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Running While Corporate: Prioritize! Do you do it?

As a general rule, high-performing people have very busy lives: kids’ sports practices, athletic endeavors and work priorities.  It can, and does, seem overwhelming.  I was talking to my wife the other day about how we were both feeling overwhelmed by running 6 days per week, working 45-50 hours, and being present and engaged for family time.  One of the solutions that we came up with was doing less (Crazy!). The key was doing less but doing less better.

For me, this winter came with another challenge.  One of my greatest loves is skiing and Colorado is currently experiencing one of the greatest snow seasons ever.  It seems that every weekend the resorts have been getting feet of snow.  (For example, Copper Mountain received 42” of snow from last Friday-Sunday!)  But I haven’t been going up to ski.  I made a decision in November that I was going to prioritize running over skiing and train through the winter to be stronger for the upcoming running season.  It’s a sacrifice (and a significant one), but I justify it by telling myself that I will only be able to compete at this level in running for a short period of time.  Skiing is something that I can do for years after that, when I am ready to return.

Work has a seemingly endless supply of priorities.  I could spend all day putting out fires, responding to every email that comes in, being in every meeting put on my calendar, and just keeping my head above water.  But I work by the mantra “Control the day or the day will control you.”  To do this, I prioritize everything on a revenue-producing or non-revenue producing scale.  Revenue-producing activities get done first and I will drop any type of non-revenue-producing activity to respond to a burning revenue-producing issue.  As a hardcore planner, this isn’t always my reflex but I have learned that, at the end of the year, I am measured on revenue and profitability.  In the moment, my boss is happy when I get a report done on time.  But he never brings it up at the end of the year when we are measuring my effectiveness.

All things in life and work should be prioritized by level of importance.  Work-life balance is a great concept, but I think it works best by focusing on it as a priority.  For example, I can’t make every one of my son’s lacrosse practices but when I do, I am fully engaged.  I don’t want to be the parent on the sidelines who is on a business call or checking email the entire time.  At that moment, I am prioritizing my son over any work item.  On the flip side, there are times when I need to stay late for work to manage a client issue and I don’t blink an eye that I can’t make my son’s lacrosse practice.  I know I will be fully engaged when I am there the next time.

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Graham Shalvoy is a leader for Edgelink, a technology focused recruiting and staffing firm.  He is also a competitive trail runner, logging 60-70 miles per week.  His wife, Corinne, is also a competitive trail runner and is a Director of Talent for Cologix, a data center company.  Together they have two rowdy boys and Corinne and Graham hold on for dear life PRIORITIZING it all.