“One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.”- Tony Robbins
There are all sorts of time management tips and tricks out there. The single most influential one for me has been to think like an athlete.
I used to play soccer. A game is 90 minutes. I try to break my day into 90 minute increments when I can. I know – it’s really hard to get that much time, especially if you work in an office environment. Maybe 90 isn’t feasible during the “work” day. You bet it is before the herd gets in or after hours.
If you’re telling me there’s no way you can find 90 minutes, I guess I’ll let you off the for now. I still challenge you do find some sort of carved out time. Break it down less than 90 minutes for now.
Look at your areas of focus. Maybe a key project you’re working on – clear the deck for for as long as you can – clean the calendar, turn off your email if you can, even your phone (doesn’t that make your hair stand still). Just get after it. You’ll be amazed how much work you can get done in just 20 or 30 minutes, let alone 90.
An athlete typically performs in short spurts (okay, you got me marathoners; I know you can run forever). I’ll take the soccer example. Although a player may be on the field for the entire game (90 minutes), you’ll find them walking, standing, jogging, sprinting, etc., etc.
It’s all about focused activity followed by a state of recovery.
Focused Action, Recover, Repeat.
The recovery part is hard for people to wrap their arms around. In the tornado that many of us call a work day, recovery is just not an option. Right? I counter that with a big fat WRONG. You must recover. Even if it’s for a short time. Get up out of your office or desk, whatever, and go for a walk. Go get a drink of water. Stop looking at your computer screen day dreaming about the beach vacation in Cabo you just went on (maybe if you took the time to recover, you wouldn’t day dream).
I’m not talking about taking a break and surfing the net, going on Twitter or Facebook. That’s not recovery. Get up, clear your mind, and just go for a short walk. Go outside and get some fresh air if you can.
Here’s what I want you to try.
Plan an hour in your day – why not today. Write down what you’re going to work on. How long and then when you’re going to take this recovery break.
Let’s say we’re going with a 30 minute sprint – get laser focused. Get out of your email, close down the web. Whatever you have to do to get this intense focus, do it. I suggest setting some sort of timer with an alarm if you have one.
As soon as 30 minutes is up, take the damn break. Get out of your seat and go for that walk I talked about.
When you get back, look at a couple things.
1 – How do you feel?
2 – What did you accomplish in that 30 minutes?
If I were a betting man, I bet you’ll feel pretty damn good about what you just did. Even the fact that you made a plan and stuck to it, regardless of how much you accomplished, is going to give you a win for the day, for the moment.
Start thinking like an athlete; it’s about working smarter, not working harder.
FOCUSED ACTION, RECOVER, REPEAT
If you want a competitive advantage and you want REAL results, implementing this type of habit into your day will help immensely.
There’s no better time than now.
**Side note – My re-branding/new site is set to launch in the next two weeks. I’m so excited to share it with you and get your feedback. I will send out some resources to you guys before it officially launches. Thank you for being a part of the 1440 community. It means more than you know.
Watch this video from Jason Fried on Why Work Doesn’t Happen at Work. Great insight into working smarter.
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