Self-discipline key to achieving success in any field

Our Canadian Olympic athletes deserve our praise and respect. While we know that these individuals are gifted, their dedication to perfecting their skills is inspiring. Success is due to the months and years of strict training they undertake in order to reach that level of competition.

Our Canadian Olympic athletes deserve our praise and respect.

While we know that these individuals are gifted, their dedication to perfecting their skills is inspiring. Success is due to the months and years of strict training they undertake in order to reach that level of competition.

I bet there are many days that when the alarm goes off they’d like to roll over and go back to sleep. Even though they have a good team and coach, they have mastered self-discipline.

Chances are you aren’t training for the Olympics, but the same principle of self-discipline is the key to achieving success. Whether it’s sports, business or life, focused discipline makes a winner.

Self-discipline requires a commitment to an established routine and the self-control to maintain the routine in order to achieve your goals.

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

Mastering your time is all about practising self-discipline. For the majority, this is not a natural state.

The truth is that we all have the ability to prioritize and to control our own activities. Time management is self-management.

There is a big difference between being busy and being productive. 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.

A variety of organizing systems are available; several exactly suited for your business to help manage activities. There are numerous tools to choose from: smart phones, diaries, calendars and daily planning sheets. However, all these tools are useless unless you have the discipline to use them effectively.

The first step is to set aside uninterrupted time to plan.

Schedule the routine activities several weeks in advance. Prioritize each day’s tasks the evening before. Before you make that first call, or answer your emails, take five minutes to look over the list.

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

Although technology has improved efficiency, it has also created unique issues. It’s so easy to be distracted by the smallest thing, most that are not urgent and not important.

There is that constant urge to look and respond to every little item, which can add up to minutes and even hours of your business day — wasted time that doesn’t contribute to your goals.

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 avoid the 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 momentum. Brian Tracy’s book, Eat That Frog, is an excellent resource that teaches how to organize your time and tackle the tasks that have the most impact on your day.

Everyone in your business, including the owner, must have job descriptions. 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 who have the appropriate skills.

Being successful is hard work, so make efforts to create an environment that gives you the time to focus. Schedule uninterrupted desk time to create and review long-term goals and key strategies.

Learn to say “No” nicely. This can be the most effective way to maximize your time but is often the hardest word to use in business.

Evaluate requests in the context of your own role in the business, or if the activity is going to help you achieve your goals.

Commit to take the next 30 days to practise these simple techniques. 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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