Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Self-Discipline – The Key to Productivity

Dan Kennedy and me at Glazer-Kennedy SuperConference

Dan Kennedy, a marketing mentor to entrepreneurs and small businesses, is one of the most prolific writers I know. He publishes one or two books each year and contributes original articles to several newsletters every month. People are amazed at the number of written words he’s able to produce in a single year.

Now Dan will be the first to tell you that he enjoys goofing off as much as anyone else. So what’s his secret to achieving such consistently high levels of performance? Working to deadlines. He uses what he calls “self-imposed” discipline to complete his ambitious task list each day.

What you should do is often at odds with what you want to do. It’s tough to stay on track and follow through, especially when you could be doing something more fun. That’s why many people don't reach their goals – they’re just not willing to say NO to the easy stuff and YES to the hard stuff often enough.

But when you don’t impose discipline on yourself, you can’t achieve the long-term results you want. Your self-respect suffers because you let yourself down and you lose confidence in your ability to get things done.

So what’s the solution? The first step is to recognize that self-control has to come from within you. No one else can give you discipline. Don’t blame circumstances or other people for your failure to stay on track. Take full responsibility for what you want to achieve.

Next, make a conscious decision to control your thoughts and your actions. Put yourself under a self-imposed plan with start times, stop times and deadlines. Then stick with your schedule, even when you’re tired or you feel lazy. Just say no to other activities and do what you committed to do.

Finally, keep track. Measure your progress at the end of each day, and hold yourself accountable for what you accomplished. At the same time, review the payoffs you got from completing these tasks. This will fuel your motivation and help you stick with your plan.

These steps will not help you, though, unless you have a big “WHY.” You must have a vision or goal that’s significant enough to drive you to do what you need to do, even when you don’t feel like it. Figure out your purpose, and you’ll be amazed at the self-discipline you can apply.
“How different our lives are when we really know what is deeply important to us, and keeping that picture in mind, we manage ourselves each day to be and to do what really matters most.” – Stephen Covey, American author (1932- )


  1. Everyone thinks of "discipline' as 'have to'. But the root word is disciple, following what inspires and excites you. A key to discipline then is to be so in love with the results you want to produce that you flow towards it. Of course good intention is not good enough. Needing to develop a habit is part of the process. Here's a 6 step process for how to make room for a positive habit that could help: http://wp.me/p1ChF9-4V

  2. Thanks for the very interesting (and Oh so true) post!
    What motivates me is seeing the result of day by day self-improvement.
    I'm writing a blog on self-discipline, which is key when it comes to increasing your productivity.

    Maybe you will like to read some about it on my blog?

    Thanks and keep it up =)

  3. I wanted to understand more about a maker mindset, and being in the elementary school I started to think about how playing, inventing, creating, exploring and so on naturally seemed to lead to curiosity, investigation, discovery and learning.sound therapy


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