⚡️ Today’s level up ⚡️
In this edition (part 4 of a 4-part series), you’ll walk away with simple ways to measure and improve your performance steadily one workday at a time.
In this post, we’ll dig into:
- Finding more meaning in our work
- Embracing work/life/play integration as a more realistic aspiration over work/life balance
- 5 ways to measure and sustain top performance
Top Performance Requires Continual Awareness and Care
You’re planning for success each day the evening before. You’re getting the rest, recovery, and sleep you need each night. You’re putting in intelligent effort and have let go of the hustle-until-you-burn-out mentality.
Now, how do you ensure you’re continuously improving so you can maintain top performance consistently?
Welcome to the fourth and final part of my series helping SaaS sellers optimize work and life to operate in a more meaningful way while consistently achieving the results we want.
If you’re just showing up, over the last month, I’ve shared the first three pillars of my personal operating framework called PREP, which stands for:
P – Plan
R – Rest
E – Effort
P – Perform
PREP has helped me reach my goal of joining the 7 figure annual earners club in SaaS sales (multiple times) while being able to integrate work and life in a more meaningful way from anywhere.
believe know it can help you too.
Start with finding more meaning in your work
One of the biggest myths I like to bust is the false notion that you have to follow your passions in order to find joy in your work.
You don’t have to be in your “dream job” in order to harness happiness, because when you look to external forces to deliver satisfaction, it’s going to be a long and bumpy ride.
The best starting point is creating a system for how you personally operate so you can enjoy the actual work more than “what you do” for a living.
Don’t get me wrong, you need to be in a positive environment where you can be valued and carry out work that helps you find what the Japanese call Ikigai.
Rewind about 20 years ago…as an aspiring professional soccer player in my early 20s, I became so obsessed with a dream, that my whole identity and happiness became inextricably linked to it.
When that dream did not materialize, I became more open to the fact that there was much more to life than earning a contract to play soccer in Eastern Europe.
I discovered that the passion I had was only a small piece to figuring out a much larger puzzle.
What I developed through that learning process were skills that I could apply elsewhere, and over time, I learned to love the process of harnessing the best attributes of becoming a professional athlete with a broader skillset that I could actually get paid for and could make a meaningful contribution to the world.
That led me to other life experiences (hello turntables!) and into sales.
Although I carried the title of sales – I honestly looked at my role differently. I was more of a high achiever with lots of ambition and an entrepreneurial edge that used sales as a springboard to gain freedom to live a life I wanted.
My craft wasn’t selling. My craft was developing a personal system that made my dreams happen. I still work on sharpening it every day.
Build your own formula and integrate work, life, and play
Hopefully, what has begun to emerge for you in this series is that it’s not about operating in extremes (i.e constant hustle, always-on, etc), but more about finding a harmony between being disciplined, flexible, and curious (another framework that is complimentary to PREP and one I’ll unpack in future editions).
And that’s also not to say that I believe there is such a thing as a true work/life balance. For top performers, it’s more about work/life (and play) integration.
By building a consistent routine and system in how you personally operate, you create a space for yourself to perform consistently at a high level.
This puts you in a prestigious category where your efforts will always be in demand. You’ll teach yourself the skills to always stay ahead of the curve and develop true grit.
That’s because when your routines are consistent, quality habits stick. You begin to rely on those habits for success and it becomes a flywheel for your life.
How you schedule vacations, your diet, your nightly rituals…they all become a tightly integrated package so that you can be at your best, stay at your best, and keep going at your best as a top performer…all without burning out!
We don’t have to look far for someone who epitomizes this work/life/play integration to sustain top performance – Mr. Tom Brady. It’s through his TB12 method, something that certainly was abnormal in professional American football that has allowed him to mature from mediocrity early in his career to legendary status, and do it for so long.
Think of PREP a little like the TB12 method for performance-based knowledge workers, like those of you in SaaS sales.
5 ways to measure and sustain top performance
Once you find a deeper meaning in your work, and then integrate work with life and play so they are all pointed in the same direction, how do you maintain elite performance? Start with these five pillar habits:
1/ Create a consistent daily routine
Remember science experiments back in high school? You have a control and then have all the tests that are subject to variables.
Without a control, it’s impossible to see the impact of the variables. Well, when trying to track your performance, you also need a baseline. What does that look like?
You can create a baseline by developing a schedule and routine so your days have a level of consistency.
I like to simplify my workday and ensure each one is the same in two specific parts that I know I can control – the start and the end. Everything else in the middle will vary, and much of it will be because of external factors beyond my control like customer demands or impromptu meetings.
