What I’ve learned after 50,000 Minutes in the Groove 🕺🏼
I’ve spent my last trip around the sun as Head of Community at Groove, the on-demand digital coworking space, and have spent every work day Grooving. Over that time, I’ve Grooved 1,000 times which equates to 50,000 minutes of focused work...and I've hung out with great people along the way.
If you haven’t Grooved before, a Groove is a 50-minute focus. You start on video, say hello to up to 3 other people from around the world, and then go off video to focus and get stuff done. You check things off your digital to-do list and your fellow Groovers cheer you on as you do. At the end, you come back on video to regroup and share how it went.
50,000 minutes. That’s nearly 35 full days’ worth of Grooving in one year. Imagine that. What could your next year look like if you prioritize being really intentional with your time?
I’ve longed for something like Groove to exist for years now. Something that connects all of the people who are on wavy career paths, building projects they’re passionate about. Now, I not only get to play a role in building it, but I get to benefit from it.
Here are four key things I’ve learned from Grooving 1,000 times:
1. There’s Magic in Micro-Interactions
Of course, my first learning is directly related to all of the people I’ve met through Grooving. I’m a unique case since part of my job is to meet new people inside the Groove community, so know that this number is a bit higher than your average Groover…but, I’ve met 374 people across 15+ time zones on Groove in the last year. For comparison, another Groover who’s been on the platform for a somewhat similar amount of time has Grooved with 222 people from around the world.
I’ve learned about people’s habits, cultures, religions, passions, ways of organizing, stresses, partners, families, cooking abilities, neighborhoods, fears, highlights of the week, dreams, and more. There’s something so beautiful about the combination of people interacting on Groove for short bursts: we get insight into real, raw moments throughout the day (that sometimes our closest friends in the world never see) + it’s a mobile app (which automatically makes the interaction feel more casual and easy to show each other around our spaces) + it’s a community full of people who are driven and curious. It’s so human and these days that, unfortunately, can be rare to find, especially when connecting digitally.
People usually come to Groove for accountability and productivity, but they stay because of the relationships they form inside this community. I've written more about building your dream coworking crew on Groove and could talk about building friendships for hours. 365 days ago, I didn’t have 374 people in my life that I now have in my life. It’s as simple as that.
2. The power of celebrating others
Celebrating others feels so good. Celebrating others is something we can do for free and the return is something special. Plus, it feels good when others celebrate you for things that really matter to you. Inside Groove, we learn about what’s important to each other. We celebrate different kinds of milestones than we do outside.
Recently, I’ve been Grooving with someone who’s been writing a book. I’ve seen the hard work they’ve put into showing up consistently to get this book out the door. We celebrate progress. Each 50-minute focus session dedicated to this project is worth celebrating — not just the final product. When it is published, I’ll have an additional appreciation having seen the journey of this come to life (and honestly, been part of it, as this person’s accountability buddy). I’m invested. To celebrate someone for something you understand on a personal level, that’s taken so much care and dedication, is really special.
When others have celebrated me along the way, it’s meant the world to me. I was in a Groove with someone who hyped me up before a presentation I was giving to other community leaders recently. It was my final Groove to prep for it, and landing this presentation was a huge career milestone for me. That support in a moment that I’ll always remember in my career was exactly what I needed and it will stick with me forever that this Groover was there to cheer me on.
3. A new framing for what’s possible in 50 minutes
At some point in the last 1,000 Grooves, my mind shifted on how I measure time. Instead of thinking about what I could get done in one hour, I thought, “This can get this done in one Groove.” Grooves have become a way for me to measure my time more tangibly than I ever did before. I know how long tasks like writing the community newsletter or preparing for my weekly community call take, and I’ve found ways to streamline them.
One of the things I hear most often from new Groovers’ first Grooves is “Wow. I can’t believe that was 50 minutes. It flew by. I bit off way more than I could chew.” I’ve learned that people (including my old self) really don’t have a grasp on how we spend our time…until we start measuring it consistently by showing up to Groove again and again. Once people start to get the hang of Groove and are more intentional with their time, that original sentiment changes to “Wow. I’m blown away by what I was able to accomplish in just 50 minutes.”
I’ve gotten into the habit of always starting my work days with a Groove. If you ever read Make Your Bed, you know that there are some serious benefits to accomplishing something, even if it’s as small as making your bed, early in the day. “Start your day with a task complete” as the author, William H. McRaven reiterates again and again in the book.
4. What overdoing it on Groove feels like
On average, I do about 20 Grooves per week, 4 per work day. There was one week I did 33 Grooves in 5 days. That was too much, especially because a lot of those Grooves were with new Groovers, so I was reintroducing myself each time (and how Groove worked if it was a Welcome Groove where I was showing them around).
Too much of a good thing, you know? Learning this boundary was a really important shift for me. More Grooves doesn’t = better. The sweet spot for how many Grooves feels energizing can differ from Groover to Groover. I would say most of our power Groovers have found out what that threshold is from the experience of overdoing it one week, and then recognizing what didn’t feel so good and scaling it back. It’s one thing to work a 40-hour work week. It’s another thing to spend 33 of those hours in focus sessions. Our brains need a break to not be in go, go, go mode.
The practice of Grooving has become such a part of my work day. I’ve learned so much through Groove’s minimalist structure of the 50-minute focus session and the support of fellow Groovers. I’m thankful for how it’s shifted how I work and think about time.
Cheers to my next 1,000 Groovers and all the learning and wins (little and big!) that will come with that.