You might be asking yourself what does peak performance has to do with my career? Isn’t it a sports thing?
Well, yes and no.
According to The Peak Performance Center, peak performance is a level of exceptional functioning in which a person effortlessly performs an activity to the maximum of their ability while fully focused and immersed in feelings of confidence, engagement, and enjoyment.
So it can refer to physical achievements as well as mental ones.
Peak Performance is not:
Working long hours
Doing grunt work
Saying yes to everything
It’s not about always winning or becoming the best. It’s about doing YOUR best to achieve YOUR goals.
Peak performers maintain a lifestyle that makes their goals and ambitions a reality. If you are into getting what you want out of life, this is for you.
The benefits of peak performance at work
We’ve already established that Peak Performance doesn't mean MORE. It's not about working long hours. It's not about working harder.
Peak performance is about OPTIMIZING how you work so you get more out of the time and effort you put in.
Here’s what happens when you operate at peak performance in your career:
You produce more meaningful results
That leads to faster career growth
You feel accomplished
You enjoy work
And as an added bonus you learn how to master your mindset and build habits that make you more productive.
What’s not to like? 🤷🏻♀️
The 6 essential principals for peak performance I have been on a self-development journey for more than a decade. The below principles are the ones that truly impacted my career and life, and produced the best ROI.
1. Manage your energy
Energy (like attention) is a limited resource. It shifts and changes throughout the day, it fluctuates based on how we feel, and it is almost impossible to manufacture.
So how do you make the most of this elusive resource? You manage your energy.
Most people don’t even consider their energy and just go on with their day, trying to do as much as possible, and usually realize they are drained around 3 pm.
Here’s how you can manage your energy and use it to your advantage.
Do an energy audit by asking these questions:
(1) When are you the most productive? When do you feel energized and motivated?
(2) When do you feel drained or exhausted?
(3) Which activities give you energy? Which activities drain you?
(4) Are there people in your life that can light you up in an instant?
Optimize your work day based on what you discover:
If you are a morning person, don’t start your day with calls. Do deep work in the morning to get the best results.
Do one-on-one conversations drain you? Batch them together to avoid feeling low energy all throughout the week.
Own your schedule
If you start your day by looking at your phone or reading emails - someone else owns your schedule.
If you want to stay focused:
Plan your schedule in advance
Time block most important tasks
Designate time for checking emails
I have a full guide here.
Work in cycles
Most people stay focused for 60-90 minutes. Trying to go for 8 hours straight is a moot effort.
Work in cycles: 60 min work x 15 min rest 3 focus cycles per day = more than most people do in 8 hrs
Take empowering breaks
Your brain needs a rest after hard work. But some breaks can lead to distractions...
Instead of opting for social media:
Listen to a short podcast
Walk your dog
Information in = information out. What you feed your brain impacts performance. Empowering breaks = Better focus and quality work.
2. Optimize for $10,000/hour work
According to Khe Hy: "$10,000 per hour work is the process of identifying your highest leverage activities”.
It means investing time in work that moves the needle, not just checking off boxes.
For instance, a CEO could write a memo for one of his large clients ($10/hr); Or they could hire an incredible Head of Sales who could bring in 100 new clients ($10,000/hr).
We all do different kinds of work, but to operate at peak performance you want to invest more time into high-leverage activities.
You can learn more about $10,000/hour work in this podcast episode with Khe Hy.
3. Think long and short-term
Moat people have the tendency to focus on what’s in front of them. They think in silos within the boundaries of their responsibility. It is possible to deliver good results when you do that, but you can make better and more impactful decisions when you can see the bigger picture.
For example, you can create a personal spreadsheet to track your clients and spend hours every week updating it. Or… you can ask around and learn that other leaders are spending hours every day doing manual updates. Realize the company will benefit from a CRM system that will save everyone time and money... so you lobby for it and help everyone.
4. Set boundaries
Most people confuse boundaries with doing less… it’s actually the opposite. Setting boundaries means asking for what you need to do your best work.
What kind of projects you are interested in
How you feel comfortable communicating
How you manage your time and energy
How you work in a team setting
How you want to be treated
Setting boundaries can lead to peak performance and better results. It’s all about perspective. If you believe it can have a positive impact it would be much easier to ask for what you need.
5. Nurture your mind and your body
It’s hard to do good work when you are tired, feeling achy, or weak. Peak performance requires you to be in good shape both mentally and physically. No, you don’t need to be a world-class athlete or a size 0 model, you just need to take care of your body.
(3) Balanced nutrition
Think about it this way: If you don’t replace the oil, change the tires or fill the gas tank, even the best car will eventually break down.
And the same goes for your mind. If you don’t feed your brain with knowledge, it will eventually deteriorate. People who operate at peak performance consistently learn because they know the information in = information out. The more you consume, the more you can create.
6. Develop systems and habits to stay consistent
People who operate at peak performance work smarter not harder.
Working smarter means creating the right environment to fight procrastination, stay motivated, and thrive. It means creating a repeatable process to stay consistent and play the long game.
Investing in a comfortable desk and chair
Finding the optimal temperature
It is easier to do hard things when you have a process to follow. It removed ambiguity, it feels more achievable and it helps overcome procrastination. The more you systemize your work, the easier it will be to get into your zone and do great work.
For example a daily routine for checking emails just twice a day. A process for evaluating ideas and scoring them to make it easier to prioritize.
We are creatures of habit. Setting up systems and processes makes it easier to push off excuses and stay consistent and productive.
Should you always operate at peak performance?
No, that’s the whole point of peak performance. It happens in cycles or bursts. You make the most of the time you dedicate to work, and then rest and relax. Peak performance shouldn’t lead you to burnout, it should have the opposite effect on you. If you can be more focused when you work, you’ll be more productive and get better results faster. So you’ll work less but achieve more.
Start applying these principles and see what happens.
I believe in you and I’m rooting for you.