If you’re returning to work after a summer break and see only a hard slog through long days and dark nights to Christmas, when you collapse and fall ill, before another long slog through January to Easter, then is that thinking helping? Perhaps instead you should think like an athlete at work?

Plan for what’s ahead

A sports team or individual will look at their schedule of competitions or events over a coming season (or four year cycle in the case of an Olympics) and then plan their training periods, their competition time and their rest & recovery time. All the top individuals and teams will do this or have someone doing it for them.

In just the same way teams and individuals in the business can put together a performance calendar (over a year, a quarter, a month or a week) that helps them plan, prepare, perform, review and recover. An important point is that you’re not just putting in the competitions or peak performance moments but you’re using the calendar to guide your planning and recovery.

Create a Performance Calendar

A Performance Calendar is a really simple tool that helps you to see the performance demands and challenges coming up and then plan and prepare to meet them. It also gives you a chance to look at periods where you anticipate you’ll be flat out and when you might be able to recover (a bit). Whether you want to use this at a high level or in detail it will help you feel, and be, more in control of your performance.

In terms of what it looks like you could use a wall planner, a spreadsheet or simply start with a blank table or sheet of paper. Of course it will need reviewing and updating as goals, conditions and events unfold.

A pacing mindset

Even just starting to think this way, like an athlete at work, can help. Unless of course you like hard slogging through long days and dark nights on a relentless, never-ending, treadmill of one task after another where one day merges into the next, you see minimal daylight and your colleagues are as miserable as you. You get the picture…