One of the comments I heard recently was ‘This is a marathon that we have to sprint through’. At the time the comment reminded me of the time when, as a student, my academic adviser told me it was ‘time to start burning the candle at both ends’. On further reflection I realize that life, and work, has distinct patterns and rhythms. Recognizing these rhythms and being prepared to sprint when you have is important to success. Even better if you can plan for these periods and be ready for them when they come along.
In my photography life the sprints often come in the form of trips, preparing work for exhibition or magazine submissions. Periods of intense activity that are followed by a period of ‘active recovery’, where I’m working but at a sustainable pace. It’s taken me a while to realize that I need to anticipate and plan for these periods and while it may seem obvious make sure that plan also takes into account what else is going on in my world. Having a whole life schedule rather than a ‘work schedule’ and a ‘life schedule’ make it easy to spot potential conflicts.
My schedule is thought out for about the next 12 – 18 months and that plan is revised each quarter. While it is common sense, I take pains to avoid birthdays, anniversaries, school start dates, and the myriad of other things that are knowable in advance. Obviously life doesn’t always go according to plan and you need to remain flexible to change with changing circumstances. This is not something that I’ve been great with in the past and it has meant missing out on some fun opportunities because I was unwilling to drop anything from an already full schedule.
Having a clear sense of purpose and how things fit and support that purpose makes these kinds of decisions much easier.