Freeing Sisyphus: What Are the Most Frustrating 15 Minutes of Your Day?
I started my day at 4:30am this morning so I could write this post, get in a run, survive the morning commute, stop by my favorite coffee shop and make it to the office by 8am.
Yes, 4:30am is ridiculous. However – I don’t know about you, but if I don’t accomplish something in the morning during the work week there is ABSOLUTELY no assurance that it will occur after work. Most days I start to feel like a zombie an hour before I leave the office. I work in Finance in a job where the earliest I’ll get off is your typical time-punching 5pm, but it could vary to 6, 7, 8 or even later. Suffice it to say the best of intentions always get derailed somewhere around the 4th fire drill call of the day. By that point I can only imagine curling up on my couch in a fetal position with a blankie over my head.
Sitting at a dead stop yesterday at 7am in morning traffic, I started to think about this eventuality, the master planning it takes to get in my workouts, pack a decent lunch (see Daily Sweat: Snooze, Lose or Compromise), and it made me think about the most frustrating part of my day and wonder about all you folks out there (especially you folks with kids who have to balance everything) and what the most frustrating part of your day is.
For me, I can quite simply say it is NOT the slow death march to work. I can usually survive the unnecessary lane changers, bottleneck traffic and people who have no clue how to merge without much rise in my blood pressure. I just try to focus on the tunes and start to prioritize work tasks for the day, or talk to one of my adult sisters (this week one is in Hawaii and the other is laid up on pain meds –she’s either loopy and happy or a crab monster, so I tend to wait to dial until later in the day).
Really the most frustrating 15 minutes of my day starts as I see my building one exit away, and my blackberry starts to buzz and buzz. My heart rate starts to accelerate, but nothing will keep me from stopping for my morning ice tea (one raw sugar) at a local chain, Caribou. It takes me about 4 minutes to get to Caribou from the time that I see my building rising in the distance. There is this horrible traffic maneuver needed where I have to exit freeway and merge across two lanes of people getting on the freeway with others in an adjacent lane racing up behind you as they are not getting on the highway (hard to explain), but I usually make that part ok. I make the quick turn onto my road and pull up to the Caribou, hop out and make my order with the friendliest of friendly Caribou employers, BUT nothing can help the people who take FOREVER to order the most complicated drinks seemingly every morning for the first time. How can that be? How can I always get behind one of those. I always know what I want, am prepared with credit card and caribou punch card in my hand before I even get to the register. Why can’t others act with such economy? The blackberry starts to buzz at a faster pace, and precious minutes start to evaporate. The roaring coffee machines, the buzz of my blackberry and the people staring blankly up at the menu really start to frustrate me. I try to breathe and begin counting in my head. Finally they call my name, I grab my drink, hop in my car and drive the 2 minutes to my parking garage where my frustration peaks. Inevitably, again, I get behind someone who has NEVER parked in my building’s parking deck before – how is that possible? We are not adjacent to a dr. office or some other place where you could be going for the first time. I go to level C which takes about three loops around the deck behind someone who cannot decide when and where they are going to park. They crawl through the parking deck, slowing down as if they are going to park and then speeding up. At this point I want to scream, as buzz, buzz, buzz tells me I NEED to get to my desk. Finally I make it to my parking area, pull in and jump out of that car like someone racing to their first job interview and are late due to some unforeseen event like getting pulled over for speeding. At this point I usually drop something, or my backpack gets caught on the gear shift as I hurriedly try to grab it out of the car (Haste makes waste – I hear my grandmother’s voice in my head say).
Most of you folks are probably saying – bring ice tea from home. This will solve all your problems and take your 15 frustrating minutes down to 5 – nothing is going to help that parking deck situation. But, somehow, the thing that causes me the most frustration brings me the most comfort for the first couple of hours of my day. I love my Caribou ice tea and like having my Caribou tea in my Caribou cup to carry with me into mind-numbing meetings. I don’t even want to think about the psychology of that this early in the morning. Maybe I will just get up five minutes earlier on Monday.
The work it takes to be balanced ain’t no joke, and the things we do to cope can sometimes be things that are making us wobbly. WHAT are the most frustrating few minutes of your day? Please, please share (will make me feel a little less crazy). If you are not TOO exhausted, would love to hear from you folks out there juggling all sorts of things while trying to stay healthy and sane.
So, please leave a comment, or email at email@example.com
Happy trails and happy Friday – good luck out there today!