Nowhere is burnout more common than in the office. It impacts everyone; it doesn’t matter if you’re a fresh, young exec trying to prove yourself or you’re a CEO pushing 80-hour work weeks to keep things afloat. Are all these extra hours of work and skipping on sleep worth it? Does it really guarantee your best work, top performance, or praise from higher-ups? Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness don’t seem to think so and they have the science to prove it.

Let’s take a look at Peak Performance by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness to see if it can help you avoid running yourself into the ground.

Practical Steps

The Goldilocks Zone: If you want to grow, Brad and Steve suggest that it’s important to find your Goldilocks Zone. You need to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, but not so much that you feel lost and overwhelmed. If you’re trying to learn a new skill in business, assess your current level, then find the spot just outside this. It’s here you’ll be able to comfortably progress.

Stress Plus Rest: The mantra that is repeated throughout this book is “stress plus rest equals growth.” Brad and Steve make compelling arguments how this simple formula can be applied to almost everything. From the student trying to master subject matter to the professional athlete looking to break records, the body responds very well to a period of intense productive stress followed by equally productive rest.

As an executive, I found this to be incredibly helpful. I work on my toughest projects – really throwing myself into them – for a few days then completely unplug. When I return to my work, I attack it with a renewed vigor.

Things to Improve

Can Most People Really Unplug?: Brad and Steve suggest getting away from technology when we’re trying to sleep and on our days off. Seems like such a nice thought but for the CEO or overly ambitious exec, is that realistically possible? I would have preferred to hear about ways to minimize blue light exposure, the light from your tech that keeps you up at night, or outsourcing work to lighten your weekly task list.

Vacation Time – What’s That?: For too many executives, vacation time is a fantasy. I completely agree with Brad and Steve that finding time to get away from your job improves the quality of the work; however, not all of us can afford to take vacation time. That’s the unfortunate reality in the world of business. Brad and Steve make up for this though by suggesting ways throughout the day to find break time.

Do I Recommend Peak Performance?

If you’ve never read a self-help book on ways to improve your productivity and performance, this book is perfect. It’s a nice collection of tips, tricks, and scientific data that you would have had to read about in several other books.

For the most part, the advice that Brad and Steve give is realistic, practical, and easy to administer into your daily life. If you want to avoid burnout, feel happier, and improve your work performance in the office (or anywhere else), then I suggest giving this a read.

Have You Read Peak Performance?

What did you think of it? Do you apply the principles you learned in the book? Would you recommend it to others? Let me know what you think in the comments below!


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