The Sprinter Work Style

During a meeting with an entrepreneur, the topic of unique work styles came up. He has a long track record of success, so I was interested in hearing about his approach. He almost burned out early in his entrepreneurial journey and realized that he’s a sprinter, not an endurance entrepreneur.

He learned that he isn’t wired to run hard 24/7/365. Instead, he’s more effective when he goes all out for a while and then recovers before repeating the cycle. He’ll work intensely for a few months and then take two or three weeks off to rest and recover. Recharging and recovering are key to how he operates best. He comes back refreshed, energized, and full of new ideas.

He went on to share that the key to this working style is his productivity when he’s in work mode. He works intensely—so much so that he’s able to get more work done during his sprint than most people would accomplish during his sprint and recovery period. He essentially gets the same or slightly more work done in a year, even with his breaks, than people who don’t take these kinds of breaks do.

He isn’t the first person to share this type of work style with me. I know a successful angel investor who focused intensely on investing for three or four months and then took a month or two off to recover and travel. He could do this because he was investing his own capital, so he could deploy it at a pace that suited him. He too works intensely when he’s in work mode but needs time off to recover.

Sprinting as a way of working isn’t available to everyone, but for those who are intense but not wired for endurance, it’s a work style to consider.