Shifting into Surge Mode
I agree entirely with the following section from Time Tactics of Very Successful People:
High achievers from many different fields speak of being able to regulate their intensity — of being able to phase in and out of an intense state. Some people call this intense state the “surge mode.”
Using the surge mode is a bit like using a passing gear in a car. Normally, when you’re driving, you don’t give a lot of conscious thought to putting your foot on the accelerator or on the brake. But sometimes you require an extra burst of power to get out of one lane and into another Then you need extra power, and you floor it. That’s what surge mode is.
There are may illustrations of high achievers using the surge mode. Mozart preferred to write music for an hour or so every morning when he got up. But when a piece was demanded, he would work day and night without sleep, sometimes seemingly mesmerized by the task.
Isaac Newton made three of his greatest discoveries during two years of virtually uninterrupted thought, study, and experimentation. Mark Twain wrote six of his best books — The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Rough It, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Life on the Mississippi, and The Prince and the Pauper – during only two summers. He would write an entire day at a time, day after day. His daughter, Claire, remembers that he would come out in a white linen suit, with a pile of pads of paper under his arm. He would joke with his family and then head off toward the study. There he would spend the entire day, sometimes eating only one meal.
The surge mode is especially important among creative people, such as scientists, writers musicians, and designers. They will gather all the parts of the project together — the notes, the rough ideas, the books the research, the sketches — and spread it all before them on a desk or table. Then they dive in and don’t stop until a major part or sometimes all of the project is done.
It is really much more efficient to do huge chunks of work at a time than it is to start and stop a hundred times. The quality of the finished product is better too because it is more cohesive and has fewer seems.
This is spot on, in my view. I have found that shifting into a period of surge mode has been critical to every large endeavor I’ve sought to accomplish. I recognize that this concept may not be for everyone. But if you are among those who incline to this approach when you have high-impact, large, and important initiatives, you have a very powerful tool at your disposal. Use it.