As part of the Office of Work, Life and Engagement at a major university, I was part of a project team tasked by the president to sell 40 new townhomes in ONE day. Sounds impossible, right? Who does that?

The Sprint

Buying a home is a huge decision and requires a lot of steps to work through the financial process. In our case, there was an added step of completing homeownership counseling for employees to qualify for free money — nearly $50,000 in employer assistance that could be used towards a down payment and closing costs. This was a very high-profile project that could be life-changing for employees. We pushed hard to make sure we had more than 40 prepared homebuyers for the one-day “sellebration.”

Many of us experience times of high productivity at work, when there is a push for deliverables and meeting deadlines ahead of time, under budget, and with satisfied customers or clients. One way to better manage work-life mix during these times of episodic overwork is called Sprint-Recover.

I find this strategy to be more liberating and powerful than the typical message of everything in moderation. This isn’t intended to devalue moderation. Sprint-Recover tends to resonate with crazy busy people who make choices to push ahead on a special project, take on one more task, throw a big party, engage in extra activities, etc. It’s also strongly aligned with American culture and messages that we see so often around pushing oneself, going hard, being great — the Sprint. What often needs more attention is the Recover component.

Sprint-Recover to Manage Work-Life Mix

Sprint-Recover can be a great perspective for work-life mix because it empowers choice to push and to rest. It can be as simple as, “I’m working extra because I’m getting ready to be out of the office for 10 days,” or more complex in planning for a heavy workload/family load for several upcoming weeks, and accepting that choice, knowing that catch-up and recover time are planned.

The key takeaway is that we need to be thoughtful about planning and taking downtime — and not feel guilty about recovering from a big sprint.

The Sprint-Recover term as it relates to work-life mix isn’t widely discussed in this exact way, but two researchers at Portland State University published a white paper on this topic. Fritz and Ellis write, “research suggests that when employees are able to recover from work demands they benefit from improved well-being and enhanced performance capacity (i.e., readiness to perform, attentional capacity, and/or feelings of being focused, energized, and motivated to work).”

Check out Fritz and Ellis’s white paper for helpful strategies and ways to think about the Recover side of Sprint-Recover.

The Recovery

By the way, we sold 40 townhomes in one day; the “sellebration” was so gratifying and a high point of my career at the university. After the push, I took some time to recover by managing my personal and work calendars so fewer responsibilities were scheduled. As a team, we took time to celebrate the success of our efforts.

If you’re heading into a sprint of a weekend or a sprint season at work, plan and protect your downtime for recovery now, then enjoy your sprint — go hard and be great!

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About the Author

I coach professionals to redefine how to work, parent, and achieve financial freedom without sacrificing wellbeing. Motherhood, marriage, chronic illness, divorce, remarriage, and caring for aging loved ones contribute significantly to my story. Together, we can help you reach your full potential — on your terms.
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