In a triathlon race, there is one spot on the course where you can cut your time with almost no training. The transition.
It is the part of the race where you are changing your gear to get ready for the next leg of the race. So, after you swim you get your helmet on and go out on your bike. After you bike you get your shoes on to go run.
If you can be fast here you can lower your time with minimal practice. It comes down to efficiency.
There are transitions in a race, but, there are also transitions throughout our regular day. When you wake up you transition out of bed. When you get home from work you transition to your home routine.
I had noticed that my transitions at home were terrible. It took me forever once I walked in the door to get changed and begin the responsibilities of the evening. I was wasting time. I wasn’t efficient, and it was bothering me.
I felt like I was losing the opportunity to put time into the things that matter to me. I first noticed this problem when transitioning from work to home. So, I then began to look for other inefficiencies at other transition points.
It was happening everywhere. Almost every transition from one thing to another during my day was taking longer than it needed to. I was losing time and not even realizing it. I don’t have the luxury to lose any time but there I was.
It angered me and I wanted to fix the problem right away, but I realized it wasn’t that easy.
These were ingrained habits that I developed, bad habits. My brain barely noticed what I was doing it. Since it wasn’t even perceptible, I was unable to recognize when it was happening to fix it. So, I started at the basic level.
I tried my best to look for times when I was not transitioning between activities in an efficient manner. I get better at recognizing the moment when it was happening.
The next step was to look for the patterns. Why was I being slow? What was going on around me at the time? What activities was I slow to start?
I learned that my slowest, and most wasteful, moments were when I didn’t have a set plan of what I was going to do next. When I didn’t have a next task lined up I would meander around with no urgency and the time during those moments would evaporate. How many more things could I have accomplished during the day if I was more efficient in managing the time between tasks?
I am still working on this and have by no means mastered a solution. But the one thing that is working is having a tighter schedule. Not just at the office but at home too. Having a plan seems to work for every other area of life, I shouldn’t be surprised that it would work here too.