An middle aged executive recently measured for his PQ Digital Report recorded a PQ Peak Stress score of 8.2 out of 10. This was the highest score for the week. It occurred on Saturday morning at 10.43 am, towards the end of a habitual weekend 8 mile run. The highest recorded Peak Stress Response during the previous 5 working days was 7.3.
This data captures the challenge for executives as they manage their diary to support workplace performance, health and wellbeing. As a senior, high performing manager, this individual had filled his working week with meetings and decision-making. He believed that his weekend Recovery was enhanced by his weekly run. The data suggested that the balance of effort was sub-optimal. Someone in his position would expect to record Peak Stress when a key decision was made, with his exercise regime supporting their Recovery capacity.
The concept of Eustress is used by many psychologists, often with elite athletes. It is equally applicable for the executive performance environment, where under-managed diaries and poor Recovery practices build Accumulated Stress and reduce an individual's ability to focus intensely to lift Peak Performance.
The diagram below shows the profile of an executive recording consistently high Peak Stress Response levels, both self-reported and HRV-measured. The significant feature is that the perceived effort scores closely to the physiological measurement. This executive consciously lifted their effort close to maximum
If executives are to manage themselves towards the Performance sweet spot of Eustress, then they must orientate their resources more consciously away from pervasive Stress, towards intermittent Peak Stress Responses supported by active Recovery patterns.