The Flat Battery Sprint

Have you ever been on your laptop under the pump with a tight deadline and you had forgotten to bring your power supply with you? You are desperately trying to finish what you are doing before the little green bar in the bottom right hand corner of your screen turns red then slowly disappears and your screen goes black?

Well that just happened to me, I was in the middle of some work that required a lot of concentration, the type of stuff that takes half an hour just to get your head around before you can even get started. Worst of all if you leave it half finished it takes just as long to get started again when you come back to it. I noticed my battery was going flat. I was immediately more focused and less distracted by the chattering of the other cafe patrons and the clink of coffee cups on saucers.

Have you noticed how this type of pressure focuses you solely on the task at hand? All of a sudden you are typing like crazy and the normal distractions around you disappear for a short time.

Sometimes this type of pressure is good, it reminded me of a blog I recently read on how to use this pressure to your advantage. Have you been worrying about a task you've been meaning to complete? maybe the blog you've been putting off writing or maybe your tax return that's due at the end of the month?

Well try this exercise called the "Flat Battery Sprint" and force yourself into a time boxed situation. It just takes a small amount of planning, a relatively remote location and however long your battery lasts.

  • Firstly find a remote location like a cafe or library and make sure you can get internet access
  • Set an achievable goal in the time it takes for your battery to drain.
  • Break the task down into about 20 min blocks and set checkpoints for what you will need to achieve in each block
  • Now flip your laptop lid open and get going

You might not get your task 100% complete but I bet you get a big chunk of it finished before your battery dies and you will have experienced the focus and urgency that is sometimes lacking when carrying out the more mundane but essential tasks required for running a business.

If you want to read more about it I've just tracked down the original blog post where the writer actually calls it the Dead Battery Sprint. Scott writes an awesome productivity blog, so well worth following.

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