Sometimes I create 30 day challenges that really hinder other parts of my life. It is safe to say that my July 30 day challenge really put a damper on my work. Walking countless steps per day really takes its toll on productivity. So I decided to make it up to my employer by committing to being one of the first three people in the office and/or one of the last three people to leave every working day of August.

During my walking challenge last month, I usually filled my activity with podcasts like Joe Rogan Experience, This American Life and Tim Ferriss. Being exposed to that type of media, I was able to get acquainted with a lot of highly productive individuals (particularly on the Tim Ferriss podcasts). I became enamored with these productive folks. A resounding theme for a lot of them was that they put a load of hard work into whatever they did and the result was that they were really good and well respected in their industries. I remember thinking, “why not me? I can put in hard work too”.

There were about 70 people in our Marketing department at the time of this challenge. The early birds would usually roll in around 6:30 to 6:45 AM and then stragglers would stick around the office until 7ish. This would vary quite significantly by the day. To ensure that I was one of the first people in the office, I would have to roll in before 6:40 AM. As for staying late, there were days that I could leave as early as 6 and some days that I would have to stay later into the evening (nothing later than 8:30 PM).

There were a few flaws with this challenge. First, I probably should not have put the and/or clause in my original notes for this challenge because I definitely exploited that. I did however achieve at least one day a week where I would be one of the the first three in and one of the last three to leave. Additionally, I had a hard time keeping focus on work for the entire duration of my time in the office. I found myself slacking off more often or focusing on personal and freelance work in the less busy hours. I would also justify a long lunch occasionally.

The benefits that I did experience were that I was able to crank out a lot of work (even with the few hours of slacking per week). For the first time in a long time, I actually felt caught up with my job. I also discovered that those people in the podcasts were successful because for years they did what I did but more consistently and efficiently.

I am glad I did this challenge. If I were to redo it, I would be much more focused and would not allow outside distractions.