Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Punchcard Method

When the subject of exercise comes up in conversation, I usually share my love for what I call the "punchcard method."

In the work environment, "punching the timecard" has become a synonym for doing little more than showing up. But I've found that approach to be helpful for staying in shape.

Here are my rules for myself: it doesn't matter how hard I exercise, how long I exercise, or what I do. The only rule is that I try to do *something* on a regular basis. Sometimes it's just a few pushups or a headstand or a ten-minute job.

This method has worked well for me for years. I wouldn't dare attribute all my luck at exercise to this method (I think in fitness as elsewhere people greatly underweight the importance of the cards they are dealt). But it's worked well enough that I ask myself if I can copy the success elsewhere.

Maybe the method is most appropriate for cases in which you have a plan, or at least a shred of a plan. Punching the card on a doomed startup idea probably won't go anywhere. On the other hand, punching the card on that basic idea or that area of passion may get somewhere eventually. Hmm...now it sounds like nothing more than a tale of persistance. Maybe it boils down to the division between planning and execution.