When you look at the people who are the best at what they do, the ones who have the most impact, whether athletes, adventurers, scientists, or entrepreneurs, most of them have a few common practices that significantly boost their effectiveness and ability to succeed. Any one of these 7 techniques has the potential to flip your script and dramatically improve your outcomes. Put together, we are talking about serious rocket fuel!
1) Crystal-Clear Vision
This seems like an obvious one, but it is amazing how many projects or other undertakings are started without clear definition. The clearer your objective is, the more the details are defined, the quicker and more efficiently you will reach the goal. Much like preventative medicine, it takes far less time, effort and resources to identify and deal with problems up front rather than mid-project.
2) Build Belief
This is another one that gets a lot of lip service, but is often ignored. If you or your team members, don’t believe in the goal, or don’t believe it is possible, you are headed down a much harder road with reduced chances of success. There are a number of ways to build belief: Review past success, examine methods others have used to tackle similar problems, break seemingly insurmountable goals into smaller, shorter, manageable tasks, etc. Belief is the “X” factor when it comes to performance. It provides energy, fosters creativity, and builds momentum. History is filled with people who, with nothing else going for them except an unshakable belief, prevailed against the odds.
3) Prioritize Energy Creation
In the past I’ve tended to look at mind-body maintenance activities as somewhat optional. I knew that they were essential, but not urgent let alone an immediate priority. When projects heated up and I was in a crunch, the first items thrown out of the boat were sleep, proper diet, exercise, and time for hobbies, pastimes, and passions: “I just don’t have time this week.” The science is pretty clear now: If you want to perform at your best and be able to sustain it over the long haul, you have to prioritize the things in your life that give you energy and fire you up!
Long, uninterrupted stretches of work are very inefficient. You need to think in terms of sprints, not marathons. Working with intense focus for ninety minutes to two hours, followed by a short recovery period is optimal. Recovery should be something that energizes you – a walk, a workout, meditation, socializing – whatever works for you. Then repeat the cycle as needed. You’ll notice a big difference in your productivity, creativity and stamina!
No one seems to want to hear this, but multi-tasking is a hoax. Your brain (assuming you are human) is physically incapable of paying attention to two things at once. That doesn’t mean you can’t do two things at once. You can discuss the budget report while folding laundry, but not while you are balancing your checkbook (at least not very effectively). Studies show that multi-tasking adds 20%-50% more time to any given task. Sometimes multi-tasking is a necessity (air traffic controllers for example), but focus on one thing at a time whenever possible. This is also essential for maximizing your creativity.
6) Stress & Recover
This is very much related to #4. When it comes to increasing your capacity, resilience, and stamina, each dimension of your life – mind, body, emotions, creativity, spirit – operates on the same principle as your muscles. To build muscle strength and stamina, you don’t pump iron for 10-12 hours until you collapse. That doesn’t build muscle; it depletes, and injures it. Instead, you push your limits in short intense bursts and then take some time to recover before starting again. In each dimension of your life, think intense output, effort, and focus – push your limits, then step away and recover. You’ll come back stronger. It’s just like building muscle.
Probably the most important life skill you can master. It is the source of 90% of your energy, directly affects the function of your immune system, your body’s ability to heal, your emotional intelligence, and is the most powerful weapon against the poisonous effects of chronic stress. Replace your short, shallow breathing with slower, deeper breaths (inhale for 3 counts, pause, exhale for 3 counts). This simple practice will cause a cascade of positive changes to your mind, body, health, and emotions.
Each of these simple, powerful practices can yield big benefits, but when used together can be truly transformative!
What are the performance tips that work for you? We love to hear your comments, tips, and questions!