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Perform Better

The Exam Plan

The Exam Plan

Sleeping soundly, Eating smarter, Moving more, and Thinking clearly are the foundations upon which we can build learning, creativity, problem solving and ultimately better health and performance.

This week I'd like to show you how we can apply these concepts to a critical moment - exams. To do this we need to begin with the end in mind. How do we want to be before, during, and after exams? Energized, confident, calm, and focused are words that come to mind.

This principle, of using systematic routines and strategies to ensure performance under pressure can be used to excel in academics, music, drama, sports, and business. Helping you build your own strategies and routines that you can use to prepare for exams is a great way to help build awareness and tools that you can use for exams and many other moments during your lives.

So here we go. This whole process began with a question from a student:

"I would like to ask for your advice on what to eat on my very important SAT test day.

We are expected to arrive at the test centre at 7:45 am.

The test starts at approximately 8:30 and lasts for 3 hours and 45 minutes.

I am wondering what I should eat for breakfast and during the breaks.

This is one of the most important tests I will write and want to make sure that I prepare in the best possible way.”

Here is how I answered:

"Wake up 6:00.

Shower - hot water really hot!

Bring all your stuff downstairs.

Breakfast: I recommend eggs (3-4), avocado, & green veggies.

Water and green tea.

Drive to test for 7:30 arrival.

Go for a hard 5-10 min walk.

Go inside at 7:45.

Relax and chill.

Sip water all morning.

Kick some ass!"

OK now let's break this down:

WAKE UP AT 6:00

In order to be able to perform at a world class level sleep is essential. We've been over this before. Ideally, as a teenager you need about 7.5 hours of sleep to recover and regenerate. We learn in the first half of sleep and we improve creativity and problem solving in the second half of sleep. So in addition to setting a wake-up time, the most important thing to do is to set a go-to-bed time. You can set a bedtime reminder in iOS if you have an iPhone. Go to clock > Bedtime. If anyone has an android device with a similar function please post that in the comments section below.

BREAKFAST: RECOMMEND ORGANIC OMEGA-3 EGGS (3-4) AVOCADO, SOME GREEN VEGGIES

The key here is to accomplish 2 things: 1) eat higher levels of protein than carbohydrates, and 2) to have healthy fats.

High protein meals help to set the stage for the creation of neurotransmitters in the brain that help us to focus. High carbohydrate meals help us to relax and widen focus making it difficult to concentrate. Hence the recommendation for eggs and veggies. A spinach omelette is a great option. A protein smoothie with greens is also good (be careful of adding fruit due to high sugar levels). You can substitute any protein you want for eggs.

The avocado is a source of healthy fats that provide long term energy with minimal energy spikes and crashes that can happen with a high carb meal. Coconut and other nuts are also great sources of healthy fats.

WATER (Sip before and during the performance)

You need water to fuel the Krebs cycle which is the energy pathway inside all our cells. Drink water, enjoy more energy. *Bring a water bottle into the exam / performance event if you can*.

GREEN TEA (30-15 minutes before start)

There is no question that caffeine improves mental and physical performance. Green tea has been shown to have numerous health benefits. Merging the small dose of caffeine that comes with green tea helps to leverage better performance and better health.

Try to time the caffeine so that you can take advantage of the improved performance that peaks 30-60 minutes after ingestion. Avoid the caffeine withdrawal that happens 3-4 hours after ingestion. I don't use caffeine on days with multiple performance events (i.e. a presentation in the morning and teaching a class in the afternoon).

GO FOR A HARD 5-10 MINUTE WALK (15 minutes before start)

As little as 15 minutes of exercise improves mental performance, so add this to your pre-exam routine. Exercise primes the brain for mental performance. This exercise will increase the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the brain and improve your mental performance.

RELAX AND CHILL

The final piece of the puzzle is to get you into your own high performance zone. Not too anxious or nervous, and not too calm. Energized, collected and confident. If you're too nervous take a few breaths to calm down. If you're not psyched up enough remind yourself of the importance of the event or the dream that you're trying to accomplish.

KICK SOME ASS!

Go out there and deliver the performance! Have fun!

Today's POWER-UP: Your Performance Plan

So now we need to build the plan. I recommend following this sequence:

What do I need to do the day before the performance?

What time do I need to be sleeping by?

What time should I set my alarm?

What am I going to do / eat 3 hours before the event?

What am I going to do / eat 90 minutes before the event?

What am I going to do / eat 30 minutes before the event?

