Productivity in Chicago in October



Well, I guess I didn’t jinx the whole Postseason thing for the Cubs by writing about it a few weeks ago, as we made the playoffs and will be playing the NL Wildcard game this Wednesday.  I could write about that game for a few pages (or more), but for most of you that would likely be fairly boring.  So instead, I decided to write about an indirect impact of that game – productivity.  And no, it’s not going up – probably not a big surprise.

If Chicagoland productivity were a stock, I’d be a seller right now.  Consider this: the Cubs are in the playoffs, the Blackhawks season starts on Wednesday as well, the Bears are playing (albeit not that well), and the Bulls start later this month.  I’d sell Chicagoland productivity and buy stock in Draft Kings or some other fantasy sports organization.  And the longer the Cubs playoff run goes, the bigger a seller I’d be.

For the record, I am blessed with a job that I can do at just about any time, and from various locations.  (And No, for those of you that are curious, I have never worked from Wrigley – I’m not that big of a nerd.)  The only challenge I face is the early morning calls following a late Cubs night game.   Speaking of, I’d love to go down to the Wrigley area this Wednesday night to watch the game at a local bar, but I’m told that it will be jam packed there so getting back might be a challenge.   And while I could probably pull off a 2A return, I’m not sure that Evan would be so happy about that when the alarm goes off at 6A for school.

But I digress – how do we balance this influx of FOUR major sports at the same time with what seems like an ENDLESS ability to stay updated on EVERY aspect of the game, the players, the matchups, the divisions – not to mention the fantasy sports angle as well.  HOLY COW that adds a whole different level to it.

So what’s a sports fan to do?  It sounds easy to say, but I think the key part is the ability to focus and do NOT try to multitask – at least not if it’s really important work.   There are some things that you can multitask with and some that just don’t work very well.  With all of the potential “noise” of non-stop sporting events, the key I think is knowing the difference.

If you are a sports fan, I don’t think it’s realistic to just pretend all that information isn’t out there – it’s there for sure.  You just have to learn to not pay attention to it at times.  Back to my focus comment above.  When you need to work hard on a complex spreadsheet or important presentation, it’s probably best not to have ESPN Sports Radio going on in the background or the Cubs game on TV.  If you REALLY need to hear the latest Wildcard matchup analysis, go ahead an make time for that – maybe 30 minutes – then shut it down for a couple hours and FOCUS.  (there’s that word again)  🙂

I suppose what I’m suggesting is alternating your ability to focus on work items (have to pay the bills) vs sports items (entertainment).  To be clear, I am not suggesting 30 minutes on then 30 minutes off – all of your bosses (and mine) would come after me were that my suggestion.  Obviously, the vast majority of your day should be spent on work.  All I’m suggesting is that I don’t personally see anything wrong with a sports-related diversion or two during the work day.  Even the most productive people need a break from time to time, and if sports is your break than so be it.  Some people take naps, go for walks, read, etc – catching up on sports can just as easily be your break.

So yes, there is a chance that when you call me during the month of October I may be reading about the Cubs at that very moment.  And if you really want to torture me, check the MLB Postseason schedule (if the Cubs are still in it), look for a home game, then schedule a 7A call that next day.  🙂

Productivity IS possible during this very busy sports season.  It’s all about focus folks – and being reasonable and realistic with your time.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it (for now).


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)