One of the best parts about consulting is how we move around from project to project, applying experience in one industry/situation to another. One month I’m working on a business case for a new product in the tech industry, the next, I’m writing change management communications for a pharmaceutical client. I’m always learning something new, and there’s definitely never any opportunity to get bored or complacent! That’s why I came back to consulting after a brief stint working “in industry” (as we call the other side of the table), and it really makes my job fulfilling.
But on the flip side, that flexibility can be one of the worst parts of consulting too – I never know what’s coming up next. It can be kind of scary when I’m about to start a new project and have literally no idea what my day-to-day life will be like. It’s like starting a new job multiple times a year, and a lot of nervous questions come along with it.
First, the commute: can I make it there on 6am Monday flights, or will I need to fly in Sundays? Assuming flights are on time, will I make it home on Thursdays at 8pm for dinner, or not till 1am to crash into bed? What will my clients and coworkers be like – will we get along, and what will the working style be? What will my hours be like – will I start work at 7am or 9am, and will I get to wrap up work by 7pm, or work through a dinner delivery at the office and only leave to get some sleep? On a similar note: will I have time to stop and eat lunch, or will I be in meetings where we wolf down sandwiches in between discussions? Where can I find healthy meals that are within my budget, since cooking isn’t an option? And, a question I hadn’t really considered before: will I have reliable access to a gym?
I started a new project this week in Florida, and I knew from research that there weren’t any Classpass options in the area. (In fact, there were almost no local gyms with classes prior to 9am, Classpass or not.) I had gotten used to the idea that I’d need to be motivated to design my own workouts at the hotel gym… but then I got to the hotel gym and found it to be somewhat lacking. I’m staying at a big, conference-center hotel, but the gym is about the size I’d expect of a small 100-room property: three treadmills, one elliptical, one exercise bike, and one set of dumbbells. Definitely not enough equipment for such a big property with so many people!
On Monday night, I got out of work at a reasonable time and headed to the gym. I managed to snag a treadmill for a quick two mile run, but found four people packed into the tiny 6×6 foot weight room area, jockeying both for position and for use of the dumbbells. No matter – one shortened workout would be fine. But on Tuesday morning when I headed down to the gym to really work hard, I found lines of two people each waiting for the three cardio machines! I gave up on the gym and settled for a bodyweight workout in my hotel room. (Check out my Pinterest board of no-equipment workouts here.) I was pretty grumpy and frustrated by my limited options! Was it really going to be impossible for me to run during the week for the duration of this project?
This morning, I checked out an Orangetheory Fitness (seemingly the only studio in the area that offers 6am classes). I love Orangetheory, as I’ve written about before. Without a deal on membership like I got when the Boulder studio opened, though, I’m reluctant to rely on it as a workout staple. $20 a class is pricey! But today’s workout was awesome, with my Fitbit showing 434 calories burned, so I started questioning whether $20 a pop was worth it to keep up with my workouts… and my sanity. I was so grumpy last night after two failed workout attempts, so maybe I should suck it up and pay the price for a quality workout?
Well, it was after I decided to bite the bullet and buy a pack of classes that I learned Orangetheory also offers a subscription model that’s reasonably affordable for my purposes: $99 for eight classes a month, or ~$12/class. That’s not cheap, but it’s a lot better than $20 per class! I think my new weekday workout schedule going forward will be braving the hotel gym / doing hotel room workouts on Monday nights (I head to the airport at 4am Mondays so morning workouts aren’t really a palatable option then) and Wednesday mornings, and treating myself to Orangetheory on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I’m pretty psyched about this plan!
Things have continued to look up as the week has progressed. I had some good meetings that make me really excited to work with this client / on this project, and I’m learning that my coworkers on the project are pretty awesome too. Tonight, I’m experimenting with a different hotel that has an equally small gym, but is a smaller property and so hopefully will be less crowded. Turns out, it’s in a gorgeous area with a cute little downtown that’s walking distance from the hotel! I had a delicious dinner there tonight, and I also saw at least three other restaurants on the same block that I’m eager to try.
Tomorrow is Flyday (aka when I head home), which means my first week here is just about done. I certainly don’t have it all figured out yet, but I think things are looking up for both an interesting/challenging project as well as a good lifestyle. And now with things initially scoped out, I can start to figure out the little rules I can make for myself to stay healthy.
Research has found that habit building is more successful when you make your habit part of your identity, and frame it in your mind as “I’m the type of person who _____.” Now that I have the lay of the land, I can start setting those rules and figuring out what type of person I’ll be while here. Definitely the type of person who exercises every morning, and who generally eats healthy… but I’d like to get more specific too. Perhaps I can be the type of person who does a lap around the office whenever I refill my water bottle, or the type of person who has oatmeal with chia seeds for breakfast every morning?
There’s still a lot to figure out as far as settling into a routine goes, but I am just psyched to have things off to such a great start :) Happy Wednesday!