High performers have a few things in common that most of us neglect on a daily basis. The good news? These things are really simple. Here are three things that will help you perform better at work every single day:
Move Your Body
Exercise does some amazing things for our performance. Most importantly, it helps train our little ‘energy generators’ within our cells – our mitochondria – to use and produce energy more efficiently. This makes sure that we have enough energy to stay focussed, control our moods, and choose productive behaviours. When we are fatigued, all of these capabilities suffer.
How you can apply it:
You don’t have to be an elite marathon runner, but you just have to make sure that you are moving every day. This can be in the form of structured workouts like running, walking, cycling or any other typical forms of exercise, or it can simply mean walking to work, taking the stairs more often, or finding a way to get your 10,000 steps down every day.
Have a Plan:
If you have an hour to complete a task, you’ll probably take an hour. If you schedule two tasks for that hour period, then you can probably get those done too. When we are not sure what we need to accomplish every day, when we make it up on the fly, we tend to take more time to get things done. However, when we really plan out our day and have specific, realistic task lists that are well prioritised and achievable, then we get more of the important things done. This plan also removes the decision making process. When we deliberate about what we are going to do, we don’t only waste time, but we habitually choose the easiest thing.
How You Can Apply It:
Take 10 minutes at the start of your day to map out the tasks you need to complete. Allocate a time to do each of these tasks, and if you can’t fit them into the day, then re-prioritise them for another day. If you regularly do NOT complete your day’s tasks, then you seriously need to look at what you are scheduling.
Switch On. Switch Off.
High performers realise that we can’t actually work at full capacity all day. Our physiological limit of full intensity is about 90 minutes. After this most measures of performance begin to suffer: problem solving ability, attention, reaction time…. you name it, it starts to falter. High performers work at full intensity for short periods, then take moments to recharge in order to be able to work at full intensity again.
How You Can Apply It:
Divide your day into blocks, no longer than 90 minutes each. Some blocks might be shorter due to meetings etc. When you plan your day (above) slot the tasks into these blocks of time, and work with intensity, blocking out distractions and resisting the urge to multitask. Between these blocks on intensity, take 10-15 minutes to recharge: go for a walk, fill your water bottle or get a coffee.
These are just some of the key things that greatly influence our performance and productivity. Incorporate these into your schedule on a daily basis, and you’ll find that your ability to get more done in less time will greatly improve.