Culture & Competency

WWPYCBW: Productivity and Effectiveness (August 13, 2008)

Contents at a Glance
– Run
– Lack of Clarity
– Quick Links

A recent study found that runners are at less risk of heart disease and a litany of other things too.

The team surveyed 284 members of a nationwide running club and 156 similar, healthy people as controls. They all came from the university’s faculty and staff and had similar social and economic backgrounds, and all were 50 or older.

Starting in 1984, each volunteer filled out an annual survey on exercise frequency, weight and disability for eight activities – rising, dressing and grooming, hygiene, eating, walking, reach, hand grip and routine physical activities.

Most of the volunteers did some exercise, but runners exercised as much as 200 minutes a week, compared to 20 minutes for the non-runners.

At the beginning, the runners were leaner and less likely to smoke compared with the controls. And they exercised more over the whole study period in general.

“Over time, all groups decreased running activity, but the runners groups continued to accumulate more minutes per week of vigorous activity of all kinds,” the researchers wrote.

I haven’t been for a run since the end of June, and I am missing it. Soon … really soon … I’ll be back to it. And you?

Lack of Clarity
Lack of clarity is a much bigger problem for most people than a lack of time.

By clarifying what needs to be done, you’re also clarifying what doesn’t need to be done. By clarifying whether or not an action needs to be done by or at a certain time, you don’t walk around with the neurotic sense that everything needs to be done now. You don’t assign arbitrary times and dates to actions that don’t actually have time dependencies. Things that are genuinely time dependent are calendar entries, not action listings. Since a calendar used in this way is uncluttered with things that could be done at other times with no change in consequences, the few things that remain on the calendar that are time dependent get the full attention they require. The best practice is to review your calendar first, to prevent external commitments from falling through the cracks, then use the whitespace to work from your action lists.

This applies at a deeper level too … and not just on projects and actions, but on programmes of work and the really big picture. What the main strategic things that you should be working on … and are you doing it? If not, are you moving towards it? A little?

Quick Links
– Maybe “life balance” is the wrong way of thinking about it. Perhaps we should be looking at seasons of life instead. “Some of us manage to get up each morning at 4:00AM, run, meditate, work for 8 hours, and then come home for dinner with friends and family. Still, others wake up, work for 18 hours straight, and then spend a few hours with a spouse and children. So while some of us manage to integrate multiple facets of living during each and every day, others tend to do their living in seasons.

Categories: Culture & Competency