Friday felt like a tough day. I was tired anyway. I had been on the East Coast for client visits and meetings. Massachusetts and New Jersey. A lot of talking, introducing, flying and learning. All exciting and energizing. But also a lot of energy and focus.
I flew back home Thursday evening. I always fly back with a UK airline. On a UK airline flying back to the UK, the majority of people tend to be UK based…and on the same time zone as me…and want to sleep on the night flight.
This does not always happen of course…and Thursday it did not happen. I slept badly…and found myself thinking a lot (when I should have been sleeping) about the meetings and discussions of the week. In some ways this is good – it suggests I had lots of mental stimulation. In many more ways it is not good. I arrived at Heathrow avoiding mirrors! I managed some sleep on the way home from the airport – some good news.
I have long since realised that I can be less objective and more instinctive (in what I do, say and write) on these days back from the US. It’s not complicated – it’s simply because I am tired. But it means I tend to be more emotional in all its senses. Anything that is funny really amuses me. Anything that is irritating really annoys me.
I have to work harder on these days. Whenever possible I avoid more complicated situations and decisions. I avoid writing emails on topics that I know I feel strongly about. I keep myself hydrated with lots of water and caffeinated with lots of coffee. I try to get to the fitness center sometime in the day and get some exposure to natural light.
All sounds great in theory. But of course stuff happens. It’s the nature of things that ‘stuff happens’ when you least want it to. Either at home or at work or just in general about something or someone you care about.
So Friday was a long day. Looking back it’s not that there was anything too much out of the ordinary. There were just several topics and discussions and events that occurred in those few hours. One is manageable. Two is difficult. Three or more just seems to get exponentially harder.
I recognised I was having to work hard. I felt the need to explain to anyone I was talking to about the challenge of big or important things when jet lagged. I didn’t have to tell my wife. She knew.
The good news is that these sorts of days don’t last any longer than any other. And more often than not, those big or important things generally only feel bigger and more important on those days…and at that time. Saturday morning comes round soon enough and (after re-reading any emails I sent on Friday) I was left more with a feeling of excitement and enthusiasm about the people I had met last week and the discussions we had together.
I also realised how important people are to me – people who I work with and people who care. People who bend and stretch and adapt around these sorts of days. But more importantly those are the same people who are there for – and with – me every day.
No matter what happens – no matter how good and exciting, not so good and disappointing, big or small. The only thing that really matters is what we do next. What decisions we make and steps we take – ideas, options, projects, plans – together.
New understanding and next opportunity. Today and tomorrow.