Cleve Gibbon

content management, content modelling, digital ecosystems, technology evangelist.

On Demand Vs On Schedule

ondemandWe want everything on demand.  From content to food.  But we are programmed to do things on schedule.  This year I’m running a number of mini life experiments to see if I can make long term changes to things that have been bugging me for, well, a long time.  Here’s the first, with a couple of lessons learnt, moving from an on-schedule to an on-demand mindset.

The Food Experiment

The Problem. For the last 20 years my weight has flipped-flopped with the seasons.  Autumn/Winter I pack it on.  Spring/Summer it drops off.  Why? Because I exercise more so that I can eat what I like. Sticky toffee pudding? No problem, I ran today.  Unfortunately I prefer to exercise outdoors, so I only lose weight when its warm.  As I’ve got older, and my metabolism grinds to a halt, exercise alone is not cutting it.  So, year on year I’ve gradually putting on weight. You draw the graph and do the math.  It’s trending upwards. It doesn’t look good.  Time for a change.

The Experiment. In January 2013 I was 90kg and decided to try the 5:2 diet.  Eat normally for 5 days and fast for 2 days.  The two days don’t have to be consecutive. You don’t have to go nil by mouth on a fast day.  Just limit your calorie intake to 500 calories.

The Result. Five weeks later and I’m back at my university weight of 83kg. I’m back into my Shotokan Karate Gi. Looking pretty.

The Lessons.  Weight loss was the support act, not the headline.

  • Lesson 1: Genuinely, I found out that I was afraid of being hungry.  As a kid I have been programmed to prevent myself from getting hungry.  To eat breakfast before leaving home, grab lunch at midday, feast with the family in the evening, and snack whenever.   Don’t get hungry.  My eating schedule was baked into me.  So the first few fast days were a real nightmare, as I was trying to break the schedule and eat on demand.
  • Lesson 2: Now, five weeks later, I eat when hunger.  So now when I wake up, I can just decide, yep, it’s a fast day and it’s not a big deal.  Also, on non fast days, my eyes don’t seek and destroy the things they used to crave.  My programming has changed. I’ve got a better sense of when I’m genuinely hunger versus when I think I should be hungry.  I’ve broken out of the schedule.  So the very notion of it being 12-2pm, so therefore it’s lunchtime, and I must be hungry, no longer makes sense to me.  So I don’t do it.  Sometimes I do fall back into the lunchtime routine, because I like to hang out with my work colleagues at lunch time.  But when I do, I choose to eat light.

The On Demand Mindset

This is not me advocating the 5:2 diet.  I not asking you to go on diet, I’m not qualified to do that.  This was an interesting experiment from which I learnt many interesting lessons that I’m looking to apply elsewhere.  For example, I’ve started applying the 5:2 approach to my work life but with a twist.  I can’t work Mon-Fri and take the weekend off.  Never have. That doesn’t work for me because I’m a part owner in my business and I find it hard to completely switch off for 48 hours every week.  So instead I fast.  Short days of 1-2 hours at the weekend and take another fast day during the work week.  Now I can’t say I work less yet on non-fast work days, but I am definitely more productive on them.  I’ll keep you posted on that one.

And the merits of on-demand go further.  It’s why Lean IT product teams favour Kanban (demand) over Scrum(schedule).  It’s why adaptive content (demand) better serves responsive web design than static content (schedule).  It’s how we consume digital content.  On demand.  On our terms.  Now this is not to say that all schedules are a nonsense.  Clearly they’re not.  But we shouldn’t be a slave to them.  Instead, let’s keep our eyes open to on demand scenarios and break out of our schedules where it make sense.

How about you?  Ever thought to change the way you’re programmed? To mix things up, just a little 🙂

Category: productivity, experiment


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About Cleve Gibbon

I'm a technologist passionate about enabling consumers, employees, and clients do more with less, whilst having fun at the same time.

My sort of up-to-date cv tells you my past, linked in shows you my professional network and on twitter you can find out what I'm currently doing.