About a year ago, I was part of a project team that was tasked by the leader of our organization to sell 40 new townhomes in ONE day. Sounds impossible, right? Who does that?
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 in order for employees to qualify for 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 at least 40 prepared homebuyers for the one-day “sellabration.”
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 our work-life mix during these times is called Sprint-Recover.
I find this strategy to be much more liberating and powerful than a typical message of everything in moderation. This is not intended to devalue moderation at all, but Sprint-Recover tends to resonate with super-busy people who make choices to push ahead on a special project, take on one more task, throw a 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 Your 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 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 recovery time are planned.
The key take away 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 is not widely discussed in this exact way, but two researchers at Portland State University published a white paper on this topic. They 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 the white paper for some nice strategies and ways to think about the Recover side of a Sprint.
By the way, we sold 40 homes in one day; the “sellabration” was so gratifying and a high point of my career. After the push, I took time to recover by managing my personal and work calendars so that few responsibilities were scheduled. As a team, we also took time to celebrate the success of our efforts.
If you are 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!
I’m Karen Clark Salinas, and it’s my mission to help women live their full purpose (work + family) without sacrificing wellbeing. I want to be the coach I wish I’d had when I was a working mom. Someone to help me get unstuck and live my life more intentionally. Marriage, motherhood, chronic illness, divorce, remarriage, and caring for aging loved ones contribute significantly to my story. I know for sure that, with my support, you can pursue your professional dreams while raising a happy and healthy family.