Having a daily plan and following that plan is not difficult. It is very easy. Yet so many people fail to act on their plan and fail to achieve or complete the things they want to complete that day.
I’ve always found it fascinating that some people have the ability to remain focused on completing their tasks for the day yet others struggle to get more than ten percent of their tasks completed. The excuses I hear for not completing the work range from “I have a lot on my mind” to “I’m just not the organised kind of person” but really whether you get your tasks for the day completed or not comes down to your self-discipline.
There are other considerations. There’s the problem of trying to cram in far too many tasks. Having a long list of tasks for the day and a calendar full of appointments and meetings is not a good strategy. You are not going to get your tasks completed. You need to be realistic and disciplined about what you put on your task list for the day. And I do mean disciplined. If I look at my task list manager, I see I have somewhere in the region of over 250 tasks in there. That means each day I have to be disciplined about what I put on my list for the day. This is why I spend ten minutes at the end of each day planning what I will get done the next day. I know, from experience, I can complete around twenty tasks a day. If I tried to complete thirty, something would not get done. This means I have to be disciplined about what I allow on my list for the day.
How productive you are and how much you get done each day has nothing to do with your personality type or the work you do. It comes down to how disciplined you are. To stay on task and remain focused requires discipline. To make sure your to-do list for the day does not become a dumping ground for unimportant things requires discipline, and to sit down and get on with the work requires discipline.
Self-discipline goes deeper than what you get done each day. Self-discipline is required to write in your journal every day. Self-discipline is required to create your to-do list every day and you need the self-discipline to get out of bed every morning. Wherever you want to see improvement and advancement in your life, you will require self-discipline.
If you want to improve your productivity, improve your self-discipline. Self-discipline is at the core of all productive lives. Without it, you will never be productive.
The good news is to become more self-disciplined is not difficult. Start small. Start by making your bed every day before you leave the house and have a list of two things you really want to complete for the day, and for a whole month, make sure you get those two tasks done every day. These exercises will begin strengthening your self-discipline. Self-discipline is like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the more you use it, the stronger it will become. The great thing about building strength into your self-discipline is you will soon see benefits elsewhere in your life. If you strengthen your self-discipline by making your bed every morning and by making sure you get your two most important tasks for the day done, you will find you have the self-discipline to exercise regularly, to eat healthier food and this then builds more strength into your self-discipline and you become better and stronger is so many other areas of your life.
The downside to this is that if you give in to the temptation of not doing something when you know you really should be doing it, you weaken your self-discipline. The more you give in to temptation, the weaker your self-discipline becomes and you have to start all over again. The lesson here is, don’t give in. No matter what, keep going knowing that the less you want to do something, and you still do it, the stronger your self-discipline becomes.
If you really want to become better organised and more productive, improve your self-discipline. Focus on building strength into your discipline and make sure that no matter what, you get those tasks done. As Admiral William McRaven said in his talk to the students of The University of Texas, “start by making your bed”.
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