What am I going to do / eat 15 minutes before the event?

What am I going to do / eat during the event?

The Health and Wellbeing Journey

The Health and Wellbeing Journey

As our Perform Better module comes to an end, I want to make a suggestion about how you proceed from here.

I believe that a key to living a world class life is to become a student of human performance. By that, I don’t mean you have to become a self-proclaimed exercise science geek like me. I just mean you should take an interest in what makes you tick so you can continue to build your knowledge long after this program ends.

The reason this is important has to do with the power of curiosity and learning. When we go through life with an interest in something, we are constantly looking for information about that subject.

Whatever interests you, you will follow it. That’s how desire works – we act on it. And if you develop a curiosity about how human beings perform, you can create an engine that will drive your improvement forever.

My advice is similar to what Walt Disney said about curiosity:

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So take all of this learning and use it as a catalyst for becoming, at some level, a student of a healthy mind-body. It’s one way to ensure you live a long and successful life.

Everything in these components has been about your personal journey. Being 1% better every day isn’t about big, dramatic changes. You can’t leap ten miles at a time. You can’t move ahead to next week or next month or next year. All you can do is give this moment – this day – your full attention.

With one exception: your dream.

Make sure you are always thinking about your dream. Focus on it at all times. And then weave it into everything you do. That’s how it will become a reality, whether it's to be an Olympic athlete, an artist, a writer, an educator, or a business leader. 

It has been a pleasure spending this time with you. I’ve enjoyed your questions and comments and stories about your journey. I’ve heard a lot about your dreams and your challenges, and I’m grateful for that. One way of being 1% better every day is to learn from others, and I’m lucky to have learned so much from you. Thank you for participating and striving and sharing.

I wish you the very best on your journey!

Today's POWER-UP: Take the first step

The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. 

Everyone – from the most decorated athlete to the simplest of folks – takes one step at a time to achieve their dream.

Power Words

Power Words

At the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Skier Alexandre Bilodeau used a technique sport psychologists call cue words to help him win a gold medal. I've renamed cue words as Power Words - I think they're super impactful so the new name works better for me. I hope you agree.

Let me explain. As Alexandre stood looking down on the moguls run, the potential for distraction was massive, including 10,000 cheering fans. So he focused on the two things that he and his coach had decided were key to victory: letting his knees go forward over the bumps and being soft and relaxed during his second air.

To do so, he stood in the starting gates and said softly to himself “forward” and “soft” – pre-arranged Power Words he used to focus on the most important elements of his run. The result? Pure gold.

But Power Words aren’t just a technique for athletes – they work in almost any situation, even for leaders of massive social and political movements.

When I rode across Africa in 2003, I had time at night in my tent to avoid the malaria-carrying mosquitos. With no Internet, all I could do was read. So I took in a few autobiographies – Mahatma Ghandi’s, Nelson Mandela’s – and a biography of Mother Teresa.

All three books were profound. Especially the way they illustrated that each figure had single words that represented their beliefs and guided their decision-making in the face of threats to their life, imprisonment and regular contact with the worst possible conditions of life.

Ghandi liberated India from the British Empire using “Truth.” Mandela endured 25 years in jail and forced the South African government to abandon apartheid using “Equality.” And Mother Teresa became a saint for her work tending the poor and the sick using “Love.”

We can all apply this technique at peak performance moments. Think about what you need to do to have a great performance and then see if you can describe those actions in one or two words. Then say those words to yourself right before the performance to remind yourself of what you need to do to be successful. 

Today's POWER-UP: Build your Power Words to supercharge your performance

Follow these steps to establish your own Power Words.

1. List a skill, technique, strategy or other element that is critical to your execution of your dream / goal performance.

2. List the key elements of that skill, technique or strategy that will result in a successful performance.

3. Is there one word or phrase that could summarize the response that you should have? That is your Power Word.

4. When is it most important to remember to use your Power Word?

Power Words remind you of who you are and what you should be doing in a challenging situation. Figure yours out and use them to power through tough challenges.

If you'd like feedback on your own Power Words, you can fill out this form and we'll back to you with specific suggestions.

The Media Psychology Effect

The Media Psychology Effect

Using the pervasive power of media to move you toward your dream can help make success inevitable.

While training for the Ironman triathlon after being hospitalized with a heart infection, I needed to train early before my family woke up. Some mornings were tough – like heading out to run in the dark in February. One thing that helped me was a YouTube clip of the NBC Ironman show. I watched it all the time. It was motivating, exciting and effective when I just plain didn’t want to go.

