Playing the Goldilocks game

Sometimes in life it’s all a question of balance.  Not too much food, but not too little either.  Too much exercise risks injury, but too little risks ill-health.  Working too hard causes too much stress, but too little time working can cause depression.  Just like Goldilocks, we need things just right.

But what if it’s a question not of balance between two little and too much, but a balance between competing forces?  Pressure to get  a job done quickly, but pressure to do it well.  Pressure to achieve highly, but pressure not to make things too difficult. Pressure to learn more, but pressure not to forget what you have already learnt.

So how do you find the balance then?  I guess it’s a question of finding the most efficient value.  The point where you compromise least and achieve the most.

So that’s why even when I have a massive pile of work to do I make a point of going to the gym these days.  Because the harder I have to work, the more important it is to make sure the balance is kept, by taking that time out to exercise and keep healthy, not only in body but in mind as well – that half an hour on the treadmill seems to pass quickly, as my mind is free to roam as much as my legs move, and explores options that help me to tackle the work more efficiently.

This is why I need to make sure I make the most of all my time, so that I make a deliberate point of doing something I want rather than just sitting forcing myself to work, because otherwise work gets slower and slower.

It’s like the story of the two guys who went for a job cutting down trees and were taken on trial.  The first cut 20 trees the first day, while the second cut 4.  The next day the first guy cut 10, and the second guy cut 4.  The third day the first guy struggled to cut any, and the second cut 4.  The first guy asked what his secret was, and the answer came: I made sure I also took time to sharpen my axe.

Well tomorrow I sharpen my axe by running along the seafront for 37 minutes or so.  And then I’ll take time out from working every now and again during the afternoon to play my game for a bit.  Because by taking those breaks and making the most of them that will enable me to tackle the work I have more efficiently, and help me achieve the balance that I need to find before I can make real progress.


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