Our Masters swim/triathlon coach sent us a workout designed to improve our performance. She emphasized the research of working at your anaerobic threshold to increase your performance. Working too hard creates lactic acid in your muscles, and that will slow you down. Staying at your comfort level, your aerobic pace, will never improve your performance. The key is taking your work to the aerobic/anaerobic threshold and gradually extending your times on the threshold. If this approach makes sense for my running or swimming, why not apply it for my work?
Too many times I have given my work mind the kind of advice I know is stupid for my athletic mind: Just work harder and longer, and you can get through the time crisis. This leads to lactic thinking. My decision-making, output quality, and creative juices all slow down. A 10k where I went out at over a minute a mile faster than my jog pace, and bonked in mile four, just surfaced in my head. An excel budget worksheet that didn’t add up because of late night changes also bubbled up.
So here’s a workout plan for increasing your work results.
- Warm up with a half hour planning of your day.
- Follow with 90 -60 intervals. Work on a project for 90 minutes without any interruptions. Any! No phone, email, interruptions.
- Follow that with 60 minutes of social interaction, planning, or message responses. Repeat three times.
- Warm down at the end of day by recapping your results and planning out your next day.
Do this for three days a week for at least a month prior to the start of your busy season or upcoming big project.
- Warm up with a half hour of predicting your results.
- Follow with 3 sets of 30-30 intervals. Work on a project for thirty minutes without any interruptions at your max productivity rate. Turn off every devise that distracts, and let your colleagues know not to interrupt you.
- Follow your 30 minute sprints with 30 minutes of recording what you accomplished and compare to your predictions. Check in with your device connected posse, and predict your next interval. Repeat 3x.
- Warm down by posting on Facebook and all your media the results of your intervals and your predictions on the next workout.
Do this for even days of the month in the month prior to your review.
Don’t be surprised if your productivity increases, and you end your day with as much energy as you started with in the morning. This may put you on the threshold of discovering the joy of working.