Lessons from the Greatest Productivity Book of All Time | The Power of Full Engagement

by RJ

in Self Improvement

Watch Peyton Manning when the Indianapolis Colts defense is on the field, he is in a familiar spot. He is sitting on the bench by himself, helmet is off, looking relaxed, and watching the game on the jumbo tron.

It’s not that Peyton Manning, one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, doesn’t care what his defense is doing. Manning knows that he must alternate between periods of full engagement and full disengagement for peak performance.

The Power of Full Engagement | Summary & Review

I’m not a huge fan of most productivity books. 99% of them waste a few hours of my life telling me to stop procrastinating, to stop checking email every 5 minutes, to stop multitasking, and to wake up earlier. It wasn’t until I came across the Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz that I read a productivity book that I was able to apply to get more results in less time.

The authors have a very different background then most productivity authors. A while back, they wanted to know what the difference was between the top tennis players in the world and everyone else. After close observation, they noticed that the top players in the world had specific routines in between each serve.

After testing the players heart rate, they noticed that the top players heart rate dropped significantly lower than those players who didn’t have a routine. Over 15 minutes of play, this really didn’t matter. However, some tennis matches last hours. Plus, tournaments consists of consecutive days of these grueling matches.

Top players, the ones winning the tournaments, were alternating between periods of full engagement and relaxation, just like Peyton Manning does today. While the second tier players, were trying to go 100 MPH for hours at a time. Eventually this led to burnout.

Summary of Most Important Concepts

While you have to read the book to understand these concepts, here is a summary of the what’s presented in the Power of Full Engagement:

  • Lesson # 1“Managing energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance. Performance is grounded in the skillful management of energy.”
  • Lesson # 2 – “Energy is simply the capacity to do work. Our most fundamental need as human beings is to spend and recover energy.”
  • Lesson # 3 – “Expanding capacity requires a willingness to endure short-term discomfort in the service of long-tern reward.”
  • Lesson # 4“To build full-engagement, we must take a recovery break every 90-120 minutes.”
  • Lesson # 5 - “In order to perform at our best, we must access pleasant and positive emotions; the experience of enjoyment, challenge, adventure, and opportunity.”
  • Lesson # 6“The energy of the human spirit can override even severe limitations of physical energy.

Becoming a Corporate Athlete®

For someone like myself, who thought going 100 MPH for eight hours straight and eating lunch at my desk was being productive, this theory made a lot of sense. Productivity and peak performance are about managing energy, not time.

This book is meant to be read, applied, read again, and then applied, and repeated many times.

The Power of Full Engagement is filled with real life case studies from the authors training institute. Their work isn’t based upon theory. It’s been tested and applied over many years.

Personally, I have now read the book twice. Originally, I used the lessons in the book to balance the stress of studying for the CFP® exam. Without the lessons learned from this book, I don’t think I would have passed.

I’m just now starting to apply it to my workday. I’m trying to be fully engage for 120 minutes at a specific time each day, doing a specific task. I have noticed a large increase in productivity and a reduction of stress already.

The highest compliment I can give a book, is that I plan to re-read again. The Power of Full Engagement easily passes that test. It’s a book I plan to visit at least once every 6 months, until I have mastered the concepts.

For anyone out there who is familiar with the Power of Full Engagement, please let me know what you learned and the changes you made after reading it, in the comments.

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