Since 2000, I’ve been answering the question, “What is a writing sprint, work sprint, or study hall for adults?” For many years, people have asked me how I get so much stuff done. There are many factors, but this post is about one of them: a writing sprint, work sprint, or study hall for adults. Since 1998, I’ve been participating in them. An old college friend introduced me to the practice, and I’ve been doing sprints and introducing others to the practice, too. I’ve written about them in the past.
Writing Sprint, Work Sprint, or Study Hall for Adults
Think back to study hall in school. Maybe not how it actually went most days, but how it should have gone. Each person shows up on time with their stack of work. They say hello, sit down, and get busy, making the best use of those 45 minutes to get their work done so they can play after school. Now think of the way someone at work might hurry to get things done before the end of their day or before going on a vacation. They focus, right? They don’t dawdle or chat; they just get the work done that has to be done so they can say sayonara.
Now add in some accountability. You have to turn in your homework or tell your boss you got the project done.
One final element: you are doing this on Zoom, and there might be others doing the same thing.
That’s the concept of writing sprints, work sprints, or study halls for adults.
Writing Sprint Membership Information
In keeping with our “dragons, castle, you are the hero, we’re just your guide” theme of Harshman Services, we call our writing sprint, work sprint, or study hall The Smithy. It’s a place where written pieces are crafted and work gets done.
The Smithy is a $15/mo membership we offer to anyone who fits the following characteristics:
- Is respectful and kind to others, including respecting others’ time
- Desires to be productive/effective and make good use of the time
- Is willing/eager to be held accountable
- Has some kind of work to do that safely allows them to take a short break every hour
- Has access to Zoom, a computer camera, and a microphone
How to Participate in the Sprints
1. Check The Smithy’s Writing/Work Sprints Google Calendar for available days and times. If you’re willing to host some sprints to increase the number of available slots, let Jennifer Harshman know. Maybe something can be worked out.
2. A few minutes before the slot you want, click the event on the Calendar, and when it opens, click the Zoom link and enter the passcode, which is 0820.
3. Enter the Zoom meeting at two minutes till the hour, so for a 9AM sprint, log on at 8:58.
4. Take your turn and states in one sentence their intention for the upcoming time slot (45 minutes or so). Make it specific. Not “I’ll do some work of some kind,” or “I think I might write something,” but “I’m going to write a blog post about three differences between X and Y.”
5. Turn off your mic and camera, and do the work. Go as deftly and diligently as you can.
6. When time’s up, turn your mic and camera back on.
7. Take your turn accounting for how you used that time. Rate your action on a scale of 1 to 10. It looks like this: “I give myself a seven out of ten because the plumber came and had questions for me, but I did all I could despite the distraction, and I still got half of my blog post written.” Or it looks like this: “I rate myself a ten out of ten because I stayed focused and did even more than I expected to.”
8. Gear up for another round or say goodbye for now. If you’re going another round, take a short break and move for a minute or two. Stretch, get a drink/snack, use the restroom, etc. Return to the meeting at two minutes till the hour . . .
If you’d like to get more work done, join us!