Maximal Effort is Not Optimal Effort: How to Apply This “Skill”.

When you work out why don’t you push your heart rate as high as possible without taking breaks? When you drive your car, why don’t you rev and redline your engine? 

Why? Because it is not optimal. 

“Maximal is not optimal. Leave some slack in your rope.”

I heard this over the weekend and it flipped a switch

If I were building a machine that printed paper, I wouldn’t run the machine at maximal speed. 

I’d vary the speed based on how much paper I needed that day and make adjustments to be sure it didn’t burnout. 

If this machine determined how I felt, I’d treat it well. I’d be invested in its long-term performance and find the right speed. 

I wouldn’t squeeze every ounce of performance out of it without giving it a break. I would find a speed that was sustainable. Otherwise, it could break down, I’d feel worse, and I’d have to take time off to repair it. 

You are like the machine. You work hard, and how you work determines how you feel.

If you run a business or team, you and your team members are components of a larger machine. If you’re interested in the long-term performance of your team and yourself, you better pay attention to wear and tear and run it properly. 

Periods of more intense work require more immersive recovery (just like intense workouts require more recovery time). 

Leave some slack in your rope. Maximals effort is not optimal effort.

Here’s a simple strategy: Throughout your day, especially when you feel stressed, ask yourself how fast your machine is running from 1-10. Make sure you’re balancing your energy, don’t hang out in 8, 9, or 10 for long periods of time without resting, and/or spend more time in the 7-ish range (at least that’s where I like to be). 

You can get things done and feel good. 

This is why we created FocusCalm, to help people reduce their stress so they can feel better and get more done. FocusCalm combines brainwave sensing technology, guided meditation, and brain training to optimize how you feel and perform. Try it risk-free for 30 days here.

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