April 24, 2008
When work conflicts with working out, what do you do?
Them: No pressure, just get it done right away.
Me: Instead of the other 12 things I have to do asap?
Them: No, in addition to them. You don’t mind, do you?
Is the above a
a) scenario for assertiveness training?
b) nightmare that you hope to wake from in a couple of minutes?
c) way to make sure that you do not get any exercise today?
The answer is: d) what my day was looking like yesterday. Technical writers, even the most prepared and organized of them, live their lives to the rhythm of Forces Beyond Our Control.
So one week things are calm and fairly rational, I only work 40 hours, and it’s not that hard to fit in the exercising around the work day.
Other weeks I can chose two of the following three options:
1 – work
2 – sleep
3 – exercise
That’s when the fun really starts. (I keep telling myself it’s fun. Nothing wrong with a good healthy self-delusion.)
Best solutions that I've found so far to manage working and working out:
1 – Take five minute breaks during the day (at least one in the morning, one in the evening) to go up and down the stairs. Stairs get the heart rate moving real fast. Plus, if I present a moving target, it’s harder for people to grab me and say “hey, are those docs ready yet? Never mind if the product doesn’t work, just write the manual anyway. And make sure everything's accurate.”
2 – Take a whole 20 minutes to step outside at lunch and run away. (And come back, alas.) I can eat at my desk – I know it’s not the best way to go, but it beats not eating and it beats not exercising. A steady 20 lunchtime minutes of getting the blood pumping and the respiration even slightly elevated helps keep the stress down, too.
3 – Alternate days when I exercise and days when I just go home (after 12-15 hours) and sleep. If I’m too tired to eat in the evening, that’s better than skipping breakfast.
4 – Take ten minutes at the end of the day to breath and stretch and turn off the brain. Andrew Weil has a whole CD devoted to breathing exercises. They do work, when I have the patience to listen to them and practice them.
4a - Sometimes I’m so stressed I want to kick the calm, relaxing CD player across the room – I can’t relax, I’ve got too much to do! – but in that case I take ten minutes to pace on Manuel, my new treadmill.
I’m probably going to get banned from certain blog-feeds for saying this, but Manuel still needs lubricant before he’s really useful… okay, I can’t even type that without blushing. I suppose I will have to learn to stop referring to my exercise equipment by pet names.
But you probably have better ideas
So what do you do when you’re absolutely nose-to-the-grindstone crunched for time?
You get extra points if you can describe your exercise activities, if any, without using words such as ‘lubricant’ – Crabby has standards, even if I don’t.
And yes, this is the last time we're going to mention the Lipton Tea Bike Contest. The contest ends tomorrow morning at 5:38 a.m. Oregon time (Pacific Daylight Time). That will be your last chance to leave a comment about how to stay young and win a bike! (And trust us, if we could find a way to have all of you win a bicycle, we would! Crabby and I both think you guys deserve lots of nice stuff like free bicycles.)