With the slightest disruption at work, I can easily find myself falling into the same counter-productive cycle. Work gets extra-busy, maybe because we’re short-staffed, and before you know it, I start cutting corners. Almost always, the first thing to go is my own personal training time, the time I use for education, re-education, the time for going to conferences or just reading, doing anything that makes me better or more efficient at what I do at work. I don’t have time for that, right?
But the thing is, every time that I have found myself doing this, I may be OK for a short time, but then, my efficiency at work seems to slip, just a little, and this makes the workload feel just a little bit heavier. Then, since the workload is a little heavier, I’m even less inclined to set aside that training time, so that I become even less efficient, so that the workload feels even heavier, so that I train less, and so on. In no time at all, I’m caught in a vicious cycle of “too much work to do.” I become just inefficient enough so that I never quite feel caught up, meaning I don’t feel I can “give up” time to train. I’m trapped. It’s very, very tough to break the cycle once you’re caught in it.
To let some of the work sit there while you take time to read, to go to a conference, to look at your job and assess how you’re doing and how you can do it better can seem a risk when you’re behind the proverbial eight-ball. But applying all your self-discipline and taking that risk pays off. When I kick the vicious cycle to pieces and get back to my training, the same amount of work doesn’t feel so heavy. I have learned I have to make time to train, even when things seem crazy busy, because when I don’t, the craziness just gets worse, not better.