Watching the clock at work

Careers are a lot like sports. Both involve training, sweat equity and “most improved” players. And after our many miles of biking and running, we’ve come to realize that all we need to know for our careers, we’ve learned from our Garmin.

These sports watches analyze your every step, whether you like it or not. Here are a few of the tell-all stats you get from a Garmin and how it intersects with a career.

Pace: 10-minute miles? This happened once last summer during the full-on heat of a 5K Cherry Fest run. We look back on that run and think, That was one sweet stretch! Remember the cheering? Compare this readily to your company’s peak sales this year. Any good stretch of business comes with cheering, confetti and, sometimes, matching t-shirts.

Distance: It’s easy to compare your career to the endurance needed to accomplish a 29-mile mountain bike race. How many cold, muddy bike rides took place over the course of the season, all in preparation for one gloriously long torture session called the Iceman? Alas, quite a few.

Remember the number of times on the trail that you laughed, got ribbed for walking a hill, or dodged a buddy cutting through a mud puddle with you in the crosshairs? It’s funny how that works — the hard rides turn out to be the good stuff, the things you liked best, even if you didn’t podium.

Like business, it’s the day in and day out that count when the gun goes off. And you better make sure you enjoy the muddy sweaty slog, because the podium isn’t where the payout is.

Cherish instead the time you spend hunched together, in muddy jerseys or business suits, trying to find your way out of a thicket of woods or a business contract at dusk, hoping to make it home in time for dinner before the family raises the hell-cry of late again? Oh yes, these are the glory days of going the distance, in business and in sport.

Time: A Garmin measures both your moving time and elapsed time. How apropos! How many days have you spent in a grinding halt in front of your computer, hour upon hour gone on things that seem to get you nowhere? Email, Facebook, Twitter, texts.

An entire day spent doing, yet nothing has changed at 5 p.m. Elapsed time is mighty and discouraging. But then, yeowza, you look up on a random Thursday and find you’ve wrapped up a new issue, secured a new client, finished a new project… and it turns out you were moving all along.

Compare that to a bike ride where your elapsed time is 3 hours but your moving time was only 2 hours, 30 minutes. You think, What the? I took 30 minutes of breaks? This will not bode well in a race.

Then you remember all the tomfoolery you stopped and partook of along the way (i.e. Facebook on wheels). And how it pushed you on, passed the time, goaded you into action. As in business, the elapsed time actually made your moving time faster.

Heart rate: Oh, the curse of the heart rate monitor. Most of us can’t stand to see all the spots we almost stroked out on the hills. Many businesses have this same sensation watching their bottom line heave up and down each month. It’s painful to watch but a necessary evil, like QuickBooks.

But sometimes it’s OK to take the ol’ Garmin off, to let your guard down for the pure enjoyment of a day in business or sport, and see what comes of it. Sit down, let your heart rate come down and enjoy a little elapsed time with us.
Tell us … what’s your favorite way to spend elapsed time at work?