Recently, I remembered an experience I had in 1982 at a program called “The 6 Day.” Specifically, I’ve been thinking about the daily morning mile-long run. The rules for the daily morning run were simple: run at 100% or come to a complete stop. No pacing yourself, no running at a relaxed jog, etc. It was 100% or nothing. The rules of the run challenged even the more seasoned runners (who “knew” how to run) and were a complete nightmare for the rest of us. To make matters more difficult “assistants” were stationed throughout the mile-long run encouraging participants to stay at 100%. So, even though the rules were to run at a 100% or come to a complete stop, the stopping option was not really acceptable.
I’ve been thinking, too, about how we engage in our daily lives, at work or in our businesses. We are, at some level, always “jogging.” Even if we have nothing to do, or we are not really doing anything important, it seems to me we spend a lot of time pacing ourselves, and somewhat mindlessly at that. Furthermore, 100% (make that 110%) full tilt, you-know-what to the wall is still part of the success credo.
I wonder what it would be like, and how it would impact the quality of our work, if we were to adopt the 100% or nothing at all approach in our business lives. Here is what I imagine.
- More engagement with tasks that matter; less engagement with tasks that don’t
- Increased awareness about when we are just filling the time.
- A sense of ease and comfort when we realize we don’t have the energy to give it our all in the moment, and permission to step away until it is back again.
- More walks in the middle of the day or perhaps a good old power nap. (I believe the Europeans have it right when they exercise their right to take a good Siesta.)
- More creativity, increased output and better results.
- A stronger connection to ourSelves, and with others.
- Reduction in time spent reading and replying to emails that distract rather than enhance.
- An ever-increasing ability for people to fully ride their productivity wave, and stop when they are done, regardless of when that is.
What do you think of this approach, 100% or nothing? What would it feel like? What concerns would you have about what others would think or say? Do you already employ the 100% or nothing approach, or something similar? What has that done for you? I look forward to your comments.
1. Record your immediate thoughts about what it would be like to operate at 100% or come to a complete stop.
2. Join the discussion and post your comment.
3. Experiment a little bit. For the next 2-3 days, step away from your desk, take a walk, shut down your email program, call a friend to chat, take a short nap, or simply stop working when you notice you are “jogging.” Make note of how you feel about taking this action, and better yet, what impact it has.
4. Share this with someone you know who gripes about having much too much to do.