Transitioning Work States

A couple weeks ago, I went for a longer run and decided to try a new technique: run and walk. The idea is to run for a while, but periodically walk to save energy for further in the run.  Normally, I like to run the whole time because other wise it doesn’t feel like running*, but I decided to give it a go.  After running for a while, I decided to walk up a steep hill.  Walking felt so good that when I got to the top of the hill, it was really hard to start running again.  Plus once I broke the  “Dont Walk, Keeping Running” seal, I found it much easier to walk with greater frequency.  I was able to run a bit faster than usual at the end, but the psychological pain was not worth it.

These types of transitions feel rough and we experience them more than just exercising. At work,  sometimes we are in the groove: work goes in, work goes out, nothing’s on fire, we just keep moving.  Sometimes though emergencies hit, one project takes nearly 100% of our focus, we drop everything else and sprint as fast as we can.  We feel the adrenaline in our veins and we save the day. But after it’s done, we often feel just like the athletes that sprinted a mile and collapse on the ground to catch their breath. At work, this usually is just scanning our email for anything else urgent, but once that’s done, we have to transition back to the non-urgent, but important grind. Yet so many things have been neglected that it’s hard to pick just one.

It is tempting to wait for another crisis, but we all know that’s not a good way to work.  Maybe instead of waiting for the next fire, we need to think through our week and set mini-goals for what we want to accomplish.  What things do we need to get done this week?  Maybe no one is pressing us to get some thing done, but we can help make everything better for the next emergency. Life is more than waiting for the next sprint.

Photo Credit: recursosjuridicos cc

* the speed I run at most people would scoff at calling it running, but it’s running for me. 🙂 






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