Running offers many benefits to the body, but did you know there are many parallels to being a better planner? With the right plan, you can win (even if you are the tortoise). If you know me, you know I’m a tortoise. I have run thirteen marathons. The last one took me 5 hours and 29 minutes. I climbed 2000 vertical feet. It was one of my slowest runs ever but I never felt so triumphant. Of course, I did it in the Holy Land (Jerusalem) and that added to the runners “high.” I was so slow, the organizers were breaking down the course. But I got the medal. And I didn’t hit the “wall.”
Sticking with a plan and being consistent will get each of us to the finish line. The parallels worth thinking about are pacing, goal setting and tools that can take us to our destination.
Whether on a run or in the middle of a project, pacing yourself will yield results. Just like when you plan a pace and set your sights on a mileage goal, you need a timeline and a plan. This should include specific touchpoints with others who are involved. This can be simple check-ins – or “scrums” as they are often called. This is a daily meeting where only three questions are asked and answered:
- What did you complete yesterday
- What are you planning to complete today
- What potential roadblocks are standing in your way.
We have used this system for new business pitches, research projects, websites and strategic proposals. It keeps everyone’s goals aligned.
You won’t get to your destination without a map. When planning for an organized run, you need to know what distance: 10k, half marathon or marathon? You have to create a plan that adds mileage each week so that you have time to build up to the miles you can comfortably run. When you set goals, you need to write them down and look at them daily. You also need to visualize yourself achieving the goals. You need to believe.
In my opinion, tools make getting to your goals more fun, visible and achievable. As a runner, I need three things (besides my Brooks shoes): My Apple Watch, a killer playlist and a running pouch with gels. The Apple Watch tells me how fast I’m going, how many miles I am running, and what might beats per minute look like. In short, it plays music, records distance and tells me when I’m sandbagging.
There are also tools for business that can have similar functions. And they make the business day a pleasure. Where would we be without smartphones that take verbal commands, keep our appointments, keep our notes, and play music for us when we need a break. My favorite tool is the iPad Pro. I type my notes in it and never lose them. I can also search them by name or subject. I can even take pictures of projects or whiteboard diagrams and place them within the notes. There are dozens of apps that can help with sales/relationship management, project management, human resources, marketing, and accounting. If you need to boost your work enthusiasm, a trip to the App store might be in order. Or if you want to run a marathon, there are apps for that, too.
Yes, there’s an app for that.