I was trying to compare two coworkers work habits.

  1. One is a sprinter, he works hard for months at a time but eventually gets bored with projects that go longer than a few months.
  2. The other is a marathoner, he works hard on projects day-in and day-out even if they go on for a year or two.

I thought of a bunch of words that describe focus, but they describe short-term focus. Words like:

  • Attentive
  • Attention-span
  • Concentrate
  • Focused

But if I say the sprinter "has a limited attention span", most people would think he gets distracted by Facebook or the TV. What words or phrases would help me compare these two work ethics?

  • It's in the pre-history; they are hunters and herdsmen. – Hugh Mar 21 '16 at 23:34
  • @Hugh wow, that doesn't fit my needs for this situation but that's incredibly insightful nonetheless – Dave G Mar 21 '16 at 23:39

Marathoner and sprinter seem like the most likely terms to me, especially if you are contrasting the two styles. Many other words describing people have connotations beyond just how long they prefer their projects to last on average.

You could focus on the qualities of the projects they like to work on. One likes short-term projects, and changing situations. Adaptable, flexible, able to roll with the punches, change tolerant come to mind here as positive qualities the sprinter might possess.

The marathoner likes long-term projects, which means larger, more complex projects. Focused, sees the big picture, strategic planner come to mind here as positive qualities the marathoner might possess.


I would say the former is earnest and the latter diligent.

  • This is a good start to an answer, but please add some more detail - at the moment this is more of a comment. – Dog Lover Mar 22 '16 at 1:13

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