Sandbagging

The past 28 hours have been filled with driving…Austin to Fort Worth, Fort Worth to Austin, south Austin to north Austin, north Austin to south Austin. Plus some great conversations, and some interesting podcasts.

I choose the podcasts I do in part because I like to think—the makers bring up topics that frequently start my brain off on tangents. (Yep, I choose podcasts in order to think about things the makers DON’T talk about. It’s my brain; that’s how it operates.)

So during a podcast titled “Two Reasons You Procrastinate or Under-deliver,” I begin to muse about the honorable corporate sport of sandbagging: building a project plan so that its activities and timelines are well within achievable limits.

Sandbagging gets a bad rap, because it’s not each person striving for their utmost excellence, or the group collaborating to create something on the edge of what’s been created before. But I see it as a sane approach to what is generally expected by an organization: a good day’s work, and no surprises.

Reaching beyond one’s grasp can be surprising, and frequently not in a good way. 

Here’s where my musing next took me: I therefore find it surprising, in a value-neutral way, that my blogging assignment—a.k.a. challenge—was to publish seven posts a week… 

and I have made only one adjustment. Despite my not hitting the mark, at times for weeks at a stretch.

I mean, wouldn’t not-blogging mean that the target was poorly chosen? That a smaller number of weekly posts would be better, because I could reach a higher success rate as expressed in percentage of goal-achieved weeks? Or perhaps the target period should be wider—months instead of weeks—to make the goal-achieved box a bit roomier?  

But in this space, boosting my ‘success’-numbers isn’t important. 

It is important to me that I’m predictable enough that you, Dear Readers, find me when you expect me. (Usually.) But it is also important to me that I write things routinely… six days a week.

And then it is important to me to honor and understand the rhythms of my body and my brain–this last being my greatest challenge of the three.

I’ve lived a life of achievement, so I understand delivering according to schedule, and working according to frames and deadlines. But my school-lives and my work-lives have not included space for rhythms more nuanced than 8am-5pm, bell to bell, start and stop.

I like that I know how to work in the expected ways, but it hasn’t fitted me for the unexpected ways I work now.

It interests me that here is the edge I’m operating from, and I have no inclination to pull in my reach. I’m sure it helps that the risk, to me, feels small.

But I think a little more, and I’m pretty sure I would behave the same way I do now with a hundred times’ larger readership,

still chugging along without apology.*

   

   

*Accidental Creative episode: Don’t Apologize for Your Existence 

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