Don’t Run a Marathon….Sprint!

I hate the whole building a business is like running a marathon not a sprint analogy. I say forget the marathon…sprint hard, sprint fast, rest, then sprint again and make this a daily practice.

Everyone is worried about setting these long goals and doing a marathon around them. Yes, the long goal is a marathon, but long goals take us out of our daily tasks to complete the work that needs to get done. We sit there and research, plan and never execute.

What do I have to do today to get shit done? How can I do this hard? How can I get this done in a short amount of time? How can I ship this today? That is where the sprint has to come in.

Most people are confused. Patience is the marathon, execution is a sprint. Getting up everyday, hustling hard and fast is sprinting. Sprinting gets us out of our comfort zone and gives us the opportunity to take risk because we go as fast as we can and the internal dialogue goes away.

So, how long should a sprint last? That depends on you. There are many examples of sprinting.

Google Ventures believes in sprints. Their 5-day design sprint is based on moving hard and fast to get products, ideas and designs out the door.

Also, Startup Weekends whole structure is based on sprinting. This is a 3-day sprint to develop new ideas into a business model, validate it with potential customers, and even begin to implement the idea if you can.

Sprints can last 24 hours to a week or a month. Most recently Bryan Harris of Videofruit did a 24 hour sprint to publish a book. No big planning or major goals were created. Bryan and his team wrote, recorded and published his book in 24 hours, his timeline was simple. Here is what worked for Bryan:

You can check out the details of Bryan’s sprint here.

In software development, a typical Scrum sprint, lasts 30 days and is determined by the Scrum Master. Once the team agrees on how many days a sprint should last, all future sprints should be the same.

Seth Godin’s Altmba is a month long sprint built around shipping 13 projects in 31 days. Winnie Kao the director of Altmba described the experience in her blog post as “We were running in the same direction and the momentum was infectious.”

Most sprinters train through interval workouts. In order to be great at sprinting you have to workout a daily sprint practice. The muscles you have to build are habit and consistency.

Since I work fulltime, I have limited hours and can only build my business from 8pm-2am. I started sprinting in February and simply timebox using the Pomodoro Technique to organize my time along with a simple Trello board. It has to be about consistency and moderation over intensity.

So, when you wake up tomorrow and the day after that I want you to think of sprints, not marathons. Be fully engaged for periods of time in whatever you’re doing, then give time to recuperate, because you have to rest your body to grow your muscles.

Do you have some examples of a sprint that you have done? Leave a comment below.