By taking control on how I start my day and end my day, I ensure I don’t start in reactive mode and then never recover, or that I don’t finish work without tying up all my loose ends.
Let the email inbox wait until you have properly warmed up and completed your MIT (most important task) that brings you a step closer to your broader vision, and then in the evening, be sure not to shut down the laptop until you’ve plotted out your treasure map for tomorrow.
2/ Track what you do
With a consistent daily routine in place, the next step is to track what you do each day in a notebook, spreadsheet, app, or whatever works best for you.
All of your daily goals will already be added to this tracking system (thanks to PREP Part 1: Plan). So during the workday, you’ll want to update your tracking system as you get things done..or better yet, have a tool that does this for you as you complete your work.
Mark off when you complete a task, make a note when you finish a meeting, take note of meaningful milestones you’ve accomplished.
By creating this place where you can always check-in and revisit your efforts, you’ll be able to hold yourself accountable (rather than only relying on others), realize patterns, and improve incrementally every day.
This is a much more powerful position to be in as you head into a performance review, a 1:1 meeting with your manager, or a request for a pay raise.
I personally use the power combo of Todoist and Sunsama to manage my day in a zen-like orchestration, and then end my daily review with a quick capture in a personalized spreadsheet I created that aggregates my day into a personalized “thrive score.”
3/ Gather unbiased data
Aside from tracking everything you do manually, I also recommend you gain insights into your performance through data collection. By using wearables and apps (like WHOOP and RISE), you can combine biometric health data with your productivity data.
For example, you can find out how your sleep (or lack of it) is affecting your energy levels. Then, you can figure out how your energy levels affect how much you get done, and when, or how you interacted with an important prospect on a discovery call for instance.
Overall, you gain a broader picture of your performance and the factors influencing it so you can improve each day – even if by just one percent.
Here’s the math, per James Clear, author of Atomic Habits:
“If you can get 1 percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done. Conversely, if you get 1 percent worse each day for one year, you’ll decline nearly down to zero. What starts as a small win or a minor setback accumulates into something much more.”
4/ Critique your performance with genuine curiosity
Next, ask yourself key questions to help you stay in a mode of self-awareness throughout the day. This helps you not only be a better performer, but an ongoing self analyst of your performance.
Note: Maintaining genuine curiosity is how you stay differentiated as an unbiased self analyst vs an obsessive self critic (dangerous territory for the perfectionists out there).
Three simple questions to ask are:
- How would I rate myself on a scale of 1 to 5 on that event (disco call, demo, pitch, etc.)
- What was good about that interaction and how do I ensure that it happens again next time?
- What could I have done better?
You can even post these questions on your computer with a sticky note or create a screensaver.
The bottom line is you want to think like a scientist and try to remove the emotion from your responses.
Note: Asking others that you trust to observe you and give their unbiased feedback is always helpful. Even if they can’t be there with you in-person, you can get coaching digitally using SaaS sales technology like Gong, Chorus.AI, or Revenue.io.
5/ Note your biggest takeaway
Lastly, if you’re following the PREP framework, you’ll be reviewing what you’ve done at the end of each day and planning for the following day.
I encourage you to also write down or type out your biggest takeaway from the day. It could be a win, a lesson, an experience, or a discovery. Then, score your satisfaction level for the day (i.e. your mood).
By consistently developing this habit, you’ll naturally become more in tune with what you do and why do it.
This enables you to ultimately remove the things that aren’t beneficial by identifying trends that push your satisfaction score down, while also experimenting on when you complete certain tasks so you can better align the right task with the appropriate energy state each day.
In the end, aren’t we all after pretty simple things in life — to be happy, feel competent, and consistently perform at our best?
These five steps can help you to refine your performance ensuring that all of your efforts are driving towards the results you want.
See you next time!
- – The final pillar in the PREP framework is Performance
- – Your best performance will always come when you successfully integrate personal and professional characteristics
- – Five ways to measure and sustain peak performance are:
- 1/ Create a consistent daily routine
- 2/ Track what you do
- 3/ Gather unbiased data
- 4/ Critique your performance using this data (rather than emotion or hunches)
- 5/ Always note your biggest takeaway
When you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:
Get the exact system I’ve used to go from earning $200K to over $1M a year in SaaS sales without burning out here. (1,900+ students)
Join a community of Purpose-Curious™ sellers in the Make More Hustle Less Club where we develop a personal operating system together here. (300+ members)
Book a 1:1 coaching session to up-level your performance here. (Limited spots available)