Get more done with PACE.

Get more done with PACE.


There’s a lesson I learned many years ago when I first started waitressing at a beautiful Rimini’s cafe on Manly Beach. I was in my voluptuous, party girl days. I thought my manager Steve was a bit of a dick, but little did I know then that the lesson he would teach me would see me through so many challenging life moments.

That lesson was – Pace.

The cafe was right along the beach strip and would frequently be packed. When I first started working there I didn’t understand the lesson of pace and worked at one speed regardless of whether I had 3 tables to serve or 30.

When we were busy he would snap at me and clap fast in my face and say “C’mon Kyles, Pick up the pace… Pick up the pace!”

Eventually I learned and went from a waitressing newbie, doing one thing at a time, to a waitressing pro. I could easily modulate my speed to the amount of work I had to do.

There were two things that helped me to do this:

  1. Actually walking much faster.
  2. Planning each trip to do multiple things at once.

Every single trip in and out of the kitchen was planned so I could execute the maximum number of jobs in any one run in and out. In one run, I might take an order on my notepad, clear a different table on the way in, drop the plates to be washed, enter the order into the kitchen, pick up a water bottle and tray of drinks for different tables, and the salt and pepper grinder and drop them off in order as I passed each table. I would glide around that room and pick up and drop off things with eyes in the back of my head. What might have taken me 5 trips in and out of the kitchen as a newbie doing one task at a time, I now did in one single trip.


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This strategy has served me well in so many situations. In a way it is multitasking. You do have to hold multiple tasks in your mind at once. The way I see it is micro “Now moment” planning, it works really well with physical tasks that you need to do one at a time, but can do in an order to be more productive with your time.

I imagine it as a series of snapshots of tasks lined up like they’re in an old slide projector. They flick through in order as I walk past each station. Do this, then this, then that, then that, on the way back, do this, then that, then that. Each one has my complete focus and attention while I am doing it. I am in the now, while being aware of what my next “now” move will be.

I find that I employ the same strategy when I’m in the evening cooking, feeding, bathing the kids. Chop the veggies, bake the veggies, run the bath, feed the baby, turn off the bath, undress the baby, bath the baby, get the food out of the oven etc.. Or when I set my mind to clean the entire house in an hour. Even when I’m running my day and doing my rare couple of hours of work sitting down at the computer. Computer stuff takes time, especially with video, so I often set something to export or upload while I’m doing other tasks, then can return to it after it’s done, while I’m focussed completely on the next task.

The key to practicing this and executing it well is the sense of limited time without pressure. There’s no anxiety, just a knowing that you’ve got lots to do and need to be organised in the way that you do it to get it all done, so you work fast. Don’t dawdle. Trust your instincts. Get it done. Move on.

I think this is what most productive busy people do naturally. When you’ve got something that needs to be done, give it to a busy person.

What I like most about picking up the pace and giving yourself a time limit for your tasks, is that if you get all your tasks done in less time, you can give yourself some time off to completely relax and drop the pace to read a magazine, meditate or just enjoy a nice cup of tea… Pace.  It’s key to success and time freedom.

Just so you know I wrote this post in 10 minutes, boiled the jug, uploaded and edited in 5, I gave myself a time limit and picked up the pace. Steve would be proud. Now I’m off to make my cup of tea.


Post script – Oh the Universe loves a laugh. I was so focussed on how quick I was getting the post done while Ollie was sleeping that I almost forgot to pick up Ruby from daycare. At 5.55pm I suddenly remembered, and have a 4 minute drive there (lucky it’s close). I whipped Ollie out of bed and sprinted to the car, strapped him in still in his sleeping bag and whizzed up to get Ruby. Got there with 2 minutes to spare. Pace. Oh yeah.

Comments (4)

  1. Powerful blog. Couldn’t agree more. I get so much more done when I’m busy. I feel a lot more productive. xx

  2. Great post Kyles. Something i need to get more practise doing.

  3. I definitely perform and more productive when I’m busy and have multiple tasks to complete. Once I stop I go into a sort of holiday mode and forget to do things. This week is particularly challenging with a sick child at home, I feel I have not completed half tasks I need to do.

  4. Love it – I hear where you are coming from. Very funny about Ruby though – glad you remembered her in time!!! X

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