Productivity Hacks from the Peak Work Performance Summit

This week I’ve been tuning into the Peak Work Performance Summit, where over two dozen authors and productivity experts are sharing their best practices for getting things done. I’ve never seen so many brilliant minds in one location (virtual or not!) I’ve had to press pause often to capture some of the great strategies and insights shared, and today I’m going to share some of my favorites with you.

First on my list to watch was, of course, Greg McKeown, author of my favorite book Essentialism.

Greg made this memorable comment, and while it seems counter-intuitive, if you’re an Essentialist you understand why. Success can become a catalyst for failure because success creates more options.

Too many options. 

And then you face the risk of losing focus on what matters most (which likely is what delivered that great success.) Instead of pouring your energy into that one essential thing, you’re once again chasing too many options, and diluting your efforts.

The key then, is to stay focused on what matters most.

(You know I’m a fan of FOCUS!)

“How are you doing?”

Greg also talked about the “busy bubble” that exists in our society, and how it’s almost like a badge of honor to respond to that question with, “Doing good, really busy!”

As if somehow being busy makes you more important or successful.

The key is to stay out of the busy bubble, so that when it bursts (and it will, one day) you don’t look back on that time period with regrets.

But how do you actually answer the question, “How are you doing?”

Apparently in the UK, when people ask that question, they genuinely mean it. But Greg explained how he had to learn that here in the U.S. people aren’t usually looking for the detailed, honest answer. So how you do you respond…without saying you’re busy or giving too much information?

Say something positive and then turn the question back on the other person.

As a general rule, people like to talk about themselves, so by saying, “Great, what are you up to these days?” you’re able to put the focus back on them.

Interesting, yes?

Todd Henry delivered this powerful statement, and the first thing that came to my mind was the church. You might think that strange, but I’ve created a program designed to help churches reach new people…and the problem I often see in a church is that the teaching is more centered around knowledge, rather than action.

If more people stopped worrying about the original Hebrew text for a particular part of Scripture, and simply acted like Jesus, the church today would look a LOT different.

But that’s not what Todd was talking about. And he’s right, of course it applies to our individual lives and our businesses, too. Bottom line?

At some point you’ve got to stop learning and start DOING.

(Not that you’d want to stop forever, of course. But especially as you’re trying to start up a new venture, too often you’ll spend too much time trying to learn everything; yet the best clarity will come out of action.)

Gretchen Rubin gave this brilliant insight as she talked about how to change your habits. Wow, does she have some incredible strategies to help you break a bad habit, or create a good habit.

She explained that all habits aren’t bad…good habits will actually help you save energy. (Greg McKeown and Todd Henry also talked about how routines help you do that same thing.)

One of the strategies I appreciated was the strategy of convenience (or of inconvenience).

If you’re trying to create a good can you make it more convenient for you to follow through?

If you’re trying to break a bad habit…how can you make it harder for you to do that one thing?

Think about changing your diet…which I am, this year. We’re trying to reduce sugar and eat more whole foods, so both strategies apply.

Make it hard to actually get sugar (don’t keep treats in the house) and make it easy to eat more fresh veggies (at the beginning of the week, cut up enough veggies to snack on for the entire week).

It works for your professional life, too.

Trying to stop the habit of checking email and social media?

Make it harder to get to. Take the apps off your phone. Close the browser on your computer, or better yet, get an app that doesn’t allow you to check those sites.

Trying to read more?

Make it easy to get to. Carry a book with you, so you can read it during brief moments of downtime, rather than checking your phone (again). Set a book at your nightstand, so it’s the last thing you see before you go to bed.

You get the idea.

There’s so much more that I could share from these presentations (and others), but for the sake of your time, I’ll stop for now.

But you see why I’m enjoying the Summit?

You can check it out too, just register here. The presentations are available for free only for 24 hours after they air. (There is an option to upgrade to an all-access pass, so you can download all the presentations and listen at your convenience, which is actually a steal of a deal if you can’t tune in live.)

To massive productivity and success this year…



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