The Source of Performance

Tomorrow is 77 days.

This crisis is an excellent case study for what prevents us from getting stuff done.

The #1 performance preventer is getting de-railed by a transition.

  • It’s not your plan
  • It’s not your willpower
  • It’s not your genetics, talent stack or experience

This week is our fourth transition, in less than three months.

  • Close the schools
  • Start online education, two weeks later
  • End the official school year, eight weeks later
  • Start summer school, one week later

Each change is an opportunity to start down a path of falling behind.

By the time we get back to school, there’s going to be a large cohort of kids who haven’t had much education for five months (not moving forward) and have forgotten most of what they learned in the seven months before we closed (moving backward).

This is a compressed version of what happens to all of us: in sport, in relationships and in our careers.

“Something comes up” and we’re off our game.

What to do?

  • Don’t mess with a streak! You will only get a few opportunities for an extended block of outstanding work.
  • Good enough will get you far. Nearly everyone you know is going to fall away over time. Skip the protocol debates and just do it.
  • Leave room for tomorrow, and the next transition.

I’ll use home school as an example.

We’re doing 90-120 minutes of academic work a day and we’re doing it six days a week. On top, we’re adding five hours of martial arts and ten hours of cycling (per week).

It’s not what my wife and the kids “want” to be doing but it’s a lot better than looking at a blank piece of paper every morning!

My seven-year old’s math book (for her next grade) contains 200 pages. She’s doing four pages a day alongside me. Grade Three math will be done by July. It’s a similar thing for each of my kids. Maybe it takes until August for the older ones to learn the following year’s curriculum.

It’s daunting to set up the summer school week => the transition from “we should do this” to “this is what we will be doing” nearly defeated me! I had five teachers say “no” to mentoring my kids but I persisted.

Another hurdle => cost. You can tell yourself it is too expensive to hire three tutors, a black-belt PE teacher and a cycling mentor from the local university team (our daughter loves to ride).

I called BS on myself => the pain I feel is committing my own time, not my money.

My total budget for Summer School will be less than the refunds I got back when Corona cancelled my 2020 travel schedule.

This investment will move my kids ahead, at a time when a lot feels like it is moving backwards.

But it’s more than that => the family knows we are being productive, we are getting stuff done, we are working together.

It’s not all kumbaya but it is meaningful.

Do not focus on the details. You can spin your wheels forever.

Focus on getting a bit done every_single_day and let compounding work in your favor.