Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off, and Start All Over Again

dancing by volcanoBack in the early 1930s, when America was going through some hard times, Ginger Rodgers and Fred Astaire danced their way into American hearts by offering these words of encouragement—”Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again”—in the movie Swing Time.  And America responded.

In 1980, I was living in Oregon when Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18th. We were miles away and yet we could hear it and see the darkening sky. Later we literally had to “dust ourselves off.” Everyone in the neighborhood had a bandana or scarf wrapped around the lower portion of their face and was using shovels and brooms to clear volcanic ash from the rooftops. The ash was so heavy and thick that rooftops were caving in.

Once the rooftops were cleared, we had to “start all over again.” What do you do with a pile of volcanic ash sitting in the middle of your driveway?

First things first: Clean out 3 jelly jars (one for each of the kids), label them and fill them with ash. I guess if we’d been more entrepreneurial we could have filled all the jars we could find for future sales, but with ash still falling and every driveway in the neighborhood blocked with a large pile of ash, no one was thinking about starting a souvenir business.

Since we had just purchased a basketball pole and hoop a few days earlier and it needed some weight for stability, we poured some of the ash down the pole and filled it about halfway up. Now I wonder what the next owners did when they took down that pole.

With a big pile of ash that still needed a solution, we stated looking for one. City and county services had already alerted residents that ash removal was not included in the weekly garbage collection. Besides, if you filled even half of your trashcan with ash it became too heavy to move, let alone pick up and dump in the garbage truck. So creating our own landfill was the only solution. We dug up the flower beds along the back fence, built a retaining wall, and created raised flower beds. Ash, like sand, is good for draining water from top layers of earth to the deeper layers.

All summer, we dealt with ash. Dust masks were the norm at the kids baseball and soccer games and practices. Every time someone ran for a ball, a dust cloud followed. But after the winter, with a new Spring, up came the new flowers.

Spring is a good time to “pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again.” It’s the time of the year when the days get longer and your energy level begins to peak. It’s time to fix that door that just won’t latch, pump air into the kid’s bikes, open the windows and doors and make everything fresh again.

It’s also a good time to evaluate how you are managing your projects. Are you using the right software to simplify your tasks and solve some of those problems that keep cropping up? Are you still putting off looking for a better, more comprehensive solution? And if you are happy with your software, are there improvements you’ve been meaning to make for months but never seem to get to? Are there ways to clean up your processes or data?

There is always room for improvement. For example, within our own Spitfire Project Management System, clients might decide to fix templates to match changes made by the legal department, or to create a detailed report to hold information currently on two different reports. Or maybe they might spend a little time automating more workflows.

If you already use the Spitfire Project Management System, we encourage you to contact Support for help in sprucing up your system. If you don’t already use Spitfire, you may want to start with our free demo.

Now is the time for change, before those lazy days of summer hit and all you want is a tall, cool drink and restful place in the shade.

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About Dorothy McGovern

Dorothy McGovern (VP of Client Services at Spitfire) has been with Spitfire since Day 1. Prior to Spitfire, Dorothy worked at IBM and the National Aero Space Plane group at Wright Patterson Air Force Base (where she made a hole in one on the 18th hole on the same day she fell out of the golf cart. Since it was the 2nd time she had ever played golf, it seemed like a good day to retire from that sport.) The postings on this site are her own and don’t necessarily represent Spitfire's positions, strategies or opinions.

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