Five Tips To Improve Peak Performance

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Time management seminars offer lots of ideas to make better use of your time and be more productive. Writing down what you do all day in 15-minute increments is one way to find out how you spend your time. This type of journaling reveals wasted time that can be used for things that just aren’t getting done. Could this time management technique be the next addition to the health questionnaires when applying for health insurance?


What you do during the day in relation to your personal “peak performance” times may join smoking habits, alcohol consumption or weight to information collected by insurance companies when extending coverage or calculating rates. 


According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, “The Peak Time For Everything,” by Sue Shellenbarger, everyone has peak times for brain function, physical activity, decision making and even Tweeting. Your personal body rhythms  or “circadian rhythms” can make certain times of the day better for certain activities. Could ignoring them be considered reckless, putting yourself at risk for accidents or injury? The article quotes Dr. Steve Kay, a professor of molecular and computational biology at the University of Southern California, who suggests that disturbing circadian rhythms has been linked to diabetes, depression, obesity and dementia. Changing your schedule to synchronize your body rhythms can give you an “edge in daily life,” says Dr. Kay. Now that the word is out, could your personal body clock “peak times” become a health indicator, just like weight or BMI?


Finding out your “peak times” can help reduce risk of injury or illness.  Here are some tips to boost your performance and keep you healthy:


  1. Most people were more productive just after waking up, regardless of whether they are “morning” or “afternoon” people. Jumping into a warm shower gives a jump-start to warming up muscles and getting things moving.
  2. Most people get a little foggy in the afternoon and after a big meal. Making decisions, completing complex physical operations, driving or zoning out in an afternoon meeting after a big lunch could contribute to bad judgment or worse.
  3. Hitting the gym first thing in the morning? You may be at risk for injury. According to Michael Smolensky, adjunct professor of biomedical biology at the University of Texas, exercising between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. improves performance and lessens the risk of injury.
  4. Eye-hand coordination is also better in the evening. If it works for racquetball or Frisbee, could scheduling complex physical work activities or delicate procedures in the evening make employees safer? 
  5. Sleep is a factor in performance. You may think you can get by on five hours of sleep, but your consistent lack of sleep could become a health issue affecting your overall job performance and decision-making. Lack of sleep may affect your ability to drive safely, make split-second decisions or just remember to put on your safety glasses at work.


Paying attention to your own “peak times” can contribute to a healthy attitude and reduce stress. If these benefits can keep you out of the doctor’s office or emergency room, it won’t be long before insurance providers recognize the benefits to consumers and lower claims experience as well.


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  • Ken E
    Ken E
    Great tips, but I have to say that I find that working out in the morning (number 3) really helps to keep my energy - and, therefore improve my performance - throughout the day.I think sleep is highly underrated. Good show on mentioning it!Ken

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