Stress Performance Curve

The Stress Performance Curve

This is a re-draw from last year. This Stress Performance Curve is based on Yerkes-Dodson Law. It shows us that we generally perform better when we’re under an optimal level of stress. When it comes to getting things done we have to have enough “stress” to create drive. This encourages us to get things done. Too much stress and we burn out and too little stress and we don’t have the ability to get going.

When You’re Under-Stressed

Then you’re under-stressed, it means that you’re not being challenged. This often happens to kids in school when the work isn’t challenging. When there’s no challenge there’s no drive to get something done. It’s very much a “why bother?” attitude.

That’s why many of us thrive in challenging careers or when doing work that we love.

When we’re in optimal stress we feel motivated but not so much that we’re overwhelmed. We want to stay around the middle where “good stress” makes us feel creative and focused. This is when we feel like we have just enough work to keep us busy but not enough that we feel like we can’t get it done.

The Stress Performance Curve can translate to our home lives, our careers, and our school work.

When you’re constantly stuck in the high-stress zone, you’ll find that all stress is bad stress because you’re already at your max capacity. Even if there’s nothing you can do about your stress levels (because sometimes there isn’t) it’s important to keep an eye on where you’re at and do what you can to get to that optimal level, or a lower level (we can’t always be productive and that’s absolutely okay!)

Where do you fall on the Stress Performance Curve today?

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