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Discipline helps to make a ‘winner’

It’s been a long fall, but the hockey strike is finally over. Just about everyone has an opinion, and there’s plenty of ongoing discussion about the actual outcome.

Regardless of whether you’re a fan or not, most of us recognize that the players are professional athletes. Dedication to their sport means adhering to strict training routines that enable them to play at optimum levels of competition.

Whether it’s sports, business or life, focused discipline helps to make a “winner.”

For many, self-discipline sounds tedious and restrictive. However, statistics prove that the most successful people are those that establish well-thought-out, written goals, and follow a disciplined system to achieve them.

Time management is self-management, and self-management requires discipline.

Self-discipline is not a natural state for the majority of us. But truthfully, we all have the ability to consciously manage the decisions and actions we undertake every day.

Being successful is hard work, so begin by creating an uncluttered environment.

It is easier to perform tasks when everything is where you need it and easy to find.

If you can’t accomplish this on your own, hire a professional that specializes in office organization to help build a system that works for you.

There is a big difference between being busy and being productive. A disciplined approach to managing small activities will result in increase productivity and measurable outcomes. The first step is to set aside uninterrupted time.

Dedicate 15 minutes each day to tasks and activities that promote personal and business growth. Schedule your routine activities several weeks in advance. Prioritize each day’s tasks the evening before.

Using this simple system will help to maximize personal productivity by at least 20 per cent.

As human beings we prefer to do the things we like, or the things that are the easiest to do. Many business tasks are routine but necessary. We procrastinate when we have activities that stretch our comfort zone.

Best practices show that accomplishing the most challenging thing first — that task that hangs over your head — alleviates your stress and boosts energy and increases momentum.

According to Brian Tracy, every minute spent in planning saves as many as 10 minutes in execution. In other words, 10 to 12 minutes daily planning can save you two hours of wasted time and effort throughout the day. Make a habit of tackling the tasks that have the most impact, first.

A variety of organizing systems are available to help manage personal and business activities. Whether a smart phone, diary, calendar or even daily planning sheet, these tools are useless unless you have the discipline to use them effectively.

Although technology has improved efficiency, it has also created unique issues. It’s so easy to be distracted.

Most interruptions are not urgent, or even very important. There is that constant urge to look and respond, which can add up to minutes and even hours of your business day.

Most business owners are very busy, but are they busy doing the right things? Are you performing in your role, and is your time spent taking you closer to your goals?

Everyone in the company, including the owner, must have a job description. An organizational structure with key roles and areas of responsibility is crucial.

Don’t interfere or take on another’s responsibilities unless circumstances require the owner/manager level to be involved. Delegate to staff that have the appropriate skills.

Commit to build in and practise these simple techniques over the next 30 days. You have invested in your role, your company, your business. Mastering your time is the foundation for achieving your goals in every aspect of your life — self-discipline is the price.

ActionCoach is written by John MacKenzie of ActionCoach, which helps small- to medium-sized businesses and other organizations. He can be contacted at or by phone at 403-340-0880.



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