I maintain my sanity (just barely) by leaving my fortress of solitude each day during the work week and venturing forth to the gym located a block away. If I didn’t do this, I’d probably stop doing work altogether and just give in to the massive temptation to just lie on the couch and grow slowly larger and more rotund. The gym allows me to blow off steam, interact with others in the real world, and provides me with enough energy to get through even the longest of work days.
That’s not all I get from the experience, though. Dedicated gym-goers use some tried and tested methods to make their workouts more efficient and effective. As usual, what’s good for the goose is also good for the gander, and a lot of these same strategies can apply quite well to professional workflows, too. What is work, after all, besides a prolonged workout of your professional muscles?
It’s understood that after a set of one type of exercise, you’ll take a short break before doing another. But that’s time-consuming, and it’s almost always possible to do another kind of exercise that emphasizes different muscles in between sets in order to be more efficient with your workout. This also has the benefit of keeping your heart rate up, which will help your weight training provide some cardio advantages, too.
Applying the super-set principle to your web working routine will help you make the most out of your working hours, minimize downtime, and open up larger chunks of usable free time for you to really enjoy yourself. To do it, break up your work into smaller, more manageable chunks. Work out small units of tasks and plan ahead, interspersing different types of work together. Block tasks you dislike back-to-back with those you do enjoy in order to keep your motivation level high, and try to ensure that things that are placed next to each other are different enough that you won’t become bored by repetition.
Plan Your Pace
People who are very used to doing extended cardio workouts know what their limits are, and are very good at planning how to pace themselves to make it to their time or distance goal. Marathon runners are a perfect example of this kind of energy conservation. Likewise, if you have 30 minutes to do a weights session, you’ll probably do it differently than if you had a whole hour.
Work is the same. If you don’t take the time to accurately anticipate how long a project or project component will take to complete, you’ll be much more likely to burn yourself out early by working too hard and then becoming frustrated when it takes longer than you’d imagined. Get a better idea of how long things take by monitoring your experiences as you go and logging them, and then do comparisons with your past projects when you take on new ones so that you can then pace yourself accordingly.
Many workout addicts are also obsessive record-keepers. They track their progress with every visit to the gym, carrying around notebooks or clipboards for the purpose, or just using an iPhone app to log things. It helps you make sure you’re moving forward instead of back, and you won’t be doing the same work on the same muscles over again by accident.
Keeping a detailed record of the work you do will have the same effect with your online professional activity. It’ll help you make sure you don’t ever redo any work you’ve already done, and it’ll make sure you learn from your mistakes and grow and improve as a web worker over time.
Just like working out your body will help you live a longer, happier life, so too will working out your professional side allow you to enjoy a much more fulfilling and long-lasting working life.
What tips from the gym can you apply to your professional life?