Is your output as high as it could be?

Find the right pace to optimise your output.

Find the right pace to optimise your output.

It seems that so many people claim to be focused on their output, but in reality more people seem to be interested in the input.  Many people feel the need to “look busy” (and of course spend countless minutes telling you how busy they are) or be seen to be “putting in the hours” and feel as though they are working really hard in order to justify their existence in the workplace and to get ahead.

You have probably found that some of the “busiest” people you know are actually the least productive.

If you are a manager of employees who feel this way then chances are your employees are not at their productive best and you might want to think about reframing your culture.

In actual fact, in order to improve your productivity it’s really important to decrease your effort levels.  That is, working has to feel easier.  I know this may sound counter-intuitive to many but hear me out…………Feeling like you are running the proverbial marathon every day is only going to lead to burnout in some way, shape or form – low productivity is unfortunately your best result from working this way.

Olympic swimmers don’t just get in the pool and start flapping – every aspect of their stroke aims to minimize any unnecessary use of energy.  They don’t get a gold medal for wasting energy kicking really hard, they get a gold medal for getting to the end of the pool first.

It’s the same principle in the workplace.  There is no point turning up to work and just flapping.  The harder you feel you are working – chances are the more your productivity is on the decline.  Bad news I know but the good news is there is an easier way to improve your output without feeling like you’re killing yourself.

When trying to decrease your effort levels at work there is no one-size-fits all approach.  One of the easiest ways to tailor your approach is to be familiar with you natural pace.

Knowing your natural pace and trying to work more closely towards it will decrease the amount of effort you are putting into your day.  The good news is that once you work with your natural pace instead of against it, your productivity will increase and your effort levels will decrease.

So what is natural pace?

Just as some athletes are built for sprinting and others are built for endurance distances, we all like to operate at different paces.  Some people naturally like to operate at a faster pace.  These are the people who if even if they are under no time pressure on a Sunday afternoon, are honking at the person in front of them as soon as the traffic lights go green.

Conversely the slower paced people are ones who at the same set of traffic lights think “relax – an extra three seconds really won’t make a huge difference to your life.”

Of course on a scale of 1 – 100 people can fall anywhere in terms of natural pace.

To calculate your natural pace, go to and click on “calculate your pace”.

Which pace is best?

It is important to realize that your natural pace is just perfect – whatever it is.   There is absolutely no right or wrong pace.  The trick becomes how do you use your pace to decrease your effort levels?

Working closer to your natural pace – faster paced people.

Let’s talk about the fast paced people first.  These are generally people who scored above 60 on the introductory pace indicator.

Chances are while you were growing up your parents and school teachers probably kept telling you to “focus”, concentrate” or “avoid all other possible distractions”.  Sound familiar?

Contrary to popular belief, if you fall into this category you actually will be more productive and less likely to suffer burnout if you regularly switch between tasks.  You are better to have a few tasks you are working on at a time and use each of these tasks as a distraction.

Now let’s not confuse this with multi-tasking.  You are still better to focus on one task at a time.  You will just generally find it easier to focus on one task for say 30 minutes and then switch focus to another task for another 30 minutes before jumping back to the first task again.

You will probably find that you prefer to access emails regularly rather than switching them off and only accessing them say twice a day.

And if you fall into this category you certainly have the capacity to be very detailed – don’t let your slower paced friends tell you otherwise.  The difference is you prefer to do this for shorter periods rather than longer periods.

Working closer to your natural pace – slower paced people.

If you scored below 40 on the indicator you are at the other extreme where you prefer to focus on one task for longer periods of time.  You generally prefer to see a task through to the end before starting the next task.

You were probably very popular with parents and school teachers as the ability to concentrate for longer periods was generally looked upon quite favorably.

In your case, it is certainly better to try to decrease your distractions outside the task you are working on as constant interruptions may leave you feeling a bit frazzled and will certainly increase your effort levels while having the opposite result on your productivity.

For example – contrary to your faster paced friends, you may find it better to switch off your email and only access it twice a day at a time that is convenient – say upon completion of a task.

No one solution for everyone

Being aware of your natural pace and working more closely to it is a key way to increasing your productivity and most importantly reducing your effort levels.  It is a different way of thinking to the old belief that everyone should decrease all possible distractions in order to maximize productivity.

If you are interested in more tips around how to work more closely to your natural pace and increasing your output while decreasing your input please go to

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