Crack That Whip! The Importance of Self-Discipline

Crack That Whip! The Importance of Self-Discipline  by Laura Stack #productivityDo you complete your workplace tasks within the promised timeframes? Or do deadlines ever slip past you, even as you curse your own stupidity? When that happens, it’s hard to focus on anything productive, because a dark cloud hangs over your head, and guilt sucks the energy right out of you.

If you ever think, “Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this right now,” you’re probably right. How much time could you save by tightening your self-control? If you arrived at work and didn’t stop for coffee, didn’t talk to a friend, didn’t fall into the email trap for 90 minutes, where could you use the extra time?

Instead of wasting your day, start cracking the whip of self-discipline. Several areas to think about include procrastination, tardiness, and perfectionism.

Um, Can We Talk About This Later…?

Sometimes we fail to accomplish things simply because we can’t seem to get the ball rolling…usually because, at some level, we don’t want to. Fear, dislike, over-scheduling, or intimidation may keep us from making it happen, even for tasks fully within our control.

Whatever the reason, the solution is always the same: get to work! If you must, break the task into more manageable chunks to make it easier. Schedule the project across a period of a week or two; for example, treat a 10-hour project as ten one-hour tasks. Just getting a plan out of your head can help you see how to best approach it. Do something to move toward completion. Just make sure you don’t put off your scheduled work, or it will all come to a head as a crisis come the deadline.

The Tardy Bird Gets Eaten

In confidential surveys I conduct with a sample of audience members before a speech, some of the most common confessions is a failure to meet deadlines, recurring tardiness, or forgetfulness. People are more irritated by lateness than you may realize. Tardiness dampens everything, from promotions to friendships. It crowds people, physically and mentally. When you fail to show up on time, you disrupt others’ schedules. Worse, submitting something late—no matter how well done—is a black mark against you.

Don’t be average.  Don’t be on time. Be EARLY. I’m not talking ridiculously early; don’t inconvenience your host by showing up for a party three hours early. But an early-bird attitude represents a way of thinking, a way of being, and a way to frame your behavior so you disappoint no one.

Put Perfection in its Place

Everything has a time and a place, including perfectionism. A year-end report? Fine; cross every “t” and dot every “i.” The routine status report everyone just files? Relax. Your time is too valuable to stress over small stuff. Know when to give your inner perfectionist a rest.

Those of us who take great pride in our perfectionism carry around too much baggage as a result. Nothing will ever be good enough, which leads to counterproductive behavior. A perfectionist‘s projects often hang in a frustrating limbo, wonderfully begun but never done.

Accountability Action Steps

When it comes to self-discipline, you’re the boss. No one else can make you buckle down and get to work, no matter how they try to motivate you. When it comes down to it, you won’t get anything done until you decide to get moving.

So do it! Completing a task you’ve been avoiding is its own reward. Good things flow into the space the guilt used to occupy. No longer paralyzed, you get your energy back.

Stop wasting time on unproductive activities. Eliminate anything that lacks long-term consequences for your work. Always do what needs to be done—even if you don’t feel like it.

Crack that whip on yourself!