I felt the need to go off the paved reverb path for a few days, so this prompt is brought to you, by… me.
Prompt for December 17: What’s left incomplete in 2011?
My big incomplete this year was the Xterra Snow Valley Half Marathon where I took my first ever “Did Not Finish” (DNF). At the end of July, I ran 100+ degree Red Top Roaster 15K in Georgia. The following weak, I mean 7 days, I took the starting line in Big Bear, California. That was a beautiful yet difficult trail run because of the 6,000ft altitude and the killer hills. At the end of the first loop, I had completed 11K of the 21K and seeing my time I decided to call it a race. I didn’t hurt, I wasn’t exhausted, I just felt like I was riding on flat tires and the best part of the race was behind me. Could I have finished? Yes. Did I want or need to, no. Will I do the race again in 2012, definitely!
When I think about the idea of taking the incomplete my mind immediately jumps into all the 2011 work that I will be carrying over into 2012. I am genuinely unhappy with that aspect of my life.
I like things done and dusted, but that has not been the way the work life has gone this year. The company I work at has had several audits from Los Federales, leading to many unplanned activities in response. We were also purchased by another company and a good 10% of the workforce was incentivized to find work elsewhere. In short, the environment dramatically changed. I would normally say, suck it up and do that which is important and leave the rest. But there’s more here.
Michael Auzenne of the Manager’s Tool Podcast has described modern life becomming more an more a state of constant perpetual distraction. With email, texts, IMs, BBMs, twitter, facebook, DVRs, On-Demand, it seems we are becomming a people with attention decifict problems. I will admit that I finding myself more and more likey to move off task if left to my own devices (pun intended).
For example, in the last 3 months, I have on several instances while in the middle of shaving, stopped in order to start something else. After that thing was initiated, I went back to finishing shaving. Now, I don’t mean that I put the hot lather on and was waiting for my pours to open. I mean, I stopped mid-shave with the left side of the neck clean and the rest of the face fully lathered to go off and do something else, presumably more important in the moment. In my own defense, I will say that the things that I have started have never taken more than a minute or two, but that’s the problem. I am always looking to start that next thing while I am in the middle of something so as to save time.
At work, this translates into having contracts 98% done and sitting on my desk for me to finish the last steps… for a month. It find myself completely forgetting about emails that I should have actioned but for some reason, I thought I would just get back to them later. It’s not that I’m not working from a prioritized list but more a matter of constantly triaging and then leaving all the mid and low urgency items for someone who no longer works there.
The mantra for 2012 is definitely going to have to be:
The other side of this situation of having so much work in process, is that it’s hard to celebrate completion and sucess. I just keep moving up that hill, aware that there isn’t enough oxygen and I am falling behind.