How do you achieve peak performance as a leader?
We all want to do our best in everything we do; so much so that we often push through those times when we’re performing at well below our optimum.
We frequently work through tiredness, hunger, and stress in order to get something off the list, and end up producing something that’s not as great as we could make it.
So, how do we identify, and subsequently leverage, those moments when we reach peak performance?
Reaching Peak Performance
Be Mindful of Your Body
As you’re working your way through your day, it’s important to check in on your body every now and again.
Give it a once over and see if it is feeling:
- Stiff and maybe a little sore in some area or other
Once you’ve identified what it’s saying to you – and if you’ve been working through for a while it may be telling you all three things at once – address its concern. If you’ve been sitting hunched over for a while, for example, there’s a good chance that the blood flow to your brain is slowed, and your performance is compromised.
Hunger and fatigue will also affect your ability to work as productively as you are able to, so get up, get out, and refuel your body. Sometimes all you need is a healthy snack or a small meal. Or perhaps a brisk walk outdoors to get the blood flowing, and nutrients to where you need them most.
Be Mindful of Your Mind
Throughout the day, just like during your sleeping hours, your mind goes through cycles of roughly 90 minutes long, where it is alert and energetic, and where it is tired and ready for a snooze.
Although food and activity will help to refuel the body and replenish the mind with oxygenated, nutrient rich blood. It won’t always address the cycles of the brain. Generally speaking, the first 1.5 to 2 hours after you get up and out of bed are your peak performance hours, and the cycle goes on from there.
This is often why business coaches recommend working in blocks of 1 to 1 and a half hours at a time. Part of it is to replenish your body, and the other reason is to work with your brain energy cycles.
Be aware of your mind and if you’re finding the work a challenge, you may need to re-plan the blocks of your day; move the tasks requiring more brain power into the up part of your cycle, and the simpler, more mundane tasks into the down part.
Remembering, of course, to refuel and be active in between.
Be Mindful of Your Emotions
When you enjoy the work you’re doing, you’ll be less stressed, and happier. The work will come easily to you, and not feel much like work at all. On the other hand, if you’re bored, or you don’t particularly enjoy the task, you’re more likely to feel frustrated, and even a little sad.
Your best performance will occur when your stress levels are lower, and your happiness is higher. This is partly due to the ease of the task, but also the freedom your mind experiences during these times. Stressed, frustrated minds make for blocked thought processes, so your performance will be impeded.
It’s not always possible to shift the tasks you don’t like to someone else. However, if you’re aware of how you’re feeling when you do them, you at least have the opportunity to do something about it. Ask for help; educate yourself; find a smarter, simpler way to do it; or simply choose to not let it get to you.
Tuning into your mind and body, and determining what it is that works for you is going to give you a lot more power over how well you go about your day. Knowing your optimal times and activities for excellent performance is going to result in much better productivity – and product!
If you’d like more advice on reaching peak performance, jump over to the Athena Coaching website and download our whitepaper, “The Stiletto Approach: What Winning Women Do.” Give yourself the leadership performance advantage you deserve.