Scientists and psychologists call it “The Media Psychology Effect,” which is the role that pictures, graphics, sounds, the Internet and what you read plays in your psychology. The effect can be good and bad, but if we are careful, we can capitalize on our brain’s tendency to change based on what we are exposed to. Choose the right media exposure and you can make new neural connections that will make you better at thinking, problem solving, concentrating and learning.

What media do you consume? What magazines do you subscribe to? What TV shows do you watch? What blogs do you read? What podcasts do you listen to? Every one of these choices will influence your health and performance. Consider dropping media from your list that isn’t positive and doesn’t move you forward. Do you really want to put stuff in your head that’s negative or deflating?

I’m into training and building a great business, so I subscribe to Runner’s World, Triathlete, Entrepreneur and Fast Company. Do an audit of what’s in your media environment and see if you can make some changes that will help you achieve your dreams!

Today's POWER-UP: Align your media with your goals and dreams

Today I'd like you to do a full media audit. What media do you consume? Think of who you follow on social media. What magazines do you subscribe to? What blogs do you read? What websites do you visit?

Then identify the media that you don’t think is helping you achieve your dreams and swap it for one content will inspire and inform you – like a new magazine subscription, a new blog or a new podcast.

For those that you don't think are moving your forward, cancel your subscriptions, unfollow on social and clean out your web-browser bookmarks. Get rid of any and all negative influences on your mindset, healthset, and soulset.

Are You Single Tasking Yet?

Are You Single Tasking Yet?

What are you doing while you read this? Do you have your phone, an iPod, a tablet and a laptop all on the go at once? Probably. We all tend to. After all, multitasking is the sign of a highly effective and efficient mind – right? Wrong.

Doing several things at once might make it seem like you are working hard but it’s actually an illusion. Your body and mind are not designed to work that way. Switching from task to task reduces your proficiency. Why? Because of how blood flows in our brains.

It’s like a firefighter trying to put out multiple fires at once by spraying water from a hose quickly across several burning houses rather than extinguishing one blaze and then moving on to the next.

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New research from the UK shows that when workers are distracted by phone calls, emails and text messages, they suffer a greater loss of IQ than a person smoking marijuana! Dr. Glenn Wilson, a psychiatrist at King’s College, London University, conducted 80 clinical trials where he monitored the IQ of workers throughout the day. He found that multi-tasking could decrease IQ by an average of 10 points (15 for men and five for women – and, yes, that is evidence that women rule the world!). This is the equivalent to missing a whole night’s sleep!

The concept behind single tasking is that you start with the most important – not urgent – task and work on it exclusively until it is either complete or you are out of time. Then you move on to whatever is next. By managing how you spend your mental energy, you ensure that you excel at whatever you do. 

The myth of multitasking is deeply embedded in our mindset, so you might find it hard to change the way you work. But if you do, you will be putting the science to work.

Today's POWER-UP: Set aside time to single task

Set aside a 90 minute block of time each day when you have time to completely focus and really drill down into a task that you have to accomplish – writing an essay, practising music, preparing for a test, or whatever is the highest priority on your list.

During that time, turn off your phone or put it on silent and disconnect from the Internet. Be completely focused on that one task with no distractions. Build this into your schedule and add it to your calendar so you can defend this critical time for your highest priorities.

The Myth of Multitasking

The Myth of Multitasking

Focus drives success in any discipline – music, sports, drama, academics or business. Yet we live in the age of distraction. We have e-mail, social media, text messages and YouTube all competing for our attention, not to mention the work, studying, or other commitments we are supposed to be doing.

The problem is that distraction and multitasking go against how our brains work. No matter how much we want to take the drug that Bradley Cooper uses to access 100% of his brain in the movie Limitless, the reality is that countless research studies show that our brains can only do one thing at a time.

A functional magnetic resonance imaging scan of the human brain. We can't activate all our brain at once, and the more effectively we can focus our attention, the more efficiently and powerfully our brains can work.

A functional magnetic resonance imaging scan of the human brain. We can't activate all our brain at once, and the more effectively we can focus our attention, the more efficiently and powerfully our brains can work.

Here’s why you can no more multitask than fly to the moon:

The nerves that make up the brain have very little stored energy. When we think, problem solve or create memories, the brain needs oxygen, glucose and nutrients to work. This “fuel” is provided by blood flow to whatever part of the brain is working on the specific task. But blood flow to the brain is limited and can only be delivered to a few small areas at once. If we activate different parts of our brain by trying to multitask, we end up shifting the blood flow between locations and never giving the brain what it needs to get a single job done properly.

