Are you a marathon runner or a sprinter?
(NB: wearing Lycra is optional)
Many of use push ourselves from the moment our alarm goes off in the morning until we fall into bed exhausted at the end of the evening. We are constantly ‘doing’. We effectively live our life as if we were a marathon runner – slogging away, keeping on going until we cross the finish line. We’ve run the race, but are exhausted.
Research shows that we are much more effective both mentally and physically when we think like a sprinter (picture Usain Bolt when he crosses the finish line and you’ll see what I mean). Instead of a hard slog we pace ourselves and aim for short intense burst of activity followed by periods of rest and relaxation.
It makes sense when you think that we can only concentrate for between 90-120 minutes before we need a break. Having worked in the corporate world for nearly 20 years I’m always amazed at how many people regularly put in 10hr+ days, are ‘back to back’ in meetings and eat lunch at their desk. When holiday time comes they often report that they fall ill. Or when they come home in the evenings all they want to do is sit slumped in front of the telly rather than do the things that they really want to do.
Looking at the two different charts below – where do you sit?
Top performers whether they are athletes, CEOs, IT Consultants or Mums all rely on regular rituals to help manage their energy and achieve their goals. These are things that we can do to give us a mental break throughout the day.
I’m a mum who works. My life is full to bursting so making a choice to create these moments in the day is really important. Two of my favourite times of the day are ‘elevenses’ when I stop for a cup of industrial-strength freshly brewed coffee and again at 4pm when I stop and have a cup of tea. Regardless of where I am or what I’m doing I try to regularly keep these rituals (and get others to join me too).
Some might only take a couple of minutes to do when time is tight; others might take a bit longer, for example maybe you and your partner dedicate one evening of the week where it’s all about the two of you – maybe you get a take-away and sit down together to watch Breaking Bad/Downton Abbey/X-Factor (delete as appropriate!)
Try creating your own mind map of ideas. There are some ideas below to get you started.
Try it for one week and see the difference it makes to your energy levels. A few minutes spent wisely can make the rest of the day so much more productive and happier.
Above all – remember to think like a sprinter.
If you’d like some personal advice or would like to run a workshop contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Or you can follow me using the links below.