Spinning your wheels can be great if you’re in it for the exercise, but spinning them at work will not get you to where you want to go…
I recently participated in my first spin class, and I was struck by the parallels between this form of exercise and the professional life many of us lead.
Activity is Not Necessarily Productivity
First, it was hard! I know I’m not in the best shape, but I haven’t been totally sedentary either. The 60 minute class totally wore me out. It struck me that the treadmill work I was doing, which I considered my “workout,” really wasn’t challenging or pushing me to improve my overall well-being. As I pushed myself through the spin cycle, I thought about some of the jobs I had over the years. It made me think how easy it is to fall into a rut and just go through the motions of your day-to-day activities in a corporate job. How easy it can be to forget that activity is not necessarily productivity. How clearing an email box is not the sign of a productive day, but more of a day trying to stay above water. So, what can you do about it? Well, the first thing to do is recognize it. Take a step back and take inventory of where you’re spending your time and what your priorities are for the day, week, month, etc. Then, plan your time accordingly and make sure the bulk of your time is spent on the important things that make your work interesting, exciting and truly productive.
Are You Stuck?
As the spin class continued and I became a little lightheaded from the exertion, I started to chuckle to myself about the fact that while I was working so diligently, my legs were pumping so hard and the wheel was spinning so fast, I was still in the same place as when I had started. Have you ever felt like you were working so hard at your job, yet you always seemed to be in the same place? Day after day you got to work early and worked without a break for the next 8, 10, or 12 hours before heading home to a late dinner, maybe a little more work or some mindless television, and then off to bed, only to wake up the next day to do it all again. This is the point where you might realize that you are living to work rather than working to live, but how do you change the pattern? Sure, you’re thinking, “I’ll just change the way things are done or change the atmosphere at my multimillion/billion dollar company.” Well, if you could, that would be great, but in reality that’s probably an unlikely event… at least in the short term. But, what you can change is your attitude and your approach. Regarding your attitude, don’t dwell on the negative. Try to focus on the things you love about your work. It could be your salary that allows you to do the things you really want to do in life. It could be the people you work with or maybe one of the projects you’re engaged in. Appreciate what you have and it will come through in your approach and results. This will have a positive impact on your personal outlook, your colleagues, and the stakeholders you work with.
Improve Productivity Through Focus
In terms of your approach, try to schedule your day so that you have some time blocked off to do the things you truly enjoy doing. Make sure that every day includes something that makes you feel good about your job and career. It could be blocking off time for creative thinking to address some challenges you, your team, or your company is facing. It could be career development or networking time. Or, it could be time to focus on that aspect of your job that you love most. Whatever you do, you should try to find time everyday that will help you feel great about the professional aspect of your life.
Well, when the spin class was over, I got off my bike and walked, wobbly legged, out the door for some cool, fresh air. It felt great to know that I was making the effort to improve myself and, even though I was on a stationary bike, I was moving in the right direction. But what about your career? What if you keep spinning in your current role and you can’t see a way off the bike? Well, then it’s time to ask yourself some other questions and I’ll be addressing some of those in my next blog so stay tuned. In the meantime, if you or someone you know would like some help in answering these questions, please send me a message or give me a call.
Ken Sher is a Career and Life Coach who focuses on the whole person when helping them with professional or personal issues they are trying to manage. If you would like to reach out to Ken, please call him at (215) 262-0528 or visit his web site at SherCoaching.com