Micro-Sprinting Your Way To Success

When I was younger and did not yet have a family, it was a lot easier to grind my way through work in order to ensure success.

This, of course, meant putting in near countless hours of effort towards something in order to make sure it was as close to perfect as possible. I didn’t realize it at the time, but those hours that I was able to invest were a luxury (and also a curse).

I can look back all the way to my undergraduate years at Wentworth, where I studied electronics engineering, and wonder how did I even get through that? Like any engineering program, the curriculum I was given was intensely demanding in math and physics in a way that weeds out people very quickly who aren’t dedicated to completing it. I had the passion, the focus, dedication, but more importantly…the time to put towards understanding these concepts and achieving good grades. With maybe 20 hours a week of class/lab time, I was easily putting in another 30-40 hours a week in order to complete homework, lab reports, participate in study groups, design projects, research, networking to lay the foundation for my career, and the list goes on.

Ultimately, I put in the 50-60 hours a week all semester long, for 8 semesters over 4 years, and received my Bachelor’s Degree. Then I did it all over again to get my Master’s Degree. There’s even a picture of me taking a final exam remotely for my Master’s program on my laptop at the hospital the day my son was born. It was shortly thereafter when I looked at that picture I suddenly realized that time was no longer a resource I had in excess supply. In fact, time became the most valuable resource on the planet to me.

As my son has grown and time has become even more precious to me, I have developed a system that has allowed me to be the most efficient version of myself and conquer things much larger and more complex than earning an engineering degree. The best part, is that I have found a way to do this all while utilizing smaller windows of time to work. I call these small windows of time “micro-sprints”. I don’t know if anyone else uses this type of approach, as I came up with it on my own. Of course it is always possible that someone before me has done this, but it is a strategy that I have found works absolute wonders in terms of being productive on a daily basis when kids, family and other responsibilities seem to chew up a significant portion of free time.

I define a micro-sprint as a short span of time that is set to be a period of uninterrupted, hyper-focused productivity with a defined start and end time. This time frame is different for every person, but I do feel that it should not be any less than 10 minutes or any more than 20 minutes. The intent is to identify the exact amount of time between 10 and 20 minutes where you can tunnel vision towards one particular task at a 100% level of focus in order to make significant progress on it. I have found a short burst of time to be incredibly successful at promoting this level of effort for 5 major reasons:

  1. Everyone can carve out 10-20 minutes of time each day
  2. Knowing you only have 20 minutes to work will naturally promote a sense of urgency
  3. Working in small windows of time provides a feeling that “work is almost done”, which feels rewarding
  4. Focusing intently to the point where something gets completed or serious progress is made provides a sense of accomplishment, which will stimulate the drive to keep pushing forward at that time and beyond
  5. After working this model for a little while, it is very easy to start scheduling in micro-sprints periodically throughout the week which WILL improve your productivity throughput

So what is the ideal duration for a micro-sprint?

This is something you (AND ONLY YOU) can determine. I have provided a worksheet to help with this process. This worksheet is the same formula that I used to determine my ideal micro-sprint time (13 minutes in case you were wondering), which I still use 7-10 times a week on average. I tried a variety of durations and eventually settled on 13 minutes. When I sprint for 13 minutes, I am more productive then I am at 14, 15, 16, all the way to 20 minutes! Why? Well, I did a lot of testing and analysis on this, and here’s my conclusion:

The way my brain is wired is such that when I set a 13 minute timer and focus intently on a task, I push at 1000% for that entire 13 minutes. When I set that timer for 14 minutes, I subconsciously relax my efforts because I feel like I have more buffer room on the back end of my work window. Even though it is only an additional 60 seconds, I can’t help but feel like I have a huge excess span of time, and as a result, I just work at a pace that doesn’t accomplish as much. Alternatively, when I reduce the timer to 12 minutes, I have found that I subconsciously feel stressed because I constantly feel like I’m behind. Again, even though it’s only 60 seconds, a switch is flipped very deep down that tells me I’m running out of time faster than I’m comfortable with and it thwarts my progress.

