Yesterday I completed an event I’m going to call the 12-Hour To Do Relay. From 6 am until 6 pm, I ran a lap of about a mile. After completing the lap, I had to spend the remainder of that hour working on my To Do list. This mostly involved checking off items in preparation for moving back to New Zealand.
It was a rainy day and the trails I was running became streams at times. I had to get used to the sensation of putting on wet socks and shoes every hour on the hour. By the end, I ran 14.5 miles and scratched 18 items off my to do list — well worth the small discomfort of putting on squishy shoes and soggy shorts.
This idea was inspired by a YouTube video I stumbled across. In it, Beau Miles completes a marathon and gets a whole lot done by following the same formula I outlined above for 24-hours. This was my original plan, but I backed down to the 12-hour version because the weather was not ideal and I figured I could maximize some of the benefits of the activity while minimizing the downside of being awake for 24-hours.
For me, this experiment proved to be a great way to get things done. It provided structure to the day by breaking up the work I needed to do into small 40-45 minute chunks of time. Getting outside and moving my body between these task periods kept me energized and engaged. It also allowed me an opportunity to pause and plan what task to do next. I was able to stay busy and engaged all day because I knew that at 6 pm, I would be done and then could rest and do what I wanted the rest of the evening.
So if you’ve got an overwhelming list of things to do, I recommend making up your own To Do Relay. Let it be whatever works for you. A walk around the block every hour on the hour for however long you can spare will give the same benefits as running a mile. Or 15 minutes of yoga every hour followed by tasks. 4, 6, 12, or 24-hours, it doesn’t matter. Just do what you can and you might be surprised by how much you get done and how much fun you have while doing it.