Sunday, July 13, 2008

Running a Marathon as if it were a Dash

After listening to the sermon in our little country church this morning, I think I've figured out part of my problem. Bro. David told a story about running in a race that he had not trained for. When the last lap of the mile long race came, he noticed the other runners really pouring on the speed, so he did too. Curious to see how things were going, he turned his head to look behind. One of his slower teammates, realizing he didn't know how much this action was slowing him down, yelled from behind "don't look back...don't look back!"

The point that Bro. David was really making tied in to the sermon (guess you should have joined us!), but the story made me realize why I am so tired, why I haven't had much time for friends and family, and why I keep feeling like I'm losing the race. For me, the problem is that I keep running this project race as if it is a 50 yard dash instead of the marathon that it really is. When running a short project dash, I have the luxury of pushing everything out of view except for the finish line, and dedicating all of my efforts toward the one task, running at full speed, to the exclusion of all else. In the marathon [yes...I get the irony of using this analogy when the mental image of a woman my size running a marathon is, well, unbelievable...but stay with me on this one, okay?]. Now where was I? Oh the marathon, if I adopted the same strategy, I'd be out on the side of the road waiting for the pick up car in no time at all.

I'm currently involved in a project that is much more complex (from a data standpoint anyway) than anything I've done in the last couple of years. This week, we really put a ton of work into getting the tool ready to demonstrate to management. We did a good job...they like what they see, but part of our strategy involved putting pieces of the data into place without verification, without clean-up, and without checks and balances. We have a long way to go on this, and if I do not proceed with more caution, then I am at risk of finding myself reworking the data over and over to solve problems that were already solved, but not recorded or shared across the project.

Also, I have been putting off things like answering emails, taking care of other clients, spending quality time with my husband (who will soon be gone for a while!), paying bills, going home for the weekend, and more in order to dedicate all my time, and I mean ALL of it, to the project. So...I've decided the best strategy now is to PACE MYSELF. There is no doubt that 40 hours each week will still go toward this one task, but from here forward, there will also be time spent on other important things.

My first task? Tonight I am going to focus on replying to emails that have gone unanswered. Tomorrow, between my dentist appointment and visiting with our financial adviser, I am going to take my sweetie out to the movies. And when I get back in town on Tuesday, I'll definitely be ready to put 10 hours per day to work on systematically proceeding through my project making sure to document and organize the work as I go.

Gee...the more I think about it now, the more I realize that within 4 weeks, I'm going to get to the end of a very successful project without sacrificing my friendships, my health, my family, or my professional ethics. I'm running a marathon here, and by following a fast-paced but well thought out strategy, I am absolutely going to win this race without sacrificing the important things in my life as I go!


  1. Anonymous3:56 PM

    Hi Bea!
    I think your will wishers already know that you push yourself quiet hard. But then, that is the kind of stuff you are made of, so to tell you to slow down will be just so futile.
    But do stop along the way and admire the scenery, now and then, and smell the roses and whatever else makes you happy. But, don’t necessarily “slow down”, That is not you.
    If I was in Houston I would have walked up to you and offered to write some of the code for you. Honest I would. Pity I cannot do that.
    My regards to hubby and all of your lovely family and friends. And Brother David.
    And here is wishing you complete success with the project.


  2. Hi Azzy!
    I finally had a chance to get on Skype last weekend, but didn't find you there. Don't worry...I'm not giving up on it. I'll try again soon. And yes, I could see you and I working on code together. What fun! The crazy way things are going these days, I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see that opportunity really pop up as well. Who knows!
    Hope things are going well for you. I assume you are watching our presidential race progress here? This one is going to be interesting! It will be something more for us to discuss when we finally do get in touch.

    Stay well, talk to you soon. Bea