5 self-care tips to hit peak performance

Get off the multitasking bandwagon, because it's doing more than just killing your productivity

Are you undermining your success with unconscious behaviors that are actually hurting your attention and simultaneously diminishing the gray matter in your brain? If you’re ready to shift to peak performance mode, a few simple tweaks may be all you need.

Agents are always searching for the next magic bullet that will improve their businesses. While training, seminars and new technologies can definitely improve your business, few agents actually understand how the physical choices they make about their self-care influence their real estate success.

What are some simple steps you can take to make sure that your body is supporting you to achieve peak performance? Surprisingly, many of them are easier than you may think.

1. Pump up the music
Have you ever noticed how certain songs make you feel great and others just grate on your nerves? The research on peak performance, whether it’s mental or physical, shows a clear-cut brain scan pattern. Peak performance and so-called “peak experiences” occur when both sides of your brain are in synchrony.

To illustrate this point, certain songs make you feel great because they synchronize the brainwaves in your two cerebral hemispheres. You can recognize this effect when you have a smile on your face and you want to move to the beat of the music.

On the other hand, any physical stimulus that makes your feel cranky or out of sorts, often results because the stimulus jolted the brainwaves in your two cerebral hemispheres out of synchrony.

6 ways empowered agents embrace disruption to drive success
Using technology to generate leads and win listings READ MORE

To see how this works for you, the next time you’re feeling out of sync, spend at least five minutes moving to your favorite music. Chances are your brainwaves will be back in sync and you’ll have a smile on your face.

2. The 10-second mood changer
Neurolinguistic programming (NLP) demonstrates how emotional responses become physically anchored in your body. For example, if you’re having a bad day and you want to change your mood before you walk into that big listing appointment, here’s a simple way to do it: Simply look up at the ceiling, raise your arms in the air, and wave your hands at the ceiling. Chances are you’ll have a big smile on your face.

Here’s how NLP practitioners explain this phenomenon. Unless your mother was “Mommy Dearest,” when you reached up to her, she picked you up. Furthermore, cheering for your favorite sports team and many dances also involve waving your arms in the air.

This study shows that multitasking ... literally shrinks the brain ... [and] also linked multitasking with multiple digital devices to emotional problems, including depression and anxiety."

Because these actions are anchored with pleasant events, NLP says you can recreate the same feeling simply by repeating the action. So, the next time you need to shift your mood, look up at the ceiling, raise your arms, and wave your hands at the ceiling. A shift in mood and a smile shouldn’t be too far behind.

3. Capitalize on your daily energy peaks
Everyone experiences peaks and valleys in their energy. The secret is to determine the times of day you feel the most energized, as well as what times your energy dips. During peak times, schedule the toughest tasks of your day. Save your easiest tasks for the down times.

Also, when you hit that aggravating afternoon lull, don’t reach for the caffeine or the sugar. Instead, take a tip from the folks at Apple and Google. You can increase your performance by 34 percent (that’s 12.5 hours per week) simply by taking a 26-minute nap. The top tech companies have “sleep pods” where their employees can stretch out for 26 minutes. Even if you don’t sleep, you get the same benefit from getting horizontal and being quiet — that means no reading, digital devices or interruptions.

4. Sleep more
Dream (REM) sleep decreases stress, improves physical and mental performance, and allows memories to consolidate. Sleep deprivation results in your brain shifting from the fatigued areas of the brain to the less fatigued secondary areas. In other words, when you’re tired, your starting team is sitting on the bench and the second team is on the field.

To improve your sleep, turn off all your digital devices at least an hour before you go to bed. If you don’t, the bright screen tricks your body into thinking it is still daylight. The subsequent reduction in melatonin makes it much harder to fall asleep.

5. Multitasking is killing your productivity and damaging your brain
An increasing number of studies are showing the detrimental effects of attempting to multitask. Multitasking is actually impossible, since Brodmann’s area 10 – a region of the brain’s cerebral cortex that controls attention — can complete only one task at a time. You can task shift, but you can’t multitask. It takes Brodmann’s area 0.7 seconds to shift gears. Other detrimental effects of multitasking include the following:

It takes 100 percent longer to complete both tasks, and you make 50 percent more errors. A 30-second interruption actually requires a full five minutes before you regain concentration.

Attempting to multitask can make your brain behave as if you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

Texting and driving is the equivalent of driving with an alcohol level 50 percent higher than the legal limit (.012 vs. .008).

The most disturbing effect, however, comes from a new research study from the University of Sussex, which provides an explanation as to why the events above occur.

This study shows that multitasking, especially with multiple digital devices, literally shrinks the brain. This study also linked multitasking with multiple digital devices to emotional problems, including depression and anxiety.

What is the solution? Time block and focus on doing one task at a time. If you can’t manage 30 minutes, start with 10 minutes. Put your phone on “airplane mode” or “do not disturb.” Check it at the end of your time block and then move to your next task.

If you want to make sure your body is prepared to deliver peak performance, couple the tips above with sensible eating plus regular exercise. You’ll be a lot happier, better rested, and ready to deliver peak performance in your business.

Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles and two best-selling real estate books. Discover why leading Realtor associations and companies have chosen Bernice’s new and experienced real estate sales training for their agents at www.RealEstateCoach.com/AgentTraining and www.RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.