I wanted to believe that some of this is dialed in by force of habit. You know, like force yourself to do something for 30 days and it becomes engrained in you habitually. Well, I tested this as well. Last year I spent 30 days following my same weekly regimen of 7-10 micro-sprints per week, except for this exercise I used a 15 minute duration instead of a 13 minute duration. The result? I sent fewer emails, wrote fewer words in written content, produced less overall content in strategy architecture on one of my projects, and overall didn’t feel good about my progress. I thought this could be coincidence, but then I went back to 13 minute sprints and WHOA, the productivity went up and I felt more accomplished because…well…I accomplished more!

Whether you are tied up with a job, kids, other projects, or are just looking for a way to incorporate something new and different in order to improve results, introducing micro-sprints into your schedule will undoubtedly help. Give this tactic an honest attempt and you will be rewarded with productivity.

Get your free 5-step guide to determining your micro-sprint duration and crushing your goals around YOUR busy schedule – HERE

What Is Fit Successful Dad Anyway?

What is FSD?

The name of this brand and podcast was created to convey an image of the goals I personally have and wish to pass on to my son: to be fit (mentally and physically), to be successful (in business), and to be the best dad possible (the word “successful” carries over to this part of the name as well).

Allow me to explain in more detail…

FIT: It is my personal belief that continued success in anything is only really achieved and sustained with a strong foundation behind it. I consider this foundation the fitness level of someone’s mind and body, and the unity of the two. I often wondered what is the best tactical way to grow and strengthen my mind and body, and after much trial and error I eventually found a way that worked for me. Through all of this trial and error I also found that there are many strategies that successful people use to maintain mental fitness as well as physical fitness. Which way is the best way? The way that works for the person performing it. However, above all else, the one thing I have found to be true for all of ALL those people that I have researched, interviewed and casually spoken to is that there is an emphasis put on the importance of keeping their health levels in check and staying as fit as possible.

SUCCESSFUL: People interpret the word “successful” in many different ways. I consider success to be achieved when someone sets out to accomplish something that is not altogether simple or easy, then treks down a path that is not necessarily clear in direction, but ultimately creates a way to achieve that objective. It is my opinion that success does not have to come in the form of financial wealth, possessions, or more credentials to hang on the wall. These things are nice, and can be signs of success, but I find that true success can be measured in many other ways, such as:

a) How many stranger’s lives have been positively and immediately impacted by your actions?
b) Is there anyone who is living a better life as a result of having spent some time around you?
c) Have you changed the world in some way that will improve the lives of others at some point down the road?

You see, like many other people before me, I believe that if you truly want to make the world better and create something to improve the lives of others, you will be rewarded. This does not mean that you can pretend to have this mindset or create it falsely, it has to be real and genuine. Consumers and onlookers will see through someone’s fake generosity. If (and when) you genuinely put other people first, and the majority of your energy goes towards that aspect of your business, you will immediately notice the positive side effects and subsequent rewards that come with it.

What is the fastest way to get yourself to having this mindset of “giving” as opposed to “getting”? The method that worked for me was having access to a mentor and being part of a mastermind.

I paid money to gain entry to a mastermind that has re-created my thinking structure to a point where I legitimately am a different person than before I started. I can barely remember how I was wired before entering that mastermind. The reason is because I have surrounded myself with people that are driven, and focused on being successful. Having this type of environment around me day in and day out has caused me to think this way, and only this way. The result of now thinking at this higher level is that I have created 3 businesses, launched a podcast, have a social media presence, sell physical products, and have begun crafting an audience that is interested in the unique content that I produce.

DAD: The number one thing in my life that keeps me driving forward in everything that I do is my son, Hunter. Him (and my wife) are the filters through which I make nearly all of my decisions. Entrepreneurs and business owners often talk about finding your “why” in life regarding creating something new and launching a new business or product. Well, my family is my “why”. I am fascinated with the techniques and methods that people use to raise their children, and I have always wondered how entrepreneurs accomplish this task while also starting and running successful businesses.

FSD was really created for 2 reasons:

1) To find a way to tap into the minds of successful entrepreneurial parents and dissect their practices in order to understand how they achieve the results that they are getting in both business and parenting. We all know the difference between a ‘house’ and a ‘home’. I think the same can be said about a ‘parent’ and a ‘mom’ or ‘dad’. A parent will keep their child alive, get them to school, give them the necessities in life, and put some effort into hard-coding societal rules into them. A ‘mom’ or ‘dad’ will be there day in and day out, teaching them the things they won’t learn in school, showing them the world, giving them experiences, and preparing them for life. Successful entrepreneurs often raise their kids this way, while running their own businesses, and FSD was created to explore how they do this.

