Spring Training Routines Aren’t Just for Athletes

I grew up a diehard sports fan in Boston. Spoiled rotten by now, the city’s motto in those days was, “there’s always next year.” It was an unfortunate existence, but one that leveraged optimism to handle the frustration of defeat. Fast forward to this week when I tuned into a Red Sox spring training game. I was struck by the unique approach sports leagues take to prepare for the nature of business. There are dates and processes that define team building year in and year out. Spring training gets players and coaches comfortable with the daily grind. It establishes routines and provides the practice that teams need in order to win more often than not throughout a grueling season. And it dawned on me that within this rigid structure lies a key lesson for all PR pros.

Living in Organized Chaos

I’m lucky to work for one of the most successful retail technology PR firms in the country. With that, every day brings a new schedule, new challenges and new opportunities. It’s a job that requires preparation, organization, dedication and creativity. Yet, unlike professional athletes, we don’t get an offseason to reset and refocus. With limited regularity to our days, it can be hard to establish effective systems and frameworks that withstand the pressures of day-to-day expectations. Superstitious baseball players would probably hate it.

Identifying Routines

Superstition is a funny thing, really. Most athletes know that putting on their socks in the wrong order doesn’t shift the balance of the universe to mandate their failure. Rather, they understand the need to establish routines that create consistent triggers in a chaotic profession. Yes, they have endless travel, non-stop media attention and families to raise. But little routines help them find stability in the chaos. With a sense of control comes the ability to handle changing environments, situations, and opponents.

Establishing Productive Habits

This approach can teach us something about our own work. As you do your own personal and professional spring cleaning, think about ways that you can declutter your daily schedule. Look for ways to take control of your morning routine. Analyze your lunch break, the way you spend time between tasks, emails, client calls, and everything else you regularly do. You’ll quickly notice that among the chaos, there are plenty of opportunities to take control, find the calm and establish consistency.

The arrival of spring is a played-out analogy for new beginnings and new growth. Indeed, the optimism driven by longer, warmer days offers a notable divergence from the dutiful commitment to New Years’ resolutions made during the pits of winter’s misery. But growth doesn’t have to come from establishing visions of grandeur or reaching lofty goals. Rather, it can simply mean finding the little things in your day that trigger success, that bring regularity, comfort and calm to a hectic day.

So, put in the work to do the little things right. Do them every day. Do them right. Ultimately, you’ll establish routines that last a lifetime. Next spring when they start over once again, you’ll already be hitting home runs.

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
– Robert Louis Stevenson