Or maybe the headline should read "What's Your Productivity Tripping Point?"
Ever wondered why it’s so easy for you to go from "everything's perfect" and "on top of the world" one day, to “woe is me”, “everything is dreadful”, and “I’m not good enough” the next?
I hear you! It happens to me as well. My ambitious woman avatar is a tad gungho. She is driven, motivated and she throws herself into the fray full on - forgetting that she is in it for the long haul and that if she pushes too hard one day she pays the price the next.
Tim Ferriss of Four Hour Work Week and Four Hour Body fame refers to finding your the Minimum Effective Dose (MED). That’s the minimum amount you need to do to get a great result.
Well I reckon most of us want to do more than the MED. When you’re on a mission you’re more likely to want to throw yourself in boots and all and give it your best shot. But that best shot runs the risk of being far closer to your Tipping Point than your MED when you're in the realm of feeling like you need to prove yourself.
Instead, find your Tipping Point and step back from it one step, so you can play your long game. This links right back to the Goldilocks principle: not too much, not too little, but just right.
Just because some is good, doesn't mean more is better
So what triggers you tripping over your Tipping Point? Frequently, not what you might imagine and all stuff you can take responsibility for easily.
- Sleep – is big. As the book title says “Sleep your Way to the Top”. Too little and you’re crabby. Too much and you totally lose your motivation and want to do not much all day. I measure my sleep. How cool is that? Try it. You might be surprised at what you find out.
- Water - Dehydration = lethargic and impaired mental agility. Too much has other consequences. Do your research and work out how much fluid is enough for you.
- Caffeine – has a half life of about 5-6 hours. Drink too much in the afternoon and it not only impairs the quality of your sleep, but also makes you jumpy and increases your stress response all while you are unaware.
- Exercise – too much and too intense and you tip over into the realm of impaired performance at the gym AND at work - sluggish, drained and tired. And we all know what too little exercise does for you. Enough said.
- Alcohol – and your tipping point might be closer than you really want to know about. Here’s a great article on New Scientist on the benefits of alcohol free for a while.
- Work - even if you’re managing all of the above and then work too much, you risk losing your edge. Your performance diminishes and you potentially lose drive, motivation and ambition. My tipping point is about 9 hours/day with time off on weekends. I love my job. I love the people I work with, I love the difference I get to be part of in people’s lives and I love stretching and pushing myself. As a result I can focus intensely for hours on end but …… as soon as I go over 9 hours it tips me over the edge. As a result, the next day I am once again, sluggish, defensive and unproductive.
- Uncertainty - the amplifying factor - if you've got lots of uncertainty going on with home, family or finances, or maybe there's been a leadership/management spill at work, then putting systems and routines in place to keep you just below your tipping point are critical.
Monitor your own productivity and performance
If you were a high performance athlete you’d be training daily with a coach who would provide that third person perspective and help you monitor your productivity and performance. But you’re not, so productivity and performance peaks and troughs will slip through the cracks un-monitored unless you take responsibility.
Get yourself some wearable tech. Measure, reflect, journal and if you're really into it, keep a spreadsheet. Work out what works for you and what doesn't.
- When are you most effective at the office?
- When are your staff performing best?
- When do you and your team deliver best results?
- When do you shine in front of an audience?
- When are you and your boss performing like a well oiled machine?
And it might be as simple as tweaking one or two of the list above. So take responsibility and do something about it.
So what about you? What tips you over the edge?
- Did setting yourself a challenge of 10 sales meetings per week actually help? Or did it get in the way of servicing existing clients well, with fewer, higher quality, more successful sales meetings?
- Is that week of long hours really necessary? Or is it in fact keeping you tired and in the realm of never good enough, never enough hours in the day and feeling under confident.
- Is that extra session at the gym really helpful? Or did it make you 'slangry' at work, rest and play?
- Does that huge year of nose to the grindstone result, not in a promotion or a pay-rise, but in you wanting to lean out, pick up your bat and ball and go home, or find something else entirely?
Leadership is a long game
Remember, leadership is a long game. Work out your Tipping Point and you are on the way to successfully carving out a career that really counts far more easily. And if you're feeling down, start creating strategies that help you shift you from wanting to hang up your aspiring leadership boots, to being back in the zone again - today.
My goal is that you win the feminine ambition trifecta - earn a great salary, feel like you are being heard and to know you are making an even bigger difference.
Vive la révolution!
#ambitionrevolution #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #feminineambition
My mission in life is to help women to play a much bigger game – change the world if you will – and do so with big ideas, big vision and big, audacious bucket loads of confidence.
If you enjoyed this please spread the word. And don't forget - I love receiving emails from you with your own wins and achievements.