Marginal Gains - Make The Difference

An idea brought to prominence by Sir David Brailsford, Team Sky and British Cycling. This attention to small details can have a significant impact on all aspects of sport, business and life generally. 

Here are a few ideas, from our experience, that can help you get started on creating those marginal gains:

Stop hitting snooze!

Habits are hard to break, but this is one that can make a huge difference. There are a few options here, firstly keep the alarm for your usual time and commit to getting up immediately. Then you can use your usual “snooze time” to do something such as preparing your lunch for work, practicing yoga or mindfulness or to enjoy breakfast with your family, before entering the daily rat race! Alternatively, set your alarm for the time you actually get up after snoozing, so instead of “snooze time” you are getting a significant amount of extra valuable sleep each day, adding up over the week. Or a combination of both, set a later alarm to get up – allowing you extra valuable sleep – then once your alarm goes off get up and go straight away to start the day.

Small tasks – big gains!

Set a small amount of time aside each day that you know you can commit to and work through several small tasks that need doing. I find starting the working day with these is best for me and starts the day in a productive way. By committing time for these small tasks, it will ensure you feel like you have achieved something each day, rather than seemingly merging one day into another without feeling as though you are getting things done. This can also remove those small niggles that build up through the week by ticking things off your list each day.

The afternoon slump!

We all feel it at some point in the week, somewhere usually around 3pm or not long after lunch. Consider ways to help avoid it (when you have identified what time yours slump hits!). You could go for a brief walk outside, book an ad-hoc call; this could be anything from a brief call to a client to see how business is going to a follow up on a lead from some time ago. You could schedule this time to complete your small tasks above or catch-up on technical reading, listen to a podcast or practice mindfulness. Often taking your mind away from routine tasks during this time and refocusing your mind with a different activity can help avoid the dreaded slump, whilst helping you to feel more productive and achieve more each day. 


Is your working environment – immediate and general – comfortable and conducive to productive working? Maybe you know you have better clarity of thought in total silence or your telephone manner is more friendly when you are standing. Is your working area setup for you or have you simply inherited what was there before without considering small changes that could help on a daily basis such as a new chair, slight tweaks to the height of desks, screens etc, a standing desk, additional storage for a cleaner workspace. All of these factors can impact your attitude, motivation and productivity. Take some time to focus on your workspace and see what works best for you, a tidy desk may equal a tidy mind, so help yourself and get comfortable.

There are lots of other marginal gains that you can find and implement during your work and life that will help you to feel better and be more productive. Do you have any small changes that have made a significant impact on you and/or your business,  if so please share them with us!