The idea is to draw inspiration from the workaholic that was Teddy Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States. (Photo: Library of Congress for Unsplash)
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Q:- “My week is not enough to do everything I have to do. Is there a great trick to getting the most out of every hour of work? – Anthony
A: Dear Antoine, have you ever heard of Theodore Roosevelt, the workaholic who became the 26th President of the United States after pursuing careers as diverse as curator, writer, historian, soldier, and naturalist? Let me tell you a few words about it, which I am sure will interest you.
If you attended Harvard in the academic year 1876-1877, you might have noticed a haughty, high-energy freshman doubling his interests, each of whom seemed further away from his studies than the others. That student was Theodore Roosevelt, a skinny man with sideburns who seemed to spend most of his time boxing, wrestling, bodybuilding, dancing, poetry, or even nature (his true passion). Indicating that he was giving as much as he could to his hobbies, he published A Summer Birds of the Adirondacks the summer after his freshman year at Harvard; This enabled him to be considered by Bulletin of the Nuttall Club of Ornithology as “one of the most brilliant young naturalists in the United States”.
Did all these feelings seriously harm his studies? never. Admittedly, he was not the best student in his class, but in his freshman year he scored with honors in five of the seven subjects.
How could he achieve such a feat? The explanation is simple, and Cal Newport articulates it in his book Deep Work: Theodore Roosevelt devised a modus operandi that was as original as it was effective.
According to the author and professor of computer science at Georgetown University, the Harvard student planned out each of his days, with work occupying the 8:30 am to 4:30 pm time slot, time to do homework, and one hour of exercise. (Necessary, among other things, to get the brain to breathe!) and time for lunch. This was the place to work, work only. It was in no way stretchable, so he was free to pursue his hobbies as he pleased before 8:30 in the morning and after 4:30 in the evening.
good. Antoine, you must have noticed that doing all the required work between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm when studying at Harvard leaves, in fact, very little time to review your lessons and do the exercises required by the teachers. Ridiculously short time.
then? How was he? Well, Cal Newport points out, Teddy Roosevelt necessarily carried out his duties “with the intensity of lightning.” Then he did not give 110%, but 150%. And the best thing is that each of us is capable of that, provided that we are systematic, says the American professor.
Take on a task that requires you to perform to the best of your ability.
Accurately estimate the time you need to get it done, in normal times.
– Now set yourself a Delivery time Much shorter than your estimate. It is up to you whether the reduction is 10%, 20% or 30%, for example. The idea is to be convinced that “it can be done, even if it’s hot”.
– Start after programming a timer on your cell phone.
– and stop everything when the bell rings.
Did you succeed? Did you just fail? This is not the most important. In fact, Cal Newport recommends doing this high-intensity workout once a week to get your mind into max focus for a predetermined amount of time. Thus, you will gain efficiency in a way that is almost hallucinatory, in the sense that you will surprise yourself with what you are actually capable of doing.
Once you get a taste of it, you will start working hard on your own for short periods of time, and you won’t do this exercise once a week, but once every other day, then once a day, and so on. As a result, Antoine, you will finally be able to carry out all your weekly tasks, and even better, find some free time to breathe and, for example, to chat a lot with your colleagues.
One last point. Cal Newport highly recommends isolating yourself from all potential distractions when working at high intensity. Mobile is off, notifications are deleted, and there are no social media windows open. Otherwise, you risk being cut off, and you will no longer be able to return 150% of your money within the specified time limit.