Doping In Professional Cycling? No Kidding. What Lawyers Can Learn From Lance.

“I never saw any doping practice from Lance Armstrong,” claims Italian doctor, reports Cycling News last month.

Lance Armstrong was stripped of all seven Tour de France titles after a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency investigation found him guilty of doping. The USADA has also banned Dr. Michele Ferrari from the competition for life.

Yet Ferrari told Al Jazeera in a television interview in December 2012, “I can say I never saw or heard something about that. He never asked me for information about doping. There are six riders that accused me but these riders, I didn’t have any relationship or any consulting with these guys.”

Give me a break, many are thinking about these allegations.

And, actually, that’s exactly what you should be doing.

We hear information reported everyday that is hardly news or newsworthy. For example, doping in professional sports? No surprise there.

Or, employees should take more breaks at work? The adult attention span is just 14-15 minutes, a fact that American television has been exploiting for decades. Again, this just seems like common sense.

And yet, people still insist on holding hour-long meetings, multiple hour conference calls, and other long, excruciating, non-productive workplace events.

Dr. James Levine, Endocrinology, Mayo Clinic, explains why people should take more breaks at work to with David Gillen, Deputy Business Editor at the New York Times.

“It’s like you are a beautiful Ferrari idling away. The more you idle, the more you rot,” Dr. Levine says of the car and our health.

“The body isn’t made to be sitting around hours and hours on end.”

Lance Armstrong and Dr. Ferrari would certainly agree. The human body is healthiest when it’s active.

“Blood sugar levels start to creep up, blood fat levels start to creep up. Even the receptors in the leg muscles are starting to change in short periods of time,” continues Dr. Levine.

“If you break that up in short bursts of activity, like the body is meant to do, you can reverse that.”

Small bursts of energy can make all the difference in a big bike race or a regular workday.

So, how can legal professionals become gold medalists of the office place?

First, keep meetings less than 15 minutes.

Circulate an agenda with no more than three talking points. Keep each talking point to five minutes or less. Focus on the main ideas and don’t dally on circular arguments.

If the meeting runs long, you have either too many participants (too many conflicting opinions becomes counter-productive) or you have too many discussion topics to address in a single meeting.

Once opinions are heard, summarize the conversation and dismiss the group. If you must reconvene, do so after every meeting participant has had time alone to ruminate on the talking points.

Second, when you realize that your mind is starting to wander, take a break.

When the brain is shutting down, so is your productivity. Take a walk around the office or the building. Get a coffee or tea. Switch gears and make that phone call you’ve been putting off.

Sometimes refocusing on work means digressing on personal errands for a bit.

Third, don’t force it.

Just because employees are generally in need of more breaks during the workday, it doesn’t mean you should take advantage of the idea. Each individual must listen to his or her body, which will have diverse needs.

But, whether it’s a long gym break during lunch, 2 minutes spent walking around the office every hour, or just switching from standing on the phone to sitting at your desk, be active.

Take a break. And when others ask for one, as a manger, relent. 

Legal work may not be as physically grueling as the Tour de France, but some days, mentally, it may feel like it.

-WB

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