The work place is a competitive environment, and is even more competitive in recent times.
With promotions becoming all the more important, people are willing to do whatever needs to be done to keep their jobs or get a new one.
To get the “bit extra”, you need to do that bit extra, right?
Starting work earlier.
Finishing work later.
Working through your lunch hour.
Eating in the car or on the run.
You have kept this routine up for years.
You are putting in 50-60hrs a week, your boss is very happy. You are doing well.
This is how a lot of us live our lives.
Well done you are a workaholic! (a workaholic is addicted to work)
This week’s article is all about you doing less and getting more.
The article will explain how I think you, as a workaholic can become a peak performer with a few simple changes.
(I should also mention that if you are a perfectionist, some of this applies to you also, perfectionists have been shown to be very inefficient.)
Being a workaholic is not necessarily a bad thing.
There is nothing wrong with working hard and committing 100% to a career you enjoy!
I have been in the workaholic category myself (a number of times).
I used to stay up until 1 or 2am working on my business every night, and be back up at 6am for my first client, eventually I burnt myself out and realised there must be a more efficient way to use my time and energy without sacrificing my income and how well I do my job.
I was borderline obsessive, I still absolutely love what I do just as much as then but I do things a bit differently now.
I changed my approach. I think you can too.
I was working so much it started to negatively affect the amount of time I was able to spend with my wife and kids, and I was getting ill all the time.
Workaholics are on a long road leading to a crash, stress levels will rise, happiness levels will drop and something will eventually give out.
Compared to peak performers, workaholics lack efficiency. They become tired, frustrated and ultimately inefficient – it’s unsustainable.
Signs that you may be a workaholic.
- Lack of a social life. You do not go out with your friends anymore simply because you still need to go to work the next day and that you have so many things to accomplish.
- No time for a love life. It is said in human nature to have someone to share your successes and sorrows.
- Stress and illness. Because of the amount of work you do, some things get left out (like exercise and a good meal), and the first thing to suffer is your health.
No matter how much you think you need to do those extra hours, in the long run, it is essential for you to have a healthy body and a happy lifestyle.
Being a workaholic adds stress and tension to our lives.
So What Can You Do?
You need to alter your strategy and become more efficient – become a peak performer.
You would normally associate peak performers with the top stars in business and sport but it can apply just as much to us normal folk.
A peak performer is someone who is able to excel at their job, enjoy their home and social life, eat well, exercise and be fit and healthy all round as well as leaving time each day to relax and unwind.
Sounds like heaven.
Peak performers get more done in less time.
Peak performers in any field tend to have more holiday time and work shorter hours than the workaholics.
A lot of this is down to how efficient you are at managing your time, how productive you are with your time and how much energy you have throughout the day. In most normal circumstances every one of us should be able to have a little bit of ‘me’ time each day.
Remember us humans form habits very quickly, especially if the habit makes us feel good, we get addicted, and some of the time sucking things are actually no more than a bad routine we have picked up and its lead to becoming a bad habit or ultimately an addiction.
So it needs to be taken seriously as it will mess you up in the long term, as with all addictions.
Peak performance is not a special process for a select few; it is an enjoyable, easy to learn process for doing what’s important, in a more effective way.
Top Tips to Becoming a Peak Performer
As mentioned, time and energy are crucial in this.
So I am going to give you 5 tips which will help you to manage your time and energy and therefore boost your productivity levels:
1. Spend less time on the internet, computer and email – I’m guilty of this sometimes myself but not compared to some people. I know people who will happily spend many hours on facebook (biggest time waster on the planet, some people spend more time on facebook than they do speaking to their kids and loved ones, insanely addictive) or check their email every 20 minutes, all day long.
The internet is like a worm hole, you never know where you will end up, I start reading one thing, next thing I know I have gone on a little journey and have 5 windows open and have gone completely off track, sometimes forgetting what I was doing in the first place.
A question – If you sent me an email and I didn’t reply for 6hrs or until the next day, would you be annoyed? Probably not, so you don’t need to be checking email all the time, it’s a bad habit and very inefficient.