Yet people try to multitask all time. And when I ask people to carve out an hour each day to focus completely on their most important work, they look back with panicked stares. But world-class performers in all disciplines make this a key part of their daily routines. And that’s how they stay in their Zones.

The Locus of Control

The Locus of Control

At the Atlanta Summer Olympics, American swimmer Gary Hall Jr. faced off against Russian swimmer Aleksandr Popov in the final of the 100-meter freestyle event – the 100m dash of swimming. The best in the world. America vs. Russia. Hall on home turf. Intense.

As they were introduced, Gary played to the crowd, shadowboxed, and looked up into the stands while Aleksandr stared calmly at Gary. As they prepared for the race, Aleksandr stared at Gary more while Gary looked aroud. And when they were racing, Aleksandr breathed so that he could see Gary alone.

Throughout, the attention of the two athletes was very different – and when they arrived at the wall to end the race, Alexsandr out-touched Gary to become Olympic Champion.

A key factor that led to Aleksandr’s win was his belief that, if he focused on Gary, he could control the outcome of the event. In the scientific literature, this is often referred to as the locus of control.

If you can learn to direct your attention toward the tasks or issues in your life that you can change and control, you will be more able to get into the Zone and succeed. You will also be less anxious because you aren’t worrying about things that are beyond your control, such as traffic or whether your teacher is going to give you a pop quiz. They are things to hold in mind but you cannot change them.  

Being clear about our locus of control allows us to focus on the right things at the right time. By concentrating on the things that you can have an impact on, and not getting worked up about those you can’t, you are far more likely to achieve an ideal state and excel.

Today's POWER-UP: Clarify your locus of control

Look at this image of a green circle inside a red circle:

Now write down a list of things in the white space all around the two circles that stress you out or that require your attention and energy. Brainstorm for as many stressors as possible. Then draw a line to the green area from each stressor that you can actually control and a line to the red area from each stressor you cannot control.

Act on the items in green (green means GO!) and let go of the ones in the red area (red = STOP!).

By doing this exercise a few times, you’ll quickly discover how you can control your attention and direct your efforts and energies toward things that you can affect and improve. This will make a huge difference in your life. Your mindset will be simply, “I can’t control that, move on.” Or, “I can make a difference here, let’s get to work.” Try it out and see how that helps you to direct your focus and energy.

Use Stress to Your Advantage

Use Stress to Your Advantage

Short bursts of stress (called acute) are essential for helping us to perform at a higher level. But elevated stress over long periods of time (called chronic) can make us sick. 

The benefit of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol is that they increase our capacity to function at a high level, both mentally and physically. This is a good thing in short bursts. But it’s a bad thing to be flooded with those hormones for long periods. If they remain in our systems over time, or are dumped into our bloodstream day after day, they can cause problems.

It’s really hard to live a high-performance life when you are constantly stressed. Chronic stress damages your body, threatens your mental health, puts strain on your relationships and takes the joy out of life. Why is it so bad? Because without a break from stressful situations, your brain and body get run down. You are not built to run on stress chemicals.

What are the ongoing stresses in your life? Too much school work? Too many activities on your schedule? Tension in your relationships with friends or family? A sick family member? The pressure of a looming deadline, exam or university application?  

Whatever it is, if you are experiencing ongoing stress, you need an approach that will help you relieve it. How you respond to stress is up to you.

Here are some proven techniques that will help:

Move your body: rhythmic, repeated motion is soothing to our minds and bodies, such as walking, cycling, swimming or running. But any kind of movement will relieve tension, improve circulation and clear your mind – so get out and do something.

Get into nature: leave your ear buds in your pocket and head outside to the park, the woods or the garden. Being in nature will lower your blood pressure, strengthen your immune system, reduce tension and depression, and boost your mood.

Have perspective: if you tell yourself “this is the worst day of my life” and conclude you can’t manage the situation, you will be adding to the stress. Try to step back and see that while this is hard and unpleasant, you can handle it. Believing you are strong and resourceful actually makes you stronger and more resourceful.

Change the nature of your response: research indicates that taking an active, problem-solving approach to life’s challenges relieves stress and can transform it into something positive. If you withdraw, deny the problem or spend all your time venting, you’ll feel helpless. Instead, be determined to make a change, put effort into it, and plan for better results. Pivot from threat to challenge.

