Some people love routine, some people love spontaneity. While you might think this is just personal preference, routine happens to also be part of the recipe for success. When we consider great talent and high achieving individuals, there are certain things they all have in common. Great inventors like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Thomas Edison, great thinkers like Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud, athletes like Deana Kastor, and politicians like former president Barack Obama all engaged in several relevant activities in order to maximize their effectiveness.
Successful people tend to create a customized routine. This routine involves a variety of important factors.
1. Determine if you’re a lark or an owl
Do you feel your best in the morning or at night? Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness (who wrote Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success) suggest you find your natural rhythm. This will define when you ought to engage in work that requires deep thinking, such as editing a paper or refining your technique. At the other end of the day is when you ought to do creative work, your brain storming or playing the game.
2. Rest + Stress = Growth
Specifically of your talent. Every two hours of deep thinking or hard work ought to be followed by at least 15 minutes of rest. Close your eyes and tune out. Meditate. Take a nap. Just not more than 30 minutes, according to Dr. Matthew Walker, professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at University of California, Berkely, and Founder and Director of the Center for Human Sleep Science ,otherwise we start to move into deep sleep and this will not leave us feeling refreshed afterwards. Make sure you are getting enough sleep at night. Seven to nine hours is what the average person needs. A professional athlete, like Deena Kastor, 2004 Olympic Bronze medalist in the marathon, often sleeps 10-12 hours per night. And they take vacations where they do not train!
3. Cheat Fatigue
Having to make choices eventually leads to mental exhaustion. While you may not realize it, every time you choose what you’re going to wear that day, what you’re going to eat, how you’re going to train or what you’re going to do, a demand is being put on your mind. Have you ever noticed how not having a plan leads to inaction? Friday night rolls around and because nothing had been figured out you end up staying in and ordering pizza. If your workout clothes aren’t laid out the night before, mustering up the motivation to get out there for that run is that much more challenging. Notice how Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and Barack Obama always wear the same outfit or suit. Because their jobs require so much thinking and so many choices, they eliminated decision fatigue by eliminating having to consider small and unimportant things.
4. What is Your Motivation
When doing anything difficult, such as climbing Mount Everest, finishing the last of the 26.2 miles, or tolerating discomfort, what motivates you to push through? What is your mantra? Is it your family, being a role model, is it helping others in some way, solving a problem? Whatever it may be, you need a clear motivation. Ideally it’s a short saying or three words that you can call up whenever you are struggling to push through.
In summary, routine allows us to fully express our talent. It doesn’t just get us ready to perform but it enhances our performance. Rest is a meaningful exercise. Don’t forget to allow your brain and your body to recharge. Find your mantra. Feeling good leads to an increase in performance, so take good care of your mind, your soul and your body.
For guidance on how to set yourself up for success, contact [email protected] or visit EverestStrongCoaching.com