How Shoveling Snow Can Teach Us About Optimal Performance

Feb 06, 2010

First off, I hope everyone is well and not too buried under snow. I’m in Columbus, OH, and I feel like it snowed for about 36 hrs straight. I now know why people buy snow-blowers. Me, well I go with the good old-fashioned shovel, at least for now. As I was shoveling the 12 inches or so off my driveway, I realized the best way to go about it was to handle it like anything else you want to get done efficiently and most effectively. That is, to spend periods of time at work and periods of time in recovery. Just like working out and fatiguing your muscles, you need to take a break in order to go back to working at a high rate. That’s why we take breaks when we go to the gym and that’s why we need to take more breaks during the workday.

There’s a lot of snow on the ground, more than I’ve ever had to shovel. When I first started to shovel, I would keep going until I was tired, and then would go some more. Guess what started to get really tired (and started to hurt). That’s right, my back felt like it was on fire. All that lead to were some lazy shovels and not much production. So, I decided to engage in some “interval” work (funny thing was, it really was like a workout). I shoveled 20 scoops full and then took a one minute break. No more back hurting and a lot more productivity.

It took me about 30 minutes to shovel the first quarter of the driveway when I was just trying to push through it. Once I got to my senses and went to the intervals, I finished the remaining 75% in the same amount of time.

It’s funny how you learn things or reinforce things from the basic day to day activities.


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