Today's Power Up: The STOP Practice

THE NEXT TIME YOU FEEL SUFFOCATED BY THE PRESSURE OF A SITUATION, TRY THE STOP PRACTICE. STOP STANDS FOR STOP, TAKE A BREATH, OBSERVE, AND PROCEED. HERE ARE THE FOUR STEPS IN DETAIL.

1. STOP WHATEVER YOU’RE DOING AND BECOME AWARE OF THE PRESENT MOMENT.

2. TAKE A BREATH. OR TWO. OR TEN.

3. OBSERVE YOUR BODY AND SCAN IT FOR ANY SENSATIONS, TENSION, EMOTIONS THAT ARE PRESENT.

4. PROCEED. CARRY ON WITH LIFE AND SET AN INTENTION GUIDED BY “WHAT’S MOST IMPORTANT AS I MOVE FORWARD?”. IT MAY EVEN BE THAT YOU NEED TO CYCLE THROUGH THE STOP PRACTICE AGAIN!

Welcome to Perform Better!

Welcome to Perform Better!

Welcome to our final module - Perform Better! I think it’s a good idea to launch this module by recognizing the presence of stress in our lives and making choices about how to respond. The reason for this is that if we can rise to the challenges that we are faced with, perform to our potential, then recover and regenerate optimally we will ultimately reach our potential.

So in this post, I want to share with you how to use stress to your advantage and minimize its negative effects so you can perform better.

Surprised that there are advantages to stress? Many people are. But stress is a lot like food: none at all is bad for us and too much can make us sick. We can learn to lower stress levels and help our bodies and minds to recover after periods of high stress.

Each of us has different stresses in our lives, and what bothers one person may not even register for another. But here’s what we have in common: our brains perceive a stressful situation as a threat. We respond to threats in our environment (sabre-tooth tiger or competition for food) by increasing our ability to perform physically and mentally (run faster or fight better). We activate a cascade of events that involve the brain, the spinal cord and a number of endocrine glands that release hormones.

The activation of the nervous system and the powerful effect of hormones improves our brain function and the strength and power of our muscles. The upside is that we are built to improve our performance. The problem is that running and fighting are not acceptable responses when your teacher announces an upcoming project or test.

So while we’re surrounded by many stress triggers, the answer isn’t to eliminate stress. There is upside and downside. We’re going to look at both, so you can perform better than ever.

Today's POWER-UP: Micro-Breaks

THE KEY TO MANAGING CHRONIC STRESS IS TO BREAK IT UP AND TO TAKE BREAKS. BUILD MICRO BREAKS INTO YOUR DAYS.

THE ANALOGY FOR HOW TO DEAL WITH CHRONIC STRESS IS THIS: IMAGINE HOLDING A GLASS OF WATER UP WITH A STRAIGHT ARM OUT TO THE SIDE OF YOUR BODY. FOR A FEW MINUTES ITS EASY TO HOLD THE WATER. BUT AFTER AWHILE THE DISCOMFORT BUILDS UP AND EVENTUALLY BECOMES PAINFUL. BUT WHEN YOU TAKE A BREAK THE BODY RECOVERS AND REGENERATES.

GIVEN BREAKS BETWEEN STRESSORS WE EVEN BECOME STRONGER. WITHOUT THE BREAKS WE GET INJURED AND SICK. SO THE NEXT TIME YOU'RE STUDYING FOR A BIG TEST SEE IF YOU CAN ADD A FEW BREAKS TO YOUR ROUTINE. GO FOR A WALK, DRINK SOME WATER, MEDITATE, OR TALK TO A FRIEND.

Dive Deeper

Check out this TED talk by Kelly McGonigal on how to make stress your friend.

 The Exam Plan 2

The Exam Plan 2

Recently there has been a lot of talk in schools about STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. I'm hoping we can add to that conversation with STEM 1.0 - Sleep, Think, Eat and Move. I believe these are the foundations upon which we can build learning, creativity, problem solving and ultimately better health and performance.

This week I'd like to show you how we can apply STEM 1.0 to a critical moment - exams. To do this we need to begin with the end in mind. How do we want to be before, during, and after exams? Energized, confident, calm, and focused are words that come to mind.

When I think of those words Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price comes to mind. He epitomizes calm, cool, collected high performance. But that state is not an accident. He gets that way before performances by following specific routines and practices that help him get in the zone.

