If you’re super creative with tendencies toward perfectionism, like me and most of my clients, you may have a hard time prioritizing. You want to do ALL THE THINGS, ALL THE TIME and it overwhelms you sometimes.
You may burn a lot of mental energy on lamenting that you can’t get to everything you want to do in a day.
You may constantly feel like you’re falling short, which is an energy-and-creativity-killer.
I’m with you. I have such a huge range of interests and activities I want to do that I often wish each day had 36 hours in it instead of 24.
One of my clients, a professional poker player and life coach for poker players, was stressing out about getting behind on his poker training and coaching studies while he attended a poker tournament. To help him prioritize and show up game-ready, I created The Optimum Power Cycle.
As I talked through it with him, I realized The Optimum Power Cycle also applies to anyone who runs their own business.
If you’re an entrepreneur who struggles with feeling over-busy and like you’re dropping things all the time, this model’s for you!
Recognizing where you are in The Optimum Power Cycle and doing the right things at the right times will help you avoid overwhelm, decision-fatigue, and the general affliction of feeling like you never get enough done.
The Optimum Power Cycle
At any given moment we’re in one of these four stages:
This is true whether you’re an athlete, an entrepreneur gearing up for a launch, or someone who’s gearing up to have a difficult conversation with a loved one, in which “game” signifies the conversation.
Here’s how to work with The Optimum Power Cycle:
- Write 3–5 activities for each stage, so that you end up with 12–20 activities in total.
- When you feel overwhelmed by the wealth of things to do, ask yourself, “Which of these 4 stages am I in?”
- Once you know which stage you’re in, choose the activity that calls to you the most of the 3–5 listed in that stage and do it.
Rinse and repeat. It’s that simple.
Instead of trying to choose what to do next from the entire cornucopia spilling all over your day, you only have to decide between the 3–5 things that fit the stage you’re in at that moment.
This reduces decision fatigue and also reduces the number of things pulling on your attention.
Give yourself permission to pause the activities that fit the other stages. If this is hard for you, remind yourself it’s not forever and you’ll get to them when you’re in that stage.
If an activity is a daily given, like eating a meal, exercise, or meditation, don’t put it in this list. Reserve the 3–5 activities you list for each stage for stage-specific stuff you wouldn’t otherwise do.
Here’s how this model looks in action for an entrepreneur:
Training: Take a business-related workshop, listen to business-related podcasts, review past sales conversations to see where you could improve, and read business-related books.
Pre-game: Meditate, clear fears and resentments around sales, dance to a song you love that makes you feel great, remember a time you felt powerful and anchor that sensation in your body, pray. In other words, get into your most powerful state.
Game: The sales call itself — ask questions, be connectible, stand firm in your value and the value of your offer, know your offer inside and out, remember that your self-worth doesn’t depend on making the sale.
Note: If your self-worth still hangs on the sale, practice clearing that up in the training and pre-game stages.
Recovery: Celebrate what went well, take a bath, get a massage, have sex, take a walk, watch a movie. Basically anything that feels nourishing to your mind and body and isn’t productive in a business sense.
In practice, The Optimum Power Cycle isn’t this linear. Sometimes you may go directly from recovery into another pre-game and game depending on the day. Sometimes you’re cycling between all 4 stages in a given day.
The key is to know which stage you’re in at any moment, giving yourself permission to be fully in that stage while you’re in it, and putting down the activities of the other stages until you get there.
If you tend to be pulled in many directions by competing activities you love, this will help you be more effective at each one and quiet the part of you that yammers at you that you’re not doing enough or you’re not doing it right because you’re not doing it ALL, all the time.
If you want to read more on this topic, check out The Rise of Superman, by Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal. In this book, they discuss the flow state extreme athletes enter when they perform and how to more reliably induce flow in our own lives. Their Flow Cycle is The Optimum Power Cycle’s daddy.
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