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Work hard, play hard, and don’t forget to rest

Posted Jan 22 2011 12:00am

A day into my week-long business trip, I’m getting my game-head on, thinking about how I’m going to play this week. The hotel where I’m staying has no coffee in the room, and I have to pay for internet connectivity, so I’m already improvising.

Hell, I started improvising yesterday. I got up when I was planning to and checked my flight, and a whole bunch of flights before it were canceled, due to bad weather conditions. I considered changing my plans, which the airline said I could do without penalty, but when I called the travel agent, they told me they didn’t know anything about that. It sounded like I had woken the agent up, too, which was a little annoying. It’s one thing to be woken up, but to cop an attitude and not be fully present on the job you’re paid to do… it happens, of course, but I wasn’t in the mood for it yesterday morning. So, after wasting 20 minutes dealing with that situation, I decided to just bite the bullet and head in. Traffic was surprisingly heavy for 6 a.m., and I barely made my flight. But I did make it.

Even so, the flight was delayed about 4 hours, for a variety of reasons. So, I took the opportunity to step away and find some breakfast, get myself a good cup of coffee, and catch up with myself. It wasn’t bad. I managed to sleep on the flight a little bit, and I made my connecting flight just fine. At the final destination, my luggage wasn’t on the plane, but fortunately it was on the next flight, so it only took 45 minutes or so to get that sorted. When all was said and done, I arrived at my hotel with a few hours of daylight left.

Last evening, I was fried. There was a group dinner that I attended, which was nice. But talk about loud. The restaurant we were in was very noisy. And there were lots of us at the table, so keeping track of everything going on was a challenge. I focused on my immediate surroundings and let other people do the talking. Fortunately, I was hanging out with the IT folks, who aren’t much for social chit-chat. They just want to get their jobs done. And there wasn’t a whole lot of witty banter going on. After, I headed back to the hotel with some folks, we headed off in the wrong direction, then I pointed us in the right direction, and we got back.

Today promises to be a better day, I think. I’m at my hotel, I have my appropriate gear and attire in proper order, I know where I need to go, and I know who to ask if I have any questions. It’s all good. I know I need to pace myself and save up energy for the day, which is full of networking and busy-ness, and just making things happen. A whirlwind tour, that to be honest has me a little concerned. I worry about not having enough energy to get through.

But the energy thing is something I can work with. I just need to make sure I eat properly and take time out to rest and breathe and gather myself. I wish it didn’t feel like an obstacle course, but it does. I should be happy and enthusiastic, and in a way I am and once I get into the thick of things, I’m sure I will be even more. But it’s daunting.

One of the things that’s made it even more daunting,  is the head trip around this convention. It is a big deal, and it is quite the event, but the way people have been talking about it, it’s like it’s this monumental do-or-die situation. I know there is a lot riding on it, but I’m more comfortable settling in and buckling down and not talking a lot about how hard and challenging and overwhelming it will be. That just sets up this perception that it’s an ordeal to be endured and survived, rather than an energizing opportunity to learn and connect with people. That’s really the approach I’d like to take a really positive, can-do type of mindset that sets me up for success, rather than failure.

Dwelling on the dread aspects of how hard this will be, isn’t particularly productive. It is also quite draining. I’m sure the people working on this have been increasingly tired, so their mood has gone south, but I just can’t go there with them. Not today. Not at all, in fact. If I start getting mired in the awfulness before this whole thing begins, and I let that tone take over, it’s going to be a looooooong week. And I haven’t come all this way to feel like crap.

So, I’ve done my morning exercises, stretched, and now I’m going to read and write a while before I go out looking for some coffee. I’ve looked at Google maps and have located a McDonalds within easy walking distance. It will be good to get out and stretch my legs. I’ll get my no-cheese-please Egg McMuffin and a medium coffee, and ease into my day. I’ll spend some time thinking through my day, planning it out, checking in with work a little bit, and just making sure I have everything in order, before I launch full-bore into everything.

And all along the way, I’ll be smart and pace myself. I plan to work hard and play hard, but I also plan to rest.

Life is good. It holds a lot of challenge and evil, but there’s plenty of good to be enjoyed.

And so I shall. With common sense and a good plan, I shall.

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