Flashback to 2014.
My days all started the same: Up at 4:00 a.m., a cup of black coffee, and heading to the gym.
Then, in a caffeine infused blitzkrieg, the day was on. Clients from 5 am to 6 or 7 pm, with a few one-hour breaks.
These one-hour breaks were a godsend. Besides getting off my feet, they were long enough to do meaningful work but short enough to create a sense of urgency.
Bach Performance was a baby at the time, a spot for me to explore my brain and write about fitness to help my clients, friends, and family. But, despite a lack of time, I made big moves.
Fast forward to today: Bach Performance is my full-time job. Rather than five or six days and 50 clients, I hold a limited clientele with three to four days and 25-30 sessions per week.
My schedule is self-determined, and more or less, I do what I want every day.
But that also leaves me more time than I’m used too. There are no extraneous demands on my time, so common sense would say I would get exponentially more work done, right?
Logically that makes sense, but we live in an illogical world.
If everything worked as it seemed, we’d lose stubborn belly fat on the Twinkie diet….as long as calories were in check. By following progressive overload and adding 5 lbs on the bench press, we’d go from a Zero pound bench to 520 lb bench in two years.
That isn’t always the case.
Until six months ago, I had all the time in the world. I didn’t have as many client deadlines and let time slip through my fingers.
Instead of spending my time writing programs, I was geeking out to BroScience videos.
Or reading every Packers’ article on Bleacher report.
Or, #ing my face off on Instagram.
Then, the question hit me like a cold slap in the face: Why wasn’t I hitting my goals?
It wasn’t having too much time, it was a lack of urgency with the limited time I did have.
I’d fallen prey to Parkinsons Law. Coined by famous Brit Cyril Northcote Parkinson, Parkinson’s Law sits at the forefront of productivity hacking and is the focus on Parkinson’s book, Parkinsons Law: The Pursuit of Progress(1).
Parkinson’s Law: ‘Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”
Parkinson’s law means that if you give yourself six weeks to tackle a project that you can handle in one week, procrastination seeps in, the task get’s complex, and you’ll freak out until it’s done.
The same meaningless, productivity-zapping stress happens with fitness.
In particular, fat loss around the New Year.
Tell me if these proclamations sound familiar:
This year, I’m going to lose 20 pounds and look awesome in my swimsuit.
Reality: You can do this in two or three months.
This year, I’m going to workout consistently.
Reality: This year is a long time. Focus on working out consistently this week, then each of the following.
By assigning the right amount of time and focus to a goal, you’ll decrease stress and the complexity of said goal, increasing your chance of success.
I’ve seen Parkinson’s law crush the fitness goals of hundreds of people, all under the pretense that there’s always tomorrow.
There’s not. We’re guaranteed nothing and time in a finite resource.
It’s time to have a sense of urgency, working smarter and faster, rather than longer and harder. Here are the action steps you need to accomplish your fitness goals in less time.
Set Tight Deadlines
Deadline set by teachers, clients, or bosses have an immediate sense of urgency. Still, it’s a new ballgame when deadlines are self-imposed. We struggle to attach the same focus and intensity on self-imposed deadlines.
This is what cripples most people from the start—they aren’t aggressive enough on their gameplan.
Try This: Designate time to your goal:
Three months to lose 10 lbs. of body fat.
Then cut it in half.
Six weeks to lose 10 lbs. of body fat.
“Goals are often something to aim for, rather than always achieve.” Bruce Lee
An aggressive deadline forces aggressive action, which this is precisely what you need. Channel your competitive streak and apply it to fitness.
If you’re a gamer, pretend you’re on a time sensitive mission.
If you’re an athlete, pretend it’s six weeks until the season starts, and your roster spot and workout bonus (there’s a reason for these) depend on it.
By attaching a sense of urgency and competition to your goal you’re setting the table for high-quality action and rapid progress.
Define your M.I.T.’s for the Following Day:
Pick the 1-3 Most important tasks (M.I.T.’s) you will complete towards your goal.
You have six weeks to lose 10 lbs, so we’ll start there.
Number One: Track your food and hit your macros (Mike Vacanti has an epic post here). Diet is king for fat loss, after all.
Number Two: Perform your Fat Loss workout, such as Blended Training for Fat Loss.
Number Three: Walk 10,000 steps.