That's exactly what Joannie Rochette did at the Vancouver Olympics when she stepped out on the ice to perform in figure skating right after her mother passed away. She used deep breathing to calm herself down and get back in the zone before delivering the performance of a lifetime to win a bronze medal.

This principle, of using systematic routines and strategies to ensure performance under pressure can be used to excel in academics, music, drama, sports, and business. Helping you build your own strategies and routines that you can use to prepare for exams is a great way to help build awareness and tools that you can use for exams and many other moments during your lives.

So here we go. This whole process began with a question from a student:

"I would like to ask for your advice on what to eat on my very important SAT test day.

We are expected to arrive at the test centre at 7:45 am.
 
The test starts at approximately 8:30 and lasts for 3 hours and 45 minutes.
 
I am wondering what I should eat for breakfast and during the breaks.

This is one of the most important tests I will write and want to make sure that I prepare in the best possible way.”

Here is how I answered:

"Wake up 6:00.

Shower - hot water really hot!

Bring all your stuff downstairs.

Breakfast: I recommend eggs (3-4), avocado, & green veggies.

Water and green tea.

Drive to test for 7:30 arrival.

Go for a hard 5-10 min walk.

Go inside at 7:45.

Relax and chill.

Sip water all morning.

Kick some ass!"

OK now let's break this down:

WAKE UP AT 6:00

In order to be able to perform at a world class level sleep is essential. We've been over this before. Ideally, we need about 7.5 hours of sleep to recover and regenerate. We learn in the first half of sleep and we improve creativity and problem solving in the second half of sleep. So in addition to setting a wake-up time, the most important thing to do is to set a go-to-bed time. You can set a bedtime reminder in iOS if you have an iPhone. Go to clock > Bedtime. If anyone has an android device with a similar function please post that in the comments section below.

BREAKFAST: RECOMMEND ORGANIC OMEGA-3 EGGS (3-4) AVOCADO, SOME GREEN VEGGIES

The key here is to accomplish 2 things: 1) eat higher levels of protein than carbohydrates, and 2) to have healthy fats.

High protein meals help to set the stage for the creation of neurotransmitters in the brain that help us to focus. High carbohydrate meals help us to relax and widen focus making it difficult to concentrate. Hence the recommendation for eggs and veggies. A spinach omelette is a great option. A protein smoothie with greens is also good (be careful of adding fruit due to high sugar levels). You can substitute any protein you want for eggs.

The avocado is a source of healthy fats that provide long term energy with minimal energy spikes and crashes that can happen with a high carb meal. Coconut and other nuts are also great sources of healthy fats.

WATER (Sip before and during the performance)

You need water to fuel the Krebs cycle which is the energy pathway inside all our cells. Drink water, enjoy more energy. *Bring a water bottle into the exam / performance event if you can*.

GREEN TEA (30-15 minutes before start)

There is no question that caffeine improves mental and physical performance. Green tea has been shown to have numerous health benefits. Merging the small dose of caffeine that comes with green tea helps to leverage better performance and better health.

Try to time the caffeine so that you can take advantage of the improved performance that peaks 30-60 minutes after ingestion. Avoid the caffeine withdrawal that happens 3-4 hours after ingestion. I don't use caffeine on days with multiple performance events (i.e. a presentation in the morning and teaching a class in the afternoon).

GO FOR A HARD 5-10 MINUTE WALK (15 minutes before start)

As little as 15 minutes of exercise improves mental performance, so add this to your pre-exam routine. Exercise primes the brain for mental performance. This exercise will increase the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the brain and improve your mental performance.

RELAX AND CHILL

The final piece of the puzzle is to get you into your own high performance zone. Not too anxious or nervous, and not too calm. Energized, collected and confident. If you're too nervous take a few breaths to calm down. If you're not psyched up enough remind yourself of the importance of the event or the dream that you're trying to accomplish.

KICK SOME ASS!

Go out there and deliver the performance! Have fun!

Today's POWER-UP: Your Performance Plan

So now we need to build the plan. I recommend following this sequence:

What do I need to do the day before the performance?

What time do I need to be sleeping by?

What time should I set my alarm?

What am I going to do / eat 3 hours before the event?

What am I going to do / eat 90 minutes before the event?

What am I going to do / eat 30 minutes before the event?

What am I going to do / eat 15 minutes before the event?

What am I going to do / eat during the event?

You can download the Performance Plan Worksheet here.

Have a great day and never hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.