Whether it comes to being successful in business, one of the key ingredients is discipline. You need to get discipline and get things done! As I coach business clients, one of the common challenges at time is lack of discipline.
Here are 12 strategies to get better discipline in your business day:
1. Want it.
If you have a goal or ambition which you truly want, then it’s more likely that you will achieve that goal. You need to be passionate about the goal you are setting. If you don’t care either way, or it’s only a mild want, then chances are that it simply won’t happen. Don’t just want it – want it bad!
2. Ditch the excuses.
We can all make up excuses. I call this ‘living below the line’. Those who live below the line make up excuses and blame others. “I didn’t get around it because a client needed …” “The phone keeps ringing and I just don’t get time to ….” “My boss gave me a heap of work ….” “The dog ate my homework …” The list goes on and on … and if we allowed ourselves we could find a million excuses.
3. Don’t wait until you ‘feel like it’.
So you have something to do. It may be a task you don’t particularly enjoy so you keep putting it off. You’re waiting for the mood to grab you, or to get into the right head space. Perhaps you keep telling yourself you have to be ‘in the zone’ to make marketing calls or ring up customers and ask to be paid. The mood might never grab you – so take control and don’t wait for the right mood, feeling or inspiration. Do you think that the elite swimmer who gets up every single morning at 4am to swim a hundred laps ‘feels’ like it every day? I’m sure not, but they didn’t get to be the best by staying in bed and thinking “I’ll get up tomorrow instead”.
4. Honour yourself.
Often when we lack discipline, or don’t do the things we should do, we let down one main person – ourselves. Do yourself the honour of actioning whatever you are meant to do. Respect yourself and avoid that feeling of guilt by being self-disciplined. How can you expect others to respect you, when you do not respect yourself?
5. Don’t self-negotiate.
There are no ‘deals’ to be had and frankly I’m not an advocate of self-bribery, rewards or punishments. We are all now adults, and so unlike young children or dogs performing for treats, we simply need to get on with it and do what needs to be done. This follows in suit with the ‘sleep’ mode on your alarm clock. Don’t keep giving yourself ‘just another 5 minutes’, you are only making it harder for yourself and training yourself to delay, procrastinate and avoid the inevitable.
6. Set self-deadlines.
Some people work really well to deadlines and if that is you, then set your own deadlines. Perhaps making those frequently avoided phone calls part of the task. Whilst in reality you have no specific deadline, set one in your mind (and even in your calendar) that they will occur by a certain time on a certain day.
7. Eat the frog.
If you haven’t heard this concept visit www.briantracy.com. In short if there is something awful to do, then do it first and get it off your ‘plate’. If you have a task list for the week, then highlight the tasks you know you will want to avoid, and get them over first, allowing you to enjoy the rest of your day and rest of your week.
8. Schedule the right time of day.
I’m a morning person – no doubt about it. I am most productive at that time of day and get most of my most productive work done before noon. Accordingly I schedule the important and harder tasks for the mornings when I am at my optimum. Work out your productive and high energy time of day and schedule accordingly. Don’t put the fun, enjoyable or relaxing tasks at that time, put them at the other times of day when you might wane and make the most of your optimum time of day.
9. Remove temptations.
For whatever task you have to do, get organised, have all the tools ready to action that task and remove the distractions or temptations. If your phone is a distraction, turn it off. If Facebook notifications is a temptation to check out what is happening there, turn them off! If the TV, or friends or people chatting in the office are distractions/temptations then find ways to ‘turn them off’ too. It may be as simple as putting in headphones and listening to upbeat music (as long as that isn’t also a distraction). Remember that multi-tasking may in fact be a distraction too – so avoid it.
10. Set a consistent routine.
The best way of becoming disciplined is to set a routine. The elite swimmer who gets up every morning at 4am, does so every morning. They don’t sleep in Tuesday and Thursday and get up the other 5 days early. They do the same thing day in and day out, hail, rain or shine. It’s a habit and once you do the same thing, the same way over and over, the habit forms and we develop a routine. If that routine is to roll over, hit the snooze button on your alarm and go back to sleep, then guess what? That is what you will always do. Discipline is often about saying no consistently, or forcing yourself to do something, consistently.
11. Give Negative Nelly (or Ned) the flick!
Whether the negative person is someone you know, or in fact that little voice in your head saying you can’t do it – give them the flick. Stop listening to those negative thoughts, or people who tell you it can’t be done. It may be those around you are in fact jealous and don’t want to see you succeed, because it highlights their own inadequacies. If that is the case, that is their problem, not your problem, so don’t take ownership of those negative attitudes and thoughts.
12. Connect with inspiring people.
We are the sum of those we hang out with. If your friends and associates are disciplined and have good habits, we will more likely do the same. Reading, listening and connecting to inspiring people helps us to learn a different and positive state of mind. Just like your elite swimmer has a coach to encourage him, so do many elite entrepreneurs. Make it a habit to read, listen to or hang out with someone inspirational at least once a day and certainly once a week.
In my view, discipline is both a choice and a state of mind. Others can guide and prompt you, but at the end of the day, there is only one person who can make you disciplined – and that person is YOU. Make the decision today whether you really want to have discipline in your life in order to achieve your goals and ambitions and make a change happen. If there is something that you want and you know that it requires discipline, then perhaps it might be wise to print off this article, pop it by your bedside and look at it every night before you go to sleep. Make the conscious choice to change what you want to be different and if that is discipline, then take action today. Just do it!