Do you need to “sprint” to get things done?

Whenever I read a post about the sprint to launch, I think 3 things:

1. Great determination, great work ethic, great job.
2. It doesn't have to be this way.
3. It shouldn't be this way.

I feel fortunate that my DNA is blessed with some sort of internal “governor”. I don’t know where it came from, but I’ve always had it. Here’s how it works: It stays out of the way when I am enthusiastic about something, allowing me work ridiculous hours and pursue almost anything that looks promising, whether it makes sense or not. But when I reach a certain point, it turns me off, completely. I don’t seem to have conscious judgement of what that point is or when I reach it, but when it happens, I know.

A few examples:

- I have worked many times without sleep, preparing for a launch. Sometimes, I know my judgement is failing and continuing would cause more problems in the long run. So I stopped and apologize to everyone. I went to sleep and informed everyone that the project would resume at x. I’m not really sure exactly what happened, but I know I had little control over the governor.

- I had 2,500 invoices spread across the carpet, looking for a clue about a bug. After 8 hours, everything was fuzzy. So I just gathered up the invoices, filed them away, and went to sleep. Three days later a lightbulb went off, I spread out 100 of the invoices, and found the problem in 15 minutes. I know that if I had continued that
night, I never would have found it.

- I worked 90 hours per week for 2 months for a big deployment. Without telling me, my co-founder spent all of our reserves travelling to a customer site to oversee the install. He emailed me every 20 minutes with a problem. Between being pissed off at him and exhausted from working on the wrong things, I realized the project was going nowhere and would never succeed. So I just stopped working completely. I went to bed and didn’t answer email for 4 days. I’m not proud of this, just one more story about my internal governor. I’m a little frustrated that I don’t have much control over my governor, but also a little relieved that it does it’s thing. After all, I’ve never really been burnt out, and I’m still going strong.

Thank you, governor.