Book Review - Executive Stamina: How to Optimize Time, Energy, and Productivity to Achieve Peak Performance
As tempting as it is to think you can be effective at work without paying attention to your physical health, the reality is much different. Your ability to operative at full capacity is limited by your fitness and stamina (both physical and emotional). This subject is covered in the book Executive Stamina: How to Optimize Time, Energy, and Productivity to Achieve Peak Performance by Marty Selman, PhD. and Joshua Selman. This is something I wish more people understood for themselves, as well as management understanding about others who they are pushing beyond limits.
Part 1 - Work/Life Alignment: What Is Most Important to You?; Is Your Schedule Aligned with Your Priorities?; The Minimums and Shifts/Drifts Systems; Finding Your Career Sweet Spot
Part 2 - Building Your Stamina: The Impact of Stress; Increasing Your Fitness; Your Lifelong Fitness Plan; Nutrition; Stress Management - Your Individual Plan; Yoga at the Office
Part 3 - Optimizing Job Performance and Results: Identifying High-Payoff Activities; Taking Control of Your Calendar
Part 4 - Career Management: Reaching Your Full Potential; Avoiding Career Management Mistakes
Part 5 - Personal Relationships: Maintaining Positive Relationships
As you can see from the contents, the authors split up your professional life into five different areas. In order to run at optimal capacity, you really do need to have all these areas in alignment. Realistically, you'll see some areas crying out for attention more than others. For me, I was drawn to the first area about work/life alignment (as many say I must not sleep). Learning to align my schedule with what's most important is something I keep putting off. The "urgent" overruns the "important". I was also intrigued with the Shifts/Drifts system. That's a way to track certain behaviors that you've considered key. You can set the "minimum" activity necessary to move forward towards some goal. Then by tracking drifts, you can notice if you're straying from that commitment. All too often, we end up in a place we don't want to be and wonder how we got there. It wasn't an overnight occurrance in most cases. It was a slow drift from your path that didn't become obvious until it was too late. Checking those drifts can do wonders for keeping you focused, at a point in time where corrections are still easy and possible. The chapter on finding your career "sweet spot" was also timely. We're going through some reorgs at work, and I had to give some thought to a potential move into a new role and position. The reality is that I'm currently in a "sweet spot" right now, a time when my "good at", "like to do", "interested in", and "fits with values" all align in a single job. While a new position could mean more pay, it would also take me away from what I really enjoy doing (and away from what I'm really good at). After reading that chapter, I realized that moving "up" because it's expected is not the right choice.
Actually, *all* the chapters and sections are of value. You could read this book a number of times and pull away something new and different after each reading. What's important though is to understand that you can only push so hard and so long before everything starts to break down around you. Executive Stamina can help prevent that breakdown before it's too late and you've done irreparable hard to your body, emotions, and overall life.