A constant in my life as a CEO is fielding questions about how I maintain a high level of productivity. What are my keys to success? How do I find time to accomplish a never-ending to-do list?
Every morning, I prioritize by writing the three things I must get done that day. I’m a planner, so I also keep outlines of what I what to accomplish each week, month, quarter and year. It’s an easy and effective way to make sure I’m staying on track.
Another one of my favorite activities for fueling productivity happens far outside the office. I am an avid runner and I try to run at least one half marathon each quarter.
I firmly believe that if you’re physically fit, you have a much better chance of being mentally fit. The two play well together. Running allows me to step away from the office, clear my head and think in different ways. When you’re flexing your brain day in and day out, focusing on business operations, it’s important to balance that by exercising other parts of your body. During a good run and with every mile I hit, my mind relaxes, and I become more and more recharged for the next day’s challenges.
I’ve solved some of my toughest problems while running due to the unusual clarity I find. Maybe this is because the body is working hard and the mind only has space to deal with a few things, so the most important seem to float to the top. I always end a run clear on what I need to do and when I need to do it.
What makes it even better is that my wife is a devoted runner as well. We always run together—evenings after work, weekends, race days and everything in between. Having a partner in crime on tough trails always motivates me, especially on the days when it feels like I just can’t push myself to go the extra mile. Running never fails to remind me how necessary it is to take those periodic breaks from to-do lists and de-stress. I also appreciate the built-in community running provides.
Aside from the mindfulness and physicality that comes from a good run at the end of the day, the act of running offers the same simple lesson again and again. In half marathons, as in business, you must keep putting one foot in front of the other to get to the finish line. Set your sights on the destination, but remember to focus on the journey along the way. Balance is key to hitting your stride and being as productive as possible.