Don’t Panic Labs: Running for Sustainable Mental Agility

This is a guest post written by Bill Udell, Integrator at Don’t Panic Labs. You can learn more about Don’t Panic Labs here.

At Don’t Panic Labs, we help organizations achieve sustained success through software. Writing software to solve the problem you have today is relatively straightforward. Writing software that can respond to your business needs just as well in five years requires disciplined software engineering. We call this “Sustainable Business Agility.”

Well-architected systems hold up quite well when the winds of market demands begin blowing a different direction. Need to make a few changes? Not too difficult as long as you know where you need to go.

A poorly-architected system usually ends up a bloated mess that isn’t fun to work on and frequently leads to confusing and frustrating moments for the software developer left to make the best of it – all while precious time and market opportunities pass you by.

Much like well-kept, organized, and thoughtfully constructed software systems, a well-kept and active mind is also key to success. I like to think of agility regarding mental capacity and ability to solve – or at least work through – problems that arise.

I know that there are plenty of studies out there to back this up, and I’m probably not saying anything new to all of those who run or workout on a regular basis, but getting out of the office and putting in a few miles is one of the best ways to work through the problems or frustrations of daily work life. If nothing else, it is a great way to blow off some steam and get away for a while.

I have been consistently running for about seven years, and I can honestly say that not only do I feel better physically, I think more clearly and better manage my stress level. I can’t tell you how much that has benefited me, both in my career and at home. Once I created the habit, it was easy to go running five, six, seven, or even eight miles every day. I block off my noon hour on my calendar, and off I go.

And to help keep me accountable, I have four or five Don’t Panic Labs software engineers join me. We have our regular route that winds through, out, and back into the Lincoln Haymarket area. We have a great time talking shop, pushing each other, or just putting work aside for a while to reorganize and refocus our brains.

Agility is all something we need to succeed. Software needs it to adapt to market trends, and our brains need it to succeed in being the best person we can be.