Quarterly objectives form a normal part of corporate life. The problem is that as quarter after quarter goes by, the endless stream of quarterly objectives can take on the feel of a never-ending marathon. The result is dull exhaustion. But life was meant to be lived in rhythm. Just as our bodies need cycles of activity mixed with rest, so we need to build rhythm into our quarterly objectives. This is why we recommend quarterly ‘sprints.’

Let’s face it, the overwhelming majority of our quarterly objectives, slated for thirteen weeks, can actually be accomplished in ten or eleven weeks. Combine this with the need for rhythm, for down times to go alongside your go times, and you have the perfect recipe for quarterly sprints. Set your quarterly objectives to be accomplished in ten to eleven weeks, leaving a couple of weeks for downtime.

What do you do with those couple weeks of downtime? You might plan your vacations or short family trips during that time. Regardless of what you do, the critical piece is that it gives you time to think. Too often we set our quarterly objectives on a whim. We’ve barely finished the quarter, have been focused on getting across the finish line of our current objectives, and suddenly we’re being asked for our next objectives. There’s no time to breathe!

Taking a week to seriously assess our priorities, to take stock of where we’ve been and where we’re going, helps us make smarter goals that push the ball further, faster.

So when the next quarter rolls around, challenge yourself to sprint to your goal then take a breather. Anybody can go all out for a while, but it is rhythm that gives us the strength to perform over the long haul.