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Why do some people perform brilliantly in their jobs while others fail?

Two employees might have the same education, skills, qualifications, and experience, but one outperforms the other by miles. Why? 


Some people find it confronting when we say you are 100% accountable for your own performance. We know that is a big statement, but it is true. 


Managing yourself in a way that enables you to maintain peak performance is critical to your career success. Employers are looking for team members who are highly self-aware and know how to optimize their own peak performance levels. 


Kingston Human Capital met with 302 employees who were nominated as “top performers” by their organisations. Today we share their tips on how they achieve peak performance.



Get Enough Sleep.


Top performers recognise that good sleep is essential to peak performance. You’ll be surprised what a difference a well-rested mind makes to your daily productivity. 


Well-rested individuals face challenges with more optimism and energy. Compare your productivity on a day when you are tired, to a day when you had a great night’s sleep. Be honest with yourself. Most people find they are 40 to 50% less productive after a poor night’s sleep. 



You are in charge here. Do everything you can to ensure you get enough sleep.



Eat Well. 


Another common behaviour observed in the Peak Performers group was a commitment to eating well. 


It makes sense; what you put in your body, fuels your body. If you equip your body with the nutrients it needs it will run well – you will be able to rely on it to provide you with the energy and focus you need. 



You choose what you put in your mouth. Choose well. 





Each of the Peak Performers we met with had a commitment to an exercise regime. The choice of the exercise was broad, from stepping out on a lunch break to a quick yoga class, to throwing on their sneakers and strolling around the building a few times, to running up and down the fire stairs. Peak Performers were deeply committed to finding a way to win 20 minutes of exercise each day. 



Build a Daily To-Do List.


We found that 100% of the Peak Performers started their day with some sort of To-Do List. Whether it was a task list in Trello (free software – check it out) or a handwritten list of action – each and every Peak Performer started their day with a well thought out list of outcomes they needed to produce. 


Interestingly almost 45% of the subject group allocated the number of minutes they would spend on each task. Its makes sense to determine the amount of time you are going to spend on a task or outcome. Your time is money and thinking about your time as money brings you a greater sense of how you can spend it effectively.



You’re in charge of your time, think about how you should best spend it. 



Eat the toad.


This isn’t a new concept. Peak Performers are completely wedded to this concept. They recommend doing the thing you hate the most, first thing every day. Why? When you start your day you are usually in your most energetic state. You are in the best position to work on your most challenging task. 


Taking on the task you hate first thing in the morning, enables you to ensure you don’t procrastinate and put off the important things that need doing. It gets the thing you hate most out of your way so you can get into a good flow for the rest of you day. Don’t avoid the tasks you hate. Man up – eat your toad.



Single Burning Task (SBT).


In every day there is a single burning task that needs to be completed. In your daily to-do list – identify your single burning task. After you’ve eaten your toad, kick right into making sure you address your single burning task. By executing your single burning task early in your day, you limit the distractions and interruptions that can send you off- track, rob you of your time and affect your productivity. The Peak Performance group we interviewed were able to clearly identify their single burning task – daily.


Go on, you know your job well – are you executing your SBT daily?



Split up the Big Projects.


Big projects can be psychologically overwhelming. Just looking at a big project in its entirety can kill the energy and zest you started your day with. 


Peak Performers have found ways to break the project down into very small and very manageable segments. They get a start on a small part of the project, they tick that off their list then tackle another small segment. 



This builds psychological momentum and motivation. It’s a smart trick.



We observed a great behaviour in one of our peak performers who had to undertake large projects that she found uninspiring. She used the “JDI” approach that Michelle Bridges promotes. ‘JUST-DO-IT’, she bargains with herself. She tells herself I’ll JUST-DO-IT for 25 minutes that’s all. Most often she finds herself well and truly into the project and has built momentum and decides to keep going. 



Improve your capabilities.


Another common orientation we observed among the Peak Performance group was a personal commitment to upgrading their own expertise. Peak Performers proactively looked for training opportunities, coaching and mentors within their organisations. 


More importantly, they did not rely on their Employers to provide all their training. They had a deep commitment to sourcing and participating in courses and opportunities that would enhance their skills.



You really are your own brand/product/resource. It makes sense to invest in yourself. 

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