What? Programming and athletics?

I wouldn’t have thought that it made sense, but the two concepts turn out to be rather complementary.

If you are a programmer or other kind of creative or thought worker, think about when you start to burn out in any given day. It might be mid afternoon, lunchtime, or even late morning if you are really hammering yourself. You have probably discovered that you have to pace yourself just to make it through a day while still being pleasant to your coworkers and, more importantly, your boss.

The time that you spend at your desk after burning out for the day is what I like to call obligatory waste.  It’s not productive and everybody knows it, yet you are obligated to occupy your space with a smile, looking busy, while everyone else in the office does the same.

I don’t think this is limited to afternoons, I think that there is ramp-up to creative work and I don’t know too many people who warm-up best by occupying their cubicle and browsing reddit.

So what can we creative types do?  We can work on something else, but that depletes the creative energy that we need to keep the money rolling in.

Enter physical activity. 

“Physical activity, isn’t that for kids and old people?” No, it’s for us keyboard-pounders too if we don’t want to end up like our Cheetos-loving contemporaries.

For many of us, finding the time to wedge athletics into our daily lives is a perpetual challenge. It is often the first thing to get cut when spousal and parental duties fluctuate high, and it’s rarely the first luxury to return during vacations and downtime.

Yet, for me, it has an important place in helping me to develop my sense of self after a day of making other people happy.  When I’m on my mountain bike, tooling around the local trails, my concern is limited to a handful of things, the most important of which is to minimize the statistical opportunities for my body to impact a tree.

Everybody ought to find an activity that can take the edge off of Monday morning meetings and endless conference calls.  Something to look forward to because it will only be you and the trail, or you and the water, or you and the pavement.