Congratulations to the Winners and Perfect-Scoring Competitors of the Second Ultraworking Pentathlon
The Ultraworking Pentathlon runs two weeks and three weekends, four times per year.
t’s structured as a competition — but similar to a marathon, the most important thing is competing against yourself to be the best and do the best you can.
The goal of the founders of Ultraworking is to have every Pentathlon be a shot in the arm of peak performance, but also lead to permanent gains in effectiveness, productivity, and control over one’s life — in short, more thriving.
On this page, we’re really pleased to celebrate the winners of the most recent Pentathlon, along with some lessons of why they won.
Winning Team: Apollo
Every person in the Pentathlon is scored individually, and is also on a team — teams get to choose themselves if they want to, and how to communicate. Some of them doing daily sync-ups, meet, or otherwise message and encourage each other on a regular schedule.
The winning team for Pentathlon II was Team Apollo — Han Chang, Sharon Chen, Phil Hodgen, Kendra Kinnison, and Nick Winter. Kendra and Nick additionally put up perfect scores for the Pentathlon, going 600/600 every single day of the competition.
“I loved it, I was so focused. My team was excellent. Nick set up a Slack Channel for us… we didn’t really talk about the work we were doing, so much as how we were going to get things done. It was also very motivating to see the early-morning ‘Teammate has logged 100 minutes of Most Important Work’ in the morning from messaging. My husband Han and I both participated, and that helped us do fitness together. If we hadn’t done fitness yet today, could go to the gym together or do a short workout at home. That part, as a couple, was not as hard as going by yourself. I do recommend for couples, though, to set the same sleep time and wake time!”
“We had beasts on our team, it was great to be working along with people doing great. One of the biggest things for me was learning cycles — I had strong reservations about it beforehand, especially from a programmer’s perspective. I thought, half an hour isn’t long enough to get in the zone. But once I started using it sometimes for my work, I saw some huge gains. I broke work down into smaller pieces and got a lot of it done. Besides that, having accountability and great people around is great for motivation — knowing other are involved who are working hard, knowing Sebastian and Kai are there, knowing Sharon is doing it, knowing people care and are paying attention — this was great for motivation.”
“I was certainly competitive as a younger person, but this is the first time I’ve done something styled outright as a competition of this type. When it got hard to hit my targets, the team concept helped — I knew I didn’t want to let others down. In my life, I tend to excel and achieve my goals best when I know I’m helping others achieve their goals… so being part of a team was more motivating than just trying to improve solo. Our team worked great: on the first day, I reached out and asked, ‘Are we going to try to win this thing?’ After that, when I was having a tough day or almost missed a target, I knew I didn’t want to let everyone down and made sure I did my part of it.”
“I didn’t set aggressive goals — except for on my Most Important Work. I set just slightly over maintenance targets for nutrition, fitness, and sleep/wake, so those weren’t hard, and I focused on doing more most important work. That was the biggest thing for me — consciously sitting down and thinking through, what’s really important? I hadn’t separated out the work before — there was work to do, and I got it done, but I wasn’t looking and saying, “What’s really most important?” A good boost from that, plus aiming to get most important work done on weekends. Once I started, I decided I wanted to put up perfect scores — and was happy to have another member of my team (Kendra) also put up perfect scores. For the team, I set up a simple Slack channel so we could communicate… just simple stuff, “Hey, hit my goals for the day” — or “I’m flying this weekend, any tips for keeping up targets I might miss?” It helped to analyze situations where we might miss, and I enjoyed getting to know people.”
In Pentathlon I, there was only one person with perfect scores — Julia Brent.
In Pentathlon II, we were thrilled to see five perfect scores. We already mentioned Kendra Kinnison and Nick Winter; also scoring perfect were Glenn Holman, AJ Lawrence, and Jeremy Nixon.
I think I got perfect scores because I committed — I've got work goals and career goals I want to achieve, and I wanted the Pentathlon to be an instructive experience to learn and master these skills. The biggest thing I realized is that when I focused during Work Cycles, I can get a workday done in 3 hours... that effectively doubles my lifespan! By getting the work done in disciplined cycles, that then frees me up to work on bigger things, as well as showing me where I was wasting time in the past.
“I already had a setup for productivity, and I’m naturally hyper competitive. I had some friends of mine participating in the Pentathlon, and I wanted to keep my reputation up — so, I was extremely motivated. For nutrition, on the first day I threw out all the junk in my home, and I told my partner that I wasn’t going to have any junk for two weeks — she helped me with that, I got some sweet cheeses as a gift in the mail, and was about to dig in, when she reminded me I was on the Pentathlon. That was the closest thing to ruining my perfect scores. Going to bed was tricky, sometimes I jumped into bed 30 seconds before my target time, but it was really useful and a big change — it introduced a ton of stability and smoothed out my mornings a lot.”
Congratulations to Team Apollo, the five people with perfect scores, and indeed, everyone who competed and thrived in the Pentathlon.
Pentathlon III will be held from Saturday April 8th to Sunday April 23rd, we look forward to seeing the leaderboard and set of perfect scores grow next time.