November 1, 2012 is being designed a “Blitz Day” in our side of the office. Sales, operations, support staff and managers participate in this one-day office event that embraces the Work Hard, Play Hard mindset. The goal is to dedicate a day to a high-level of productivity by being extremely focus. This isn’t to say people don’t work hard and aren’t productive on other days; Blitz Day however is about taking it up a notch (or three). The problem is daily workload, multiple tasks and various projects often weigh us down. Meetings, emails, and task jumping make focusing difficult. Most of us have a variety of responsibilities that require our attention making it challenging to get things accomplished. Then there’s the issue of multitasking that can slow and even halt productivity all together (just ask author Dave Crenshaw).
Blitz Day is the opposite of taking a vacation, but can have the same effect. Vacation time should be used to relax, take a break and enjoy yourself. The effect is to regenerate and refresh. Blitz Day is a lot of work, but with an undistracted laser-like focus that allows a stretch goal to get completed that may otherwise take weeks. The sense of accomplishment is refreshing and energizing. A specific goal is set beforehand to define exactly what will be achieved on this day.
- Example: A sales team might use the day exclusively for prospecting and making new decision maker presentations. This means no meetings or follow-up calls. It’s all about finding new prospective clients. The goal is quantifiable – something that can be measured.
- Example: A manager might use the day to finalize all quarterly reports and knock out the first draft of new strategy he or she has been contemplating. Normally a few hours would be set aside over several weeks for this task, but it can all get completed it a single day with the right concentration.
Besides the main goal I have three Blitz Day sub-goals:
- Instill Work Hard / Play Hard Attitude
- If everyone normally works at a fast speed, we’ll call it Mach 3 – then Blitz Day is about going Mach 5. Going Mach 5 for a day is exhilarating; doing it every day would burn people out.
- Build Team Unity through healthy competition
- Set a goal that challenges the status quo. Whether several people are competing to do better than each other or an individual is competing against their own personal best – this is a day to instill healthy competition.
- Break the Routines and Daily Grind
- We all get into routines. Routines bring familiarity and consistency to our work. Ditch it all – for a day! Cancel all meetings and minimize office emails. Use the out-of-office reply to let people know you’ll be in, but not checking email, just for a day. This alone makes Blitz Day worth it.
- Bring in drinks and snacks throughout the day and provide lunch. This keeps people onsite, no need to run to Starbucks or to the gas station to grab a Coke. It also shows appreciation for the added effort people are putting in.
Preparation is crucial to success. Goals need to be determined in advance, meetings rescheduled, and notification sent to other divisions. Everyone participating should be part of the process. Employees should establish the goal so they’re committed and invested in achieving it. Managers should clear the path to minimize distraction and ensure success.
It sounds like all work and no play, where does the play come in? I’ll admit a Blitz Day is a lot of work – that should be the expectation. To infuse an aspect of play designate a few times throughout the day for everyone to take a break. I’m a big fan or Guy Fieri so we take a page from his show and play a couple Minute-to-Win-it games. These games are easy to set-up, quick to do and a ton of fun. It gets people off their chair, away from the desk or out of their office and gets the blood circulating. A bit of fun and humor is appreciated (by most people) and is quite therapeutic. Give the winner of each game something simple like a $10 iTunes card. Spent a bit more and you’ll see how a $25 restaurant certificate does wonders to get the competitive juices flowing.
Make the work itself fun by rewarding results. Throughout the day pay attention to accomplishments and achievements. Then, during the designated breaks recognize individual successes. Make it feel more valuable with gift cards and prizes – It doesn’t take much. Recognition combined with a feeling of self accomplishment is a powerful motivator. Make it public and make it positive!
When it’s all said and done everyone should feel a huge sense of accomplishment. Yes, it will be exhausting, but worth it.
At the time I post this, our Blitz Day has less than 2 hours left. People are still cranking thanks to a strong will to win and determination to succeed – and possibly fueled on by a steady flow of Rockstar Energy drinks, pizza and chocolate. My goal was to write a blog post about my Blitz Day concept and strategy – goal accomplished! And to ensure the rest of the team has a successful Blitz Day as well – we’re looking good so far!