Finding your Ideal Pace

Ever know someone who works slower than you (and drives you crazy?) or faster than you (and drives you crazy?).  Do you look at these people and wonder if you're overworking or underworking?

Let me put your mind at ease – we all have our ideal work pace.  We just have to find it.

I myself like to keep up constant activity, punctuated by breaks, with a decently full plate.  I know other people who ONLY work in huge, long, multi-day bursts of insane effort.  I know others who like slow and steady.  Everyone's different.

If you want to be a success, in your hobbies or your career, you need to find your ideal pace.

This is not always easy because we have so many other pressures from work, family, friends, etc.  We get pushed to speed up OR slow down (often by the same group of people who clearly aren't comparing notes).

You have to find your own pace to work at.  Otherwise you'll be unhappy, from overworked to feeling like you're not doing enough.

To do this, I recommend a few things:

First, take some actual time to plan your goals and tasks and assess your performance.  A little time to look over what you want to do and have done will let you see how you're doing.

Second, if you aren't sure about time management, try a time diary. For a few weeks note down in whatever source you want how many hours you spend at general things – work, eating, watching TV, gaming, studying, etc.  After three or four weeks look it over and see if there are any given time sinks or unusual bursts of energy.  It'll tell you of how you're using – and wasting – time.

Third, I strongly recommend that until you find your pace, you lean to overdoing not underdoing.  It's easier to slow down and do less than it is to ramp up and do more.  Being overbooked is obvious and measurable – being underbooked is harder to assess.

Good luck finding your ideal pace.  It took me about a year to find mine (and to an extent it's always a continuing project), but it is worth it.

– Steven Savage