by Sean Croxton
About 10 years ago, when I worked for Todd Durkin I learned the art of color-coding the calendar. If I remember correctly, green meant Green Machine, yellow meant Mellow Yellow, and red meant STOP.
Green Machine is when you’re working your tail off, helping as many people as you can, making a contribution to the lives of others, and earning a good living doing it.
Mellow Yellow is when you tap the breaks a bit and slow things down. The fitness crowd may call this “active recovery”, when you back off on your workouts, reduce the intensity, and allow the body to recuperate before heading into another training cycle.
The color red is the universal signal to STOP. Break time! However, red can also indicate an emergency. And unfortunately, for some folks, it can take a real crisis — typically some kind of stress-induced health challenge — before they are forced to call a time-out from their overscheduled and undernourished lives.
Now I won’t lie to you and tell you that my Google calendar resembles a stop light. There are no green, yellow, or red weeks. But I will tell you that since I learned about Todd’s system way back in 2001 I have always been mindful of not only how I expend my energy but how I recover it as well.
For example, when I was a personal trainer I would take it easy during the summer months, working maybe 10 hours a week, just enough to pay the bills and have some fun. In an occupation known for burnout (my buddy Chris even wrote a book about it), I think these Mellow Yellow summers were what kept me going for as long as I did.
A few years ago, I even took an entire summer off, woke up without an alarm, spent many days with my feet in the sand and eyes on the ocean, and BASICally had the time of my life on the corner of 10th and J.
And as you probably already know, I take at least a month off from UW Radio every year.
I guess you can say I’m a master at recharging my batteries.