Of these three steps, hitting your diet is the most important task for losing ten pounds, followed by your workout and extra activity.
Base hits lead to runs the same as homers do, and over time, many more runs. Focus on consistent wins on MIT’s and you’ll achieve your longer-term fat loss goals.
Own the A.M.: Be proactive, not REACTIVE.
Willpower is highest in the morning and the best time to take care of your M.I.T.’s.
This is the time to be proactive and take massive action towards your goals, rather than react to the demands of others.
Personally, my writing is 200% better at 5:00 A.M. than 5:00 P.M., when I’ve answered emails and had meetings. Later in the day, I’m much more concerned with what I’m going to eat for dinner and Snapping pictures of Rocky on SnapChat (bachreric, btw ;).
If I don’t own the morning, my days aren’t productive.
In Fitness, the same principles apply. My 5:00-8:00 am clients have historically been my most consistent clients by a mile, and it’s due to more than caffeine.
They’re proactively working out before the chaos of the day gives them a reason to skip.
The same applies to your diet.
If you wait until the end of the day to track your macros, you’ll skip it or way overshoot your numbers.
I can’t stress this enough, but for 90% of people getting up and nailing your workout early is a game changer.
There’s a reason Mike Vacanti trains Gary Vaynerchuck at 6:00 A.M., or that Phil Knight crushes his workouts at 5:00 A.M., and Richard Branson all workout early in the day (3).
As the day goes on more important work crisis come up and give you an easy (albeit lame) excuse to skip your training.
Eliminate the issue and start training early in the morning. These tips here will help.
“It’s hip to focus on getting things done, but this can only happen when we remove static and distraction. “ – Tim Ferriss
In today’s fast-paced world, having internal focus is a rarity.
It’s sad, but true.
Rather than falling prey to internal A.D.D., take action and eliminate the noise.
To get anything meaningful accomplished discipline alone won’t cut it. Instead, take action to end distractions. To get work done, use websites like Self-Control and throw your phone in another room.
When you’re working out, leave your iPhone in your bag pick up a don’t skip more than two songs and leave your phone in your gym bag.
For fitness information, pick out two websites and eliminate the rest. Program hopping and yo-yo dieting are huge reason people never see results. Don’t even risk falling in love with the next big fad diet.
Most programs from good coaches work well, follow them to their completion and eliminate distractions.
We’re an ADD-ridden bunch and we’ll get lost for hours on LOLCatz if allowed. Eliminate distractions and focus on the essential.
Attach a Reward
All goals are reward driven.
There’s an emotional key behind every goal whether it’s more confidence, better health, finding love or being more attractive.
There are also external rewards. As psychologist B.F. Skinner puts it, positive reinforcement strengths a behavior by providing a reward for completing a task.
In school, this could have been a pizza party for turning all your homework in on time.
Or, getting A and a star sticker on each assignment.
“The way positive reinforcement is carried out is more important than the amount.“ BF Skinner
As external rewards apply to fitness, I won’t advocate pizza for reach workout, but you can attach external rewards.
Small rewards like a compliment from a coworker or social reinforcement on Facebook are important.
Bigger rewards, like winning cash in a transformation content, buying new clothes at the end of a diet, or going to the beach for a long weekend and kickin’ back a few cocktails in your new bikini, are also important.
Whatever your goal, understand what emotionally drives your decision. Then, apply extrinsic rewards that reinforce and motivate you to take massive action. With an aggressive timeline, social support and rewards push you to achieve more in less time.
Take Action and Lose Fat Faster
Parkinson’s law is more than a productivity theory for entrepreneurs, it’s a thought process that forces you to take positive action in all areas of life.
Set a tight deadline, focus on the essential, take action, and set-up rewards to make it happen.
Are you struggling to set goals, hit deadlines, and build your best body?
Sick of spinning your wheel and not seeing results despite your hard work?
Join Bach Performance Elite Online Training for the expert coaching, accountability, and motivation to build your best body. Only two spots left this month, apply here: Elite Online Coaching
Links and Helpful Resources:
- Parkinsons Law: Read the Full book here.
- Bruce Lee: My daily reading is Striking Thoughts. Be like water my friends.
- Seriously, check out this list of Successful people who workout early.
- Tim Ferriss: Four Hour WorkWeek
- We all need a basic understanding of Human Psychology. This article and this book are good places to start