the funky sounds of the Bee Gees and Gloria Gaynor as much as I could out of respect for my friend. In the end I enjoyed it far more than I had expected and perhaps I learned a few project management lessons from the experience as well.

Enjoy the Atmosphere

I felt so conspicuous and foolish when I shuffled onto the dance floor that I almost walked straight back off it again. I only started to relax when the rest of the group came on with me and that brilliant Funkytown song came on. After this I began to realise that I could settle down and enjoy a fun atmosphere if I allowed myself to do so. The same sort of principle applies on your project as well. If you find that the atmosphere in your office or meetings in dull and uninspiring then think about what you could do to perk it up. I don’t suggest wearing a chest wig (mine kept falling off whenever I moved) or a 70s disco outfit but you can surely find ways to enjoy a fun atmosphere at work.

Let Yourself Go

There is something about a retro night at the disco with a bunch of friends which encourages even the most timid of us to let go a little. I have never been much of a disco dancer but by the time Donna Summer was doing her funky stuff I was trying out all the old John Travolta moves and having a lot of fun. Letting yourself go while in charge of a project is rather different from doing The Hustle or The Bump, though. In this case, you should try and stop getting too uptight about the work you are doing. Sure, it is a serious piece of business and a lot rests on your ideas and plans but you are probably going to do a better job if you chill out while you are doing it.

Forget About Your Problems for a While

I didn’t mention this at the start but the disco night I was talking about came at a vital stage in a big project I was running and having some problems with. I was really worried about what to do next but I couldn’t miss my friend’s big night out, so I put on my 70s gear and danced like a dude who didn’t have a care in the world. Unsurprisingly, this worked wonders for my state of mind and when I went back to work the next week I felt refreshed and ready to finish the job. This taught me that sitting at your desk and stewing over the issues on a tough project isn’t always the best move. It can work out a lot better to forget about your problems for a while and come back to the piece of work with a more positive frame of mind. You don’t have to go to a retro disco to do this; whatever takes your mind off your worries is fine.

Know When to Change Direction

Nothing lasts forever though, does it? In the end disco lost popularity and, as always, came along something worse. Punk saw this craze off the premises in a fit of snarling and spiky hair and the world was never the same again. Right now 70s retro discos are pretty popular in the UK but this is sure to end to at some point as well. If you think about it, the history of popular music is about knowing when to change direction. The same could be said about your working life as well. You might decide to stay as a project manager for the rest of your career but this doesn’t mean standing still. You will want to progress in the role, try out new techniques and generally feel that you are discovering new ways to do a great job and enjoy it as the same time.

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