Try Binge Working to Get More Done and More Time Off

By Eric Gilboord

clip_image002Running a small business can make it seem as if time is not on our side or in our control. As the small business market increases, we are experiencing a complete change in how and when we work.

If you’re like me, work is always on your mind. Free time is often spent worrying about work—thinking about how to get it all done—not doing it. We are always trying to balance the double-edged sword that’s freedom and responsibility.

To accomplish a lot in a prescribed period of time, I’ve found I need to be in the zone—that’s in the middle of the second or third draft of something I‘m writing, and typically late at night. Time has no meaning and hours go by in the flicker of a thought. No meetings, telephone calls, emails or other distractions, just my head down and my mind in that special place. It’s highly constructive and oddly pleasurable when you get that rush of adrenaline pumping through you as you finish a section, or release that next big AHA idea from your brain. You may be tired but it’s a good tired, knowing you’ve used your mind well and accomplished something of value. I can get in the work zone, but I’m afraid I don’t plan to be there often enough.

So I asked myself: Can I redesign my work life to be more constructive? Can I get large amounts of work done and still maintain a balance of work/time away from work?

There’s a new trend called ‘binge working,’ described as doing a huge amount of work in a condensed period of time (up to 48 hours) in return for an equal amount of time off. Is binge working like binge eating? While it’s an interesting analogy, for most small business owners, a hectic work pace acts like a drug as adrenaline is generated through a frenetic work schedule.

As humans, we can and do develop an addiction to that rush and, therefore, often create situations that force our lives into a place where we have no choice but to tackle piles of work in a no-time-to-talk frenzy of activity. If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. Just visit a 24-hour copy store in the middle of the night.

With ‘Smart Binge Working,’ you schedule large blocks of time to get the job done, while also scheduling breaks to care for your physical, mental and emotional needs. This means you’re able to function in full work mode without breaking the workflow since you’ve incorporated short time-outs to address issues such as big-picture project reflection, recharging batteries, being with family, eating and exercise. Plan also to surround yourself with comfortable furniture, a quiet atmosphere, and easily accessible healthy food and drinks. This is NOT the time for fat-laden fast food.

Binge working is a more efficient method of accomplishing a large task because you reduce or eliminate lengthy in-and-out transitions—it’s a good method for anyone who has the procrastination bug. You get into a strong, consistent mental state and stay there. You bring your best thinking forward and choose from all your ideas, not just a short list of what you’re able to muster under pressure. By smart binge working, you will likely enjoy the working process a lot more while reducing stress.

At the end of a session, take time off to recharge and enjoy all the wonderful things life and family have to offer. Remember, binge working deserves binge fun in return.

8 things to do to achieve a successful binge working session:

  1. Plan in advance for the session and make everyone aware of your schedule.

  2. Write down your objectives for the session and post it nearby.

  3. Make sure those around you understand that you are not to be disturbed.

  4. If other participants are to be included for all or part of the session, make sure they know the rules.

  5. Have enough healthy foods on site and at hand.

  6. Give yourself a generous amount of time to get in the zone and stay there, allowing that heightened sense to continue until it slows down or you run out of steam.

  7. Do not stop until you’ve reached your scheduled rest time.

  8. Have a computer, extra paper, recorders, pencils, pens, post-it notes, etc., available to capture all your thoughts.

And that's according to Eric.

What do you think? Is this something you can apply to your business to be more productive and achieve more work-life balance?

We're looking forward to hearing your thoughts and great stories!

Eric Gilboord is a specialist in making marketing easy for business owner/operators and any staff with sales or marketing responsibility. He demystifies marketing to help clients generate sales today and grow their businesses faster. Eric believes in blending traditional marketing with new media/social media. ROI is a must. Eric is a popular speaker, coach, columnist and author of many articles and books on moving a business up to the next level. The Expert Business Calls for Marketing Advice... That's Easy to Understand. For more information, to sign up for Eric’s marketing tips newsletter and to read his blog, please visit here. Follow Eric on Twitter (ericgilboord). Find Eric on LinkedIn. Check out Eric’s ‘Get It Done’ Treasure Map, Marketing Plan Workshop here.

By Adam

June 30, 2010