Peak Performance: My Practical Tips To Operating at High Productivity Level

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If you search online for the meaning of Peak Performance, these are the answers you will come across:

"Peak performance is a state that is also known as peak experience, the zone of optimal functioning and flow." - Brain Performance Center

"Able to do one's best, in one's best physical state." - English Baby

"Peak performance occurs when you perform to the best of your ability." - Coaching Positive Performance

"A performance at the best level of a person's physical and cognitive abilities." - Psychology Dictionary

I love English Baby's definition - Able to do one's best, in one's best physical state.

So we can rephrase my blog post today to: My practical tips to how to do your strategic best in your best physical state.

We all have goals, desires, expectations and wishes. Goals are those very specific things we want to achieve at a set time and using a defined set of resources. Desires are those things we love to have and continuously yearn for (they are always on our minds). Expectations are those results we like to see from our actions, from others' actions toward us and from our corporate/non-corporate environment/system. Wishes are those things we want someone else or an angel to give us.

You know the good side of it all -- what I am going to share with you will help you achieve your goals, get your godly desires, meet your reasonable expectations and reduce your wishes.

And here they are; my practical tips to reaching your peak performance:

1. Manage your mind and not your time. 

I know this sounds twisted and, perhaps, gibberish. Let's start with how well have you been able to manage/budget your time by the hour. Tell me, have you ever slept at exactly the hour you planned to sleep and wake the exact hour you planned to wake every single day? Have you ever been able to achieve the quality and quantity of work you hoped to achieve in the exact hours and minutes you allocated for the work/task?

Except you are not being totally truthful, you would agree that something is not right with planning each day by the hour and minutes. Most of our best work is done not in the hour we planned for it but when our mind is in the zen mode.

We have all heard that multi-tasking is counter productive. But have you thought about the reason -- that our mind can't actually do two things well at the same time. Why isn't the answer that our planner doesn't have space for two tasks at the same time or that our todo list can only accommodate one task per period?

Now you get why I said manage your mind and not your time -- productivity is tied more to the state and nature of your mind than your time allocation skills.

So how do we manage our mind in such a way that we are able to do our best in our best state of mind/being?

Strictly do one major task at a time. When I want to write, I write. I don't pick calls in the middle of it nor reply chats nor hold a conversation with someone nearby. When I am doing my analysis work, I go to my quiet spot/desk and keep out distractions. I try to have different spots for different major tasks. I have my perfect spot for reading. I have my perfect spot for my analysis work. I have my perfect spot for writing. I have my perfect spot and time for training content creation.

Managing your mind often requires conditioning your mind to be in a great state for the task at hand and having just one task at hand.

2. Have a mental trash can. And use it a lot.

You will not see me stay long at a party. You will not see me willingly watch a football match. You will not see me enjoying and prolonging a small talk. You will not see me discuss other people - talk enthusiastically for long minutes about what someone did or is doing or Trump or Buhari or even a friend. You will not see me chat for long on Whatsapp. You will not see me babysitting my phone -- picking every call as soon as the call enters. You will not see me wish for things -- wish I was born in a different country, wish I was born very rich, wish I was noticed by a generous politician etc. 

The point is that I try to limit the number of things I give my time to. Remember that we all have just 24 hours a day. The more deliberate you are regarding what you spend your time on, the higher the chance of doing the things you excel at and genuinely want, and reach peak performance. 

For some of us, it might mean changing your job or office or friends. If you are constantly in an environment that forces you to spend your time on meaningless stuffs, then you'll have a tough time reaching peak performance. Peak performance is not in doing your best at meaningless/valueless tasks.

In one of my full-time salaried jobs, I used to stay late and pray my colleagues go home early so I can get into my zen state. This ultimately made it easier for me to quit the job. I didn't like that the bulk of my day is spent trying to suppress distractions and avoid conflicts. My best work experience were in work environments where I was allowed to focus on my work, even when the pay wasn't great.

The quote that, "You can do anything, but not everything" becomes very relevant as we grow older and realize that we must be more strategic in what we do if we don't want to remain in the same spot or be left behind by peers and the world at large.

3. Have very few goals. And allocate a lot of mind space to them.

My goals this year are:

  1. Write daily
  2. Improve my relationship with my wife
  3. Have our Microsoft Excel Club in all the higher institutions in Nigeria 
  4. Share work more equitably among my staff
  5. Grow the business
  6. Have a dedicated staff to financial and operational record keeping
  7. Better manage my investments
And almost everything I do revolve around those goals. They have almost all of my mind share. If I wake up today and I feel like taking my wife out to somewhere special, then that's what I'll attempt to do. Sadly, she often prefer not going out. But the point is I wouldn't be rigid and say today is not going out day but calling customers day (even though I don't have any particular customers to follow-up on). 

I do the task that my mind is most in the mood for. Except, when I must do something else that's much more important and urgent. And I have ways of putting my mind in the mood for the task I ought to do. If I have to write and I don't feel like writing, I go and have a nap. Usually, that puts me in a good state of mind to write. If that didn't work, I start reading some random online articles. If that doesn't work. I try writing all the same, and sometimes just doing it puts me in the mood.

4. Limit my wishes and exposures.

I avoid checking Facebook because it often generates wishes for me. I see friends who have zoomed past me. Even people that used to look up to me as a big brother or mentor, but are now thousands of miles ahead of me. I often try to rethink it and suppress the jealousy, but it's better to avoid it.

I don't read lifestyle blogs or watch YouTube channels of people who know how to have a good life and are always showing that good life. The effect on my finances and self-esteem are not a great one.

I avoid things that make me wish. Wish I go for a vacation. Wish I live in a bigger house. Wish I bought something I never thought important before.

I even avoid people who create those type of wishes in me. Ignorance is sometimes bliss. Or happy contentment.

Using these four concepts, I am always doing my best at what I genuinely want and in my best state of mind. It doesn't mean I am doing better than every other person or I am making more money or I am close to some earth shattering breakthrough at something legendary.

I just means that I don't look at any day or period and regret not doing more than I did nor have a feeling that I could have done more/better. I feel mentally full all day and end each day positively exhausted. I start each day energetic and happy, knowing there are meaningful work I am going to pour myself into.


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