2) To create a community of parents who have an entrepreneurial spirit. I believe that creating this environment for people will produce a mastermind-like group where people can learn, grow, develop and advance their state of “normal” to a level where they are thinking and taking action like the entrepreneur and creator that they want to be. No one gets to the top without the help of others, and with a strong community of like-minded people, we can help each other achieve the things we are passionate about.

How Life Got Busy and I Got Fit

My name is Gordon. I want to tell you a story of how I went from an unhealthy, unhappy, and slow-moving 245 LB guy in my 20’s to a fit, energetic, productive and HAPPY 175 LB guy in my 30’s.

A quick backstory on me:

I was accepted into Wentworth Institute of Technology for my undergraduate degree at age 19 after 1 year at a community college. I was already overweight and unhappy with myself, however, I was very focused on academics so that kept me distracted from focusing on my poor health. I started my engineering path in August of 2004 at 225 LBs (by the way, I am just a hair under 6 ft tall). I graduated in August of 2008 at a svelte 245 LBs. My “freshman 15” was more like a “freshman 5, sophomore 5, junior 5, and senior 5” – I just kept putting on weight every year. I was doing less, and weighing more with each passing day. By the time I graduated I was wearing 40” pants, XL or XXL shirts, and MAN was I uncomfortable.

I graduated and shortly thereafter got married to my long-time girlfriend. That’s when my first realization came to light. On our honeymoon, these goofball pictures were taken of me in Maui.

     

WOW! Yup, that was me at 245 LBs. There’s a little muscle there, but my body fat percent was crazy high! Something like 22%-25% depending on which measurement method you believe.

After seeing these pictures I was APPALLED at how much I let myself go at such a young age. I began working out harder, and eating less – a LOT less. I was doing everything I could think of: running, biking, lifting weights, dabbling with powerlifting, you name it. I really had no organization to my exercises, I just made sure to do something every day that made me sweat. With this method I was very successful at losing weight, including all of my muscle mass. After 6 months I was down to 165 LBs with almost no muscle. To my surprise, I was just as unhappy at 165 LBs as I was at 245 LBs. I went too far in the opposite direction, and being that skinny made me just as uncomfortable in my own skin. I needed to find the state where I would finally feel healthy and happy.

It wasn’t until 2012, a year after my son was born did I start to take things serious again. I dabbled here and there in diets and exercise routines, juggling them around my life as a working parent and husband. And just like most people, i wasn’t as strict as I needed to be, nor did I yield the results that I really wanted. In April of 2015 I accepted a challenge from a coworker for $100 to carve out 6-pack abs by July of that year. I’ve never worked so hard at something so physically demanding, but in those 3 months I did what I set out to do, and built myself a 6-pack and beat my coworker for $100.

Earning this for myself continued to push me and I eventually kicked it up another notch around June 2016. That’s when things really started to click and I got into a real groove working toward my ultimate goal of building muscle, cutting fat, and getting into the best shape of my life. Here we are now at the end of 2016 and I am feeling as dialed-in as ever before. As of this post I am 184 LBs and a approximately 16% body fat.

My objective by Summer of 2017 is to be 11% body fat and weigh no less than 180 LBs. This wouldn’t be very hard except I have a full time job, and a beautiful wife that needs my attention, and a 5 year old that plays hockey on 3 different teams, and a social life, and a house that needs maintaining, and and and, blah blah blah. Like most people, especially you working dads out there, I am very busy, but I will make this work. Not only that, I am going to walk through it and share all the details and progress on this blog with videos, pictures and all the additional information to help anyone who might be reading this.

I have 3 core beliefs in life regarding personal development and fulfillment:

1) Success is fostered by strengthening the health of the body and mind

2) ANYONE can achieve this, even you hard working dads out there (I’m proof)

3) By taking action to move forward, you WILL improve your life – confidence, drive, productivity, and the will to push to finish things you start are all side effects of achieving a better, stronger version of yourself, mentally and physically

Stay tuned for a new video series that will walk you through my next wave of fitness objectives, and hopefully motivate or inspire you to work toward something to better your life and move in the direction of your goals.

Gordon