Book Review: Peak Performance

We all have the same fixed amount of seconds in a day, 86400 seconds, the only difference is the way we use them.

A first idea, widely integrated into our society is that, if you want to achieve something, you will have to work hard. This is not wrong, but there is something that a lot of people neglect.

You need to be efficient! Quality and quantity are two components of your future success. Details like managing your stress, resting, avoiding multitasking, and even meditating can improve the quality of your effort and have a big impact on your life.

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Peak performance is a book related to the difficult cognitive tasks but also physical challenges

Lessons of this book

This book contains valuable advice. I will present two lessons that I have kept from my reading. This will give you a good idea of the principles presented by the author.

Stress then rest

Stress is an essential component for physical and cognitive growth… so is rest!

Stress is positive and its acceptance is a key component to handle it. Your body and mind will adapt to have a better response when you actively stress it.

This adaptation occurs mainly while you are resting. It is that simple, progress is on its way ;)

So, the concept is easy, stress then rest, work then vacation, leg day then arm day. This daily routine can be complex to follow without self-discipline.

Should you say no to your boss asking you to do extra hours for the fifth day in a row? Should you refuse to exercise with your friend because your legs are still painful from your yesterday workout? Should you take a break after three hours of intense work, solving a crucial issue, with your client looking over your shoulders?

All situations have their context, that’s sure, but a break or rest brings many benefits. A fresh mind and a fresh body will help you in being more efficient, for the sport and work.

Understanding this concept helps to keep control of your stress and increase your growth. Keep your health in mind. Pleasing your customers, your boss or anyone else is not the end goal. Burnouts are too frequent, stress and rest management is the first step to avoid this social problem.

Meditation

Meditation can be really helpful within a stressful period. It helps to reduce pressure on your shoulders, focus, but most importantly feel better.

Meditating does not need to be long. One minute of full slow breaths, focusing only on the air entering your lungs can already make a difference. Many small and frequent sessions are better than a long session once in a while.

The important point is to disconnect from everything that bothers you. For this aspect, meditation can greatly help you to have this rest.

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No need to be a Buddhism expert, to feel the meditation benefits

Avoid multitasking

Multitasking can be negative for efficiency, even if you think it improves it. It distracts your mind. When multitasking, you end up taking more time or decreasing the quality of the results.

Switching from task to task comes with a cost. The more you are focused on your work, the more you will be efficient at it. A high cognitive cost will have to be paid for the context switching between tasks.

It is not easy to concentrate all your brain on a single duty, without any distraction. A good practice, to start gaining the habit, is to start deep work sessions of around 45 minutes. You will reach great efficiency by focusing on one task, without a people distraction and with your favorite concentration music. With more practice, it becomes easier to focus on your task.

You will then be able to increase your deep work session duration progressively. It is not necessary to continue your session if you are not able anymore to have 100% of your concentration. Change your mind with rest, and then go back to your work.

In complement to this advice, I would like to introduce two excellent references related to deep work. These two books are gold mines to set up a high focus mindset. They help me daily to focus on my different tasks.

Deep Work details the concept of …the same name. Going through all the different aspect of this mindset, it provides many tools to improve your efficiency and avoid distraction. In a highly connected society, having the power to focus on a task is the key.

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World*

Getting Things Done is a classic in the organization world. It presents a complete organization methodology, containing advice to free your mind with all the todos that wander in the brain. When you have fewer floating thoughts, you can redirect all your processing power to your current task.

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity*

Review

I have really appreciated going through this book. It is well written, comprehensive and a good summary of many important points to achieve your goals. Many examples are provided, which help greatly to understand the concepts introduced by the author.

This book contains a good overview, but lacks some details for the more demanding readers. Each chapter would deserve its book. Someone with advanced knowledge in performance readings will have more benefit by going through such meticulous books.

However, as a novice performance book reader, I recommend it as a great way to introduce yourself to this topic and to have an overview of many precious tips. In addition to performance and achieving your goal, this book contains also information that could keep you healthy and reduce your burnout risks.

Despite the lack of details, I still think it is a good introduction to the personal development world.

“The best investment you can make is an investment in yourself… The more you learn, the more you will earn” Warren Buffet

If this review triggered your curiosity, you can access it via the following affiliate link. This will help us to pay our coffee and tea consumption writing our blog articles ;)

Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success*