I was always a pretty bad athlete. Most of my time during sports meets in school went in clapping for the star athletes. As a result, I watched all these races, jumped and cheered. My favorite was the 4*100m relay and I guess watching many a race (versus running them) made me draw parallels to athletic situations.
For example, one of my theories is that a good talk/speech is like a 400m dash – you start with a bang and capture the audience’s interest, keep up the momentum and use up all your ending in a cracking ending.
This theory involves all the 3 above mentioned races in a working life context –
1. Events or 100m sprints (Duration: 1 day – 1 week. Maximum 2 weeks): Events in our lives are similar to the 100m sprint. We expend all our energy and test our ability to sustain our energy (physical and mental) in high stress.
Events can be happy, tough and sad. I think of times when we are just required to burn the mid-night oil – a crazy examination schedule, a crazy project deadline etc. It could also extend to an action packed vacation, a happening party, a trek etc on the personal life front.
2. Projects or 400m dashes (Duration: >2 weeks to 6 months. Maximum 9 months): If you are working, projects are typically common and you are always working on one, two or many – all at once. Typically, tough projects are those that take considerable amounts of energy during the period. They are like the 400m dash – good start is essential to build momentum, continuously maintaining the momentum is critical and a good ending – well, there’s never anything like a good ending, is there? :)
I feel anything above 9 months would just be ‘work’ but again, I am aware of projects lasting an extra few months. Not sure if you’d consider it or structure like you would structure a project. And besides, I picked 9 months because I likened it to giving birth to a baby on a personal front.
3. Long term work/life or Marathons (Duration: >6 months): This applies to any work and life, in general. Life is a marathon of sorts after all. You can have your desperate sprints but over the long run, it’s definitely not a few day battle – it’s a war.
A simple example is sleep and the use of time. While it may seem productive to lose sleep in a few day ‘event’, it will certainly become unproductive over time in a ‘project’ and definitely damaging if done so in long term work or life.
I find it helpful to put a frame around common place things. Just helps me understand and picture them better and as a result, helps me do better in general as I learn how to apply myself – hope it does for you too!