What do working out at a gym and running a business operation have in common? A few thing. We might look around and see some bad fashion choices. We might find ourselves surrounded by a few muscle-heads. But, the focus of this blog post is that in the gym and in the office, there are comparable techniques that will improve our productivity.
It all started because I was bored.
I had been working out regularly since I was in my early 20s and reached a point last November where both my brain and my body were bored with the routine and needed a jump-start to increase productivity. Yeah, the P90 infomercials provided one option, but I decided it was time to hire a personal trainer.
I started to observe some of the personal trainers at my gym and quickly saw what I did not want. This included bouncing, bubbly 20 year olds and trainers spending more time socializing and walking around than training, This also included trainers who seemed more concerned with their own body than their client’s.
On a vacation day during the holidays I attended a late morning class led by one of the local personal trainers. By the end of the class I had a feeling that this was a great match. We set up a test session, and my intuition was right. I asked her to challenge me and “kick my but” and she has done just that for the past three months.
As a result of her coaching, I have been able to significantly increase the pace, the effort and the weight I use in my workouts. I have pushed myself much harder than ever before. Here are some of my key learnings about driving productivity as a result of this experience.
1) Know What You Want Before You Get Started
Before I hired a trainer, I thought through which areas I wanted to focus on and what the desired outcomes were. I was then able to clearly articulate them to the trainer. This allowed her to design a specific program for me, which has yielded results.
Before trying to improve something, clearly define the areas in which you want to improve and the desired outcomes. Being specific allows you to design and implement highly targeted actions to achieve your outcomes.
2) Strategically Choose The Right Coach – The Right Expert
Working with the right boss or the right coach in critical to driving productivity. This means a coach whom you respect, has the right skills and experience, and one that you have chemistry with. If any of those pieces are missing, you will not reach your full potential.
3) Changing The How – Changes The What
After trying my “how” for years and reaching a plateau, I am now relying on the expert to design a new “how”, every time we work out together. I gave up control to gain more control and drive more productivity in the long run.
I specifically set up out personal training sessions from 6AM to 7AM on Tuesday mornings, because I wanted to shake up my routine. Yes, it is painful getting to the gym that early and, yes, I am not quite awake until about ten minutes into the routine BUT the rest of the session is very productive and I feel fabulous the rest of the day.
Changing how and when I work out has changed the output and I have gotten better results.
4) Ask For Help to Drive Up Accountability And Push Yourself Farther
When left to our own devices, it can be easy to give up before 5 more repetitions, or before we’ve truly solved the root cause of a problem. I’ve learned that if I try, I can use a 20 pound weight, instead of 10. If I push myself, I can do 50 squats instead of 20. And, with my coach there by my side, I am more accountable and more motivated.
All of the techniques I describe in this blog post are translatable to the office environment. They can be used to improve your own personal capacity or productivity AND to improve your team’s productivity and capacity. Unless you change “the how”, you will not change “the what” or the outcomes. And, by involving the right experts or the right coaches, we will all be more successful.