The best thing to do is block off your time and check email once or twice a day for 30-60 minutes. Stay off the internet unless it’s essential, it’s a time sucker.
2. Sleep More – Afternoon Naps & Going to bed earlier – Without sounding like your parents this is a good idea!
I know many of you will stay up late because you spend pretty much the entire day rushing around, but by taking on board some of these tips you will have more time which will allow you to go to bed earlier.
A lack of sleep leads to reduced productivity, poor eating and lack of energy. Getting to sleep a bit earlier will allow you to wake up feeling great and you can go into the day with much more energy. So rather than staying downstairs staring at the TV or Laptop for hours before bed, go to bed early and read a book, unwind and catch some Zs!
If you are self employed or have a routine which allows it – take an afternoon nap – they are really good for you.
I have a few afternoon naps each week, as my business allows it. I work 6am – 11am, exercise, then have lunch and sometimes I then feel tired, so I have a couple of hours sleep (sleep is best in two hour cycles), then I’m back in work usually by 3-4pm until late.
3. Listen to audio books in the car – I have started to do this recently.
If you haven’t got loads of time to sit down and read and you spend a lot of time driving this is a great way of getting your literature fix! Reading books has become very neglected recently due to more TV choices, internet and video games.
With kindles, audio books and other electronic devices books/reading is fighting back a bit! You can never read enough books; there are always new things to learn. So if you spend a lot of time behind the wheel try swapping Radio 1 for an audio book and see how you enjoy it.
4. Watch less TV – This is a biggy! I used to sit in front of the TV for 3-4 hours every night.
That’s AT LEAST 80 hrs a month!
Just by halving your TV time you can find time to go to the gym or meet up with a friend or just rest.
I always get a great sense of reward after an exercise session.
I can’t recall ever being proud of myself after completing an episode of a TV series!
I’m not saying don’t watch TV, there are some fantastic things on TV which can be borderline unmissable but just try to spend a bit less time on your ass and more time on your feet.
Sitting around watching TV also usually leads to eating bad foods. Don’t slip into the routine!
5. Meditate & Do Yoga – By cutting out your time in front of the TV and computer you should have freed up a bit of time to meditate and stretch your body. I’m not talking anything major here, just spend 5 minutes each day to allow yourself to relax and unwind. Deep breathing exercises can help to lower your stress levels and allow you to see things a bit more clearly.
Yoga is amazing and I recommend everyone does it, in the modern world it’s a great tool to have in your armoury.
Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)
During my 10 years working in the local authority, I used to have to give these figures to my boss, they were called KPI’s. The figures were used as they say in their name, as key indicators of performance. Great for business and great for personal use too, as I later found out.
I now have a different set of KPI’s for my life.
Depending on each figure (KPI), you take a different action to improve it or maintain it.
My Personal KPI’s (you can use these too)
- Health & Energy & Sleep – How often do you get ill? How do you feel when you wake up in the morning – fresh or tired?
- Holidays & Time Off – How often do you go on a proper holiday? How much time do you spend together as a family?
- Strength & Fitness – How strong are you at certain exercises? How fast can I run 3 miles?
- Relationships – How are your personal relationships with your wife and kids?
- Me Time – How much time do you have for yourself to do whatever you like, hobbies and interests?
So there are 5 tips to help you become a peak performer and some KPI’s to help you measure your results!
Being a peak performer removes stress and tension from our lives (the opposite of a workaholic.)
Just by making these 5 relatively easy changes it should free up a lot more time for you and help you to be more productive throughout the day.
I was guilty of not doing all of the 5 things I just mentioned at some point in my life.
Since making the changes I feel like a different person – physically and mentally, and can confidently say I’m certainly on my way to being a peak performer all the time, and not just some of the time.
The influence things like this can have on your energy levels are awesome and you genuinely feel different.
So give them a shot and let me know how you get on.
Also I’d love to hear (in the comments below) what ways you use to be more productive, efficient and energetic.
Don’t let your job run you life, regain control and enjoy it.
Thanks for reading,
PS – Listen to Kevin’s Story, he had a heart attack and this video shows how he has put that behind him and moved on to become fitter than ever before.