Article by Lotte Wilms ITU Triathlete and Chris' Life Partner

Performance multipliers are simple things that make a huge difference.

Performance Multipliers

Back in the 60’s and 70’s there was a very clear definition about the workplace and hours: from Monday till Friday around the 8-9 hours work from 9am – 5 pm.

Now, it is different. Besides we live in a COVID 2020 century the modern active population complains there is no dividing line between work & private which results in personal conflicts, stress, divorces, burnouts: you name it.

You think, how did this happen over the years? Where did we lose the control over structure, habits and rituals?

First, the world created a global organisation that doesn’t sleep. This day’s conversations and meeting find place in 10 different time zones. Think about this: when I get a call from my family overseas it is most of the time after dinner (in my time zone) and breakfast at my family zone. They feel fresh after an 8 hour sleep and all I want to do is chill on the sofa watch some meaningless Netflix to put my brain to sleep. Instead, I have to be alert, focused and listening to another conversation but my body has had enough. Our body & mind can’t just be available 24 hours. Think about an engine: it doesn’t run for 24 hours. There is a moment when it will run out of oil or water and will break down.

Second, these days and especially now we live in a COVID century we have developed a communication technology that allows us to work wherever we want:: in the car, at home or at that tropical beach in Byron Bay. You name it.

Thirdly, organisations ask employees to work long hours. Especially young employees who came fresh form University with lots of energy who think they have to prove themselves to others by being proud of how many hours they can work to get them out of that shittie printing job to a proper accountant. By the time they arrive at the real deal, they have a burnout and no friends.

Last one: families with both providers of income and so both having a career are struggling to make time for family, parents and friends.


When I studied HR at University and competed as a professional athlete in swimming I always asked myself: what can organisations learn from pro- athletes? I wrote my thesis on this topic but I as I continue my career as an athlete I learn new concepts for peak performance everyday.

My coach recently taught me the 5 steps method of performance development and how important it is to go through them one step at a time:

1. Preparation
2. Prime
3 Movement
4. Strengthen
5. Conditioning/Training

In this article I like to share my thoughts about the second step: performance multipliers.

Performance multipliers is the second step an athlete has to follow through before they can move through steps 3 and 4 to arrive at the last step: training. I'd love to give you an explanation of this second step as it might help you to understand better how important balance in life is to be healthy & successful.

When you think about performance multipliers they have multiple benefits and have a few, or even zero, risks. How great is that: a big performance gain in your life with zero risk? A dream comes true.

As an athlete you must build on step 2, performance multipliers in order to achieve progress in the next steps. Let me explain: Performance multipliers will multiply your efforts. For example: sleeping deeply for 8 hours or more. It improves your physical, mental and emotional health. It is a win-win-win strategy and you only have to sleep deeply for that! This is a strategy in life that gives you many benefits with virtually no risk. In contrast, working long hours or training really hard has many risks associated with it. If i want to improve my performance I do it by either doing more speed work in my running sequences or sleep longer/deeper. The increased training load has a lot of risks: sensitive for injuries, overtraining and exhaustion. This is not saying I don't do speed work because you need speed work to become a faster runner however, if I just do more speed work the risks are too high, and my return on time and effort is laboriously slow. instead, I do more sleep. It's a performance multiplier and my speed increases with just a small adjustment in training load.

Another great example of a performance multiplier is strength training: it improves my power, keeps me injury free and I improve my running efficiency. The strength training is relatively risk free and has massive gains in speed. Far better return for effort than more volumes of high risk speed work at the track.

So how do I relate this to an office career? Well, working overtime hours or working across different time zones is like track speed work, it will causes you ”injury” burnouts, exhaustion or even worse a divorce.

It might be better off for you, if you have these demands and expectations on yourself and your time to first prioritise your performance multipliers before you start the work (step 5).

More time in a better health like sleeping and nutrition has multiplier benefits to improve physical, mental and emotional health. Performance multipliers are in your control.

Yes, I hear you: you can’t say no to your employer. Overtime hours are needed, working from home is the new normal and we are living in a 10 time zone world. However, you can choose how to arrive there to think as Chris says "how do I get more done in less time" and the answer will come down to what gives you the most benefit. If you start with fixing the overtime hours (step 5) you have signed up for that burn out and divorce. It happens still daily to best athletes in the world: they start with hard training, many hours and push themselves over the red zone. That strategy lasts for four maybe five months before they arrive home at the bench with a stress fracture, broken hamstring or overtrained.

Using the performance multiplier concept of sport training, (Step 2) you might be better off to start to focussing on nutrition. Plan your meals: prepare them before you go to work instead of reaching for survival carbs from the fast food or the café around the corner.

Missing meals, poor sleep, and then working long hours to get more work done is not sustainable and really not essential. Skipping step 2, will not get you through the overtime hours your boss asks you to do by eating quick sugars and so you'll come home wounded, grumpy and out of energy all the time. Think about that… am I right?

Reaching the top in the world doesn’t happen overnight. And, when you decide to take some steps out of the progression, including performance multipliers, it doesn’t mean you will reach the top faster. It means you take unnecessarily longer.

Yours in Sport and Life


All Posts

Almost done…

We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!