The Eagle Blog

Discipline

Discipline is an “old fashioned” word … you won’t see it mentioned too much in our 21st Century, web 2.0 enabled world. The word reminds me of my time in the military, several decades ago … a time that is very different than the one we live in today. The implementation of “discipline” in the military is not really what I am focused on here, but there are a lot of positive attributes to associate to the word discipline … and they ARE really very pertinent today. Maybe I learned a little about discipline during my time in the Royal Navy!

What AM I talking about?

We live in a society where generally we get quite comfortable in our surroundings, and there is little that we deny ourselves. If we feel like something to eat, we eat … whether we are truly hungry or not. If we want to buy ourselves some treat, clothes, jewellery, electronics or whatever … whether we need it or not, whether it is a special occasion or not, we go ahead and buy it.

There really isn’t anything wrong with that … we just need to be aware of the consequences, because there are consequences to EVERYTHING! So if we over indulge in food we may put on weight, if we buy too much “stuff” we might get ourselves into debt etc.

Applying some SELF-discipline to these situations might make us act a little differently … but again, that is personal choice.

Where self-discipline is REALLY needed is at work!

It is very easy to let our personal habits invade the workplace … and that can hurt your productivity, your chances for promotion, your earning power and even your employ ability!

Let me give you some examples …

There are 8 hours in the typical work day … how many do you “waste”?

If you smoke then you probably waste 20 minutes each time you smoke a cigarette … between getting ready for a smoke, gathering your companions, going outside, chatting, waiting for your friends to finish and then walking back and getting back to work. If you smoke just 3 cigarettes in a day you wasted an hour … every day, more than half a day each week.

If you read the paper at your desk … maybe when you get to the office, or at “break” you might be wasting a half hour of productive time each day.

If you surf the Internet for some personal stuff, read online articles and stay on top of news you can easily waste an hour a day.

If you are instant messaging with your friends while doing your job you will be easily wasting hours.

If you get up and go for coffee/water every hour or so, stop and chit chat for a couple of minutes, maybe stop at the washroom … then that could be 10 minutes every hour, or more than hour every day!

These kind of behaviours become the “norm” in the workplace and get tolerated, but companies need productivity from their employees in order to survive in the global economy … never mind in the current recession!

If you do these things and are still be one of the most productive people in your company then perhaps you have tremendous discipline or focus for those hours that are not being wasted, and more power to you. The reality is that most people are very productive or they aren’t … and if you fall into the NOT category, then I reiterate … you risk your career, your chances for promotion and your very employ ability. More importantly you are not getting SELF-satisfaction!

Discipline is an old fashioned word that could help YOU to be a better employee, which gives the power back to you.

CHOOSE to be productive! Look at the top producers in your company and emulate them. Choose to stop doing the things that hurt your productivity. Choose to be very focused with your time, doing ONLY things that will bring value. WORK at being successful … and that means giving up bad habits and investing in new ones!

All of that takes DISCIPLINE … have you got what it takes?

The negative nellies out there will say that this is just a management perspective. I would suggest that this is the perspective of people that want success and are willing to do something about it. Everyone can strive to be better and enjoy the “wins” along the way. The personal satisfaction you get from self improvement, from recognition and from the resulting career moves are the rewards for this kind of approach. It helps that you get to keep your job too!


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4 thoughts on “Discipline

  1. Kevin, I both agree and at the same time disagree with you.

    The walk-about the office and long been one of my ways to become more productive. Staring at a spreadsheet or project plan for hours upon end, I need to take both a mental and physical break to keep up productivity. The key to these walk-abouts are to also make them productive. When I stop to chat, I am networking and gathering knowledge about what is going on in other projects around me. Often time that information becomes useful in my own project. I also learn about the skills and knowledge of my coworkers who may become a person on one of my project teams sometime in the future. Reading the newspaper or on-line news can also be helpful as I am constantly looking for items that might be of interest to my clients.

    Yes I check my personal email and facebook at work but then again I cannot remember the last time I worked and actual eight hour day. I do agree with you on the smoke break. This has long been one of my pet peeves and avoid putting smokers onto my project teams.

    David

  2. Kevin, I both agree and at the same time disagree with you.

    The walk-about the office and long been one of my ways to become more productive. Staring at a spreadsheet or project plan for hours upon end, I need to take both a mental and physical break to keep up productivity. The key to these walk-abouts are to also make them productive. When I stop to chat, I am networking and gathering knowledge about what is going on in other projects around me. Often time that information becomes useful in my own project. I also learn about the skills and knowledge of my coworkers who may become a person on one of my project teams sometime in the future. Reading the newspaper or on-line news can also be helpful as I am constantly looking for items that might be of interest to my clients.

    Yes I check my personal email and facebook at work but then again I cannot remember the last time I worked and actual eight hour day. I do agree with you on the smoke break. This has long been one of my pet peeves and avoid putting smokers onto my project teams.

    David

  3. Fair comments! I too check personal email and facebook at the office, and am definitely a “social” type of person.

    The issues come when it all gets out of hand and the “socialising” grows to become too large a part of the day, which tends to happen over time.

    By being cognizant of it, and sensitive to it, then people will minimise the disruption. None of us are robots and we all need a little break.

    It sounds like your “distractions” bring value to your role … and that you likely keep the purely personal tasks to a minimum. Nobody could ask more!

  4. Fair comments! I too check personal email and facebook at the office, and am definitely a “social” type of person.

    The issues come when it all gets out of hand and the “socialising” grows to become too large a part of the day, which tends to happen over time.

    By being cognizant of it, and sensitive to it, then people will minimise the disruption. None of us are robots and we all need a little break.

    It sounds like your “distractions” bring value to your role … and that you likely keep the purely personal tasks to a minimum. Nobody could ask more!

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