One of the challenges business professionals face is making their day as productive as possible. Sometimes it seems like your day is so busy and when you get to the end of it you find that you didn’t accomplish any of the things you wanted to. You were busy, but did you really get things done?
A lot has been written about time management. I’m going to tell you right now I don’t believe in it. Even though time is a human construct, there is no way humans can really to manage it. It flows like a mighty river and nothing can stop it. No dam can stop it. No technique can harness it.
What you can do is manage your activities. What you do and how you do it is more important than anything that you may “try” to manage time. A simple training technique used by Ironman Triathletes is the answer to the “time factor.” I call it “SPRINT.”
Here’s how I came to develop this technique. The training involved to prepare for an Ironman Triathlon can approach 25 hours a week. One of the training tools to maximize training time used by this elite group is High-Intensity Interval Training.
High-intensity interval training is when you alternate between high and low-intensity exercises with a short period of rest. For example, a short sprint up a flight of stairs followed by a walk back down is interval training. High-intensity interval training allows athletes to reduce the time spent on exercising while increasing their stamina and overall fitness levels.
You too can use this training technique to increase your daily productivity. Just like an Ironman Triathlete, you’re going to focus your attention on a small period of time and push as fast and hard as you can. People who use SPRINT technique find that they can accomplish more in 90 minutes than the average business professional does all day long. And if you are reading (watching, listening) to this I suspect your thinking and performance is far from average!
Here are the steps to use the SPRINT technique:
- Schedule a 90-minute block of time on your calendar to SPRINT. Reseach has found that 90 minutes is the optimal time period for focused attention on a task because once you get started, it can take as much as 15 to 20 minutes before you reach a good pace on your project. Because of this “start-up” period, 60-minutes is usually not quite enough time to achieve maximum productivity. At the other end, the two-hour mark, mental fatigue begins to set in. Because of these two points in time, 90 minutes seems to be the optimal time-slice to dedicate to your task.
- Decide what activity you are going to work on. You may have a project that is comprised of several activities. If that is the case, this next piece is very important; you must work on only one activity at a time. Do that one activity until you’ve completed it. Then, and only then, can you move onto the next activity. The whole concept of multitasking is a misnomer in that it doesn’t make you more productive. Quite the contrary. It can make you up to 40% less productive!
- Give 100% effort to the task at hand. This means to treat your SPRINT like an important appointment that is not to be interrupted. This means no checking email, texts, or answering the phone. For many people, this may be difficult. But if you stay disciplined to this rule, you will be able to place yourself in the elite category of high productivity people. A good strategy is to temporarily disconnect your PC from the internet and shut off any notification sounds on your phone. This way, you’ll not be bothered by email, phone, or text alerts and you can fully concentrate on the task at hand.
- Rest and recover. Just like any athletic training, you need to give your mind a break to recover and prepare for the next SPRINT. This period should be a minimum of 15-minutes, with 30-minutes being the optimal rest period.
Using SPRINT as a productivity tool is going to take some effort. It is a success habit that will serve you well if you can perfect how you use it. Your ability to use it effectively will move you from the category of engaging in lots of activity to actually getting things done!
“Create Unstoppable Success!”
Dr. Richard B. Greene, DBA, SSBB, CMPE
Speaker, Author, IronMan Mind Business Coach
© Copyright 2017 Amplifier, LLC.
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Dr. Richard B. Greene is an International Speaker, Best-Selling Author, and Executive Business Coach who helps business executives get to the next level in business, their careers, and their personal lives. Through his IronMan Mind acceleration program, he offers one-on-one coaching, group coaching, live seminars and do-it-yourself development products to significantly increase levels of personal and business success. He’s been featured on radio shows and various new sites including KVCG Radio, The Miami-Herald, The Denver Post, Wall Street Select, Financial News Today, Fox, and ABC. Go online now to get free access to his acclaimed book, www.PeakPerformerBook.com.