If, like me, you enjoy spending too much of your disposable income paying (very pleasant) relative strangers to push you to your limits in various exercise classes, then read on. A little late to the game, I know, but I recently discovered Orange Theory Fitness (OTF) and I'm already hooked. I think it's the combination of activities (running/rowing/weights) with the realtime data feed on the big screens showing how hard you're working that really sucks me in. I'm am, like many of you, super competitive, and being able to focus on increasing my output from last time is a very powerful motivator for me. And thank goodness for the moments of rest and recovery between sets.
Here's a picture of my performance data from a recent session. Of particular note is the heart rate oscillation. This oscillation of activity and recovery is what builds performance, endurance and growth over time.
Many of you will experience this type of powerful oscillation for growth during your workouts. But how many of you are experiencing it during an average working day? Very few of you. Yet the very same principle applies to acquiring increased resilience in the work environment. Your activity pattern during your workday should mirror my heart rate data above. Up and down. On and off. Activity and recovery. But if you were to draw your oscillation pattern for an average day I bet it's going to look something like this:
As a recent graduate of Johnson & Johnson's incredible Human Performance Institute I have learned that oscillating between intense periods of activity and meaningful periods of intentional recovery at work is the key to unlocking your fullest potential. You bounce back faster, make better decisions with a clearer mind, 'respond' rather than 'react' to unplanned events and become a more powerful team mate, manager and leader.
Yet almost none of you will be actively and intentionally planning any recovery into your workday. You'll be filling your calendar with meetings, calls, pitches, presentations, reviews and so on. But it's time to change that and become as focused on planning for recovery as you are on planning for completion of tasks.
As I have covered in an earlier blog, here's an easy tip to get you started from tomorrow. Change every hour long meeting you have scheduled in your calendar tomorrow to fifty minutes. Send a brief note to the relevant meeting attendees asking them to review all necessary information in advance so you can hit the ground running and get into decision making mode right from the outset.
Then close the meeting at fifty minutes and then OWN those ten minutes. Do not give them back or to anyone else! Those ten minutes are your intentional recovery time. To stand up and stretch. To have a moment of quiet to digest the day so far. To drink some water and have a snack. And to mentally prepare for what is coming next. And you're going to enjoy multiple of these recovery breaks throughout the day. And not only will there be no loss of productivity but I think you'll find you're having more effective meetings, making better decisions faster and enjoying more positive energy in the process.
Give it a try and, as usual, please keep me posted on what you find out.