In This Episode…
One of the advantages of doing a podcast, journalling and tracking your time, is you start to see trends. As long as you are honest with yourself when you are presented with the facts, you can do a good analysis of what you see.
I’ve done just that and I realised I am faced with the consequences of a lack of discipline. There are also a couple of other problems I have that are affecting my ability to be productive. I discuss them in this episode.
Oh, this is Michael Tipper, and welcome to today’s episode of the Profit Productivity Podcast.
Today I want to talk about my discipline, or should I say the lack thereof, because I have spotted another alarming trend. And that trend is certainly getting in the way of me achieving what I want to achieve as fast as I want to achieve, or even as well as I want to achieve.
I’ve noticed my discipline has been severely lacking on more than one occasion. This has become apparent as I reflect about the episodes I’ve published so far.
This is episode 027. There are quite a few episodes where I talk about letting things slip. For example, episode 025 was called “I Don’t Know What This Episode Should be About”. That’s because I left things right until the very end of the day.
I let other things to get in the way. I wasn’t disciplined enough to record that episode earlier on in the day. And as a result it was a pathetic episode.
I’m even embarrassed to have published it, but because I had committed to doing an episode every day, I had to put something out. So there’s an element of discipline in doing that.
But because of a lack of discipline in the quality of the output, it wasn’t as good as any of my other episodes.
In one of my weekly summary episodes, I noticed I was getting side tracked and had double standards approaching my work. This was where I’d let myself down by not doing my morning routine. Or having said I was going to do one thing, I allowed something else to slip in and did that instead.
It’s been quite an interesting moment of realisation to see this evidence of my lack of discipline presented before me.
In episode 016, I spotted an alarming trend in how my days were going wrong a ten days or so ago. Whilst I’m doing episodes talking about things working for me, it’s been interesting to see the episodes where they haven’t. For example episode 013 was called “My Power Day Went Wrong – Doh!”.
Had I not been recording this podcast, I wouldn’t have spotted these reoccurrences of times when things haven’t gone to plan or I’ve allowed them to slip. I will say I’ve allowed them to because I could have kept focus. I could have done things earlier, but I’ve let my focus drift.
Another example of where my discipline is drifting is in the quality of the blog post associated with each episode.
I record the audio for each episode and then I publish it on the Internet through a number of podcast channels. Then I take the recording and put that on the ProfitProductivity.com blog with the edited transcript.
I edit the transcript to make it readable because sometimes when you see some of the things I say written down, the English is terrible and the grammar is awful. I also add other thoughts that come to mind or clarifications as to what I really meant during the recording.
But I’ve noticed I’ve started to do that less and less. Sometimes I’ll just do the show notes. It takes quite a lot of time to transcribe an episode. I have it transcribed automatically, but then I have to go in and edit it which does take quite a bit of time.
A quick way round that is simply to put in time stamped statements of what was being talked about at certain times. That takes 10 minutes or so for even a long episode.
If I don’t even do that, I’ll put a statement along the lines of “show notes to follow”. There are a couple of episodes where I have done that recently.
So my standards in the quality of the written versions of these podcasts has been declining.
Outside of the podcasts, I’ve also noticed I’m putting off trivial tasks.
Today is Friday. It’s my Power Day where I go through all of my outstanding administration tasks and catch up on things I’ve let slip during the week. [Based on what I’m sharing in this episode, that means there’s a lot to catch up with!] There’s still things that were here two or three Fridays ago that I’ve not done that I could have done.
I’ve also been letting things over run. This week my focus has definitely drifted.
It’s been a bank holiday week. So Monday wasn’t as active as a normal Monday. I had a meeting yesterday that wiped out the whole day. And today is a power day. So effectively I’ve had two days working on my project out what normally would be four days.
For my SCRUM Project, my velocity for last week was 12. This week at time of recording, it is 4! And so I’ve let that slip.
It’s interesting when I reflect on this to see these come up.
But this isn’t a new issue. I’ve known my discipline has been not to the standard I want for a long time now. And I say that because many people know me would consider me really disciplined especially about healthy eating and keeping myself fit.
In 2011 I wrote in my journal about my lack of discipline. I can remember I was at the Brisbane House hotel in Laargs in Scotland whilst delivering a leadership program when I wrote that entry.
I was reflecting on similar issues back then. So this isn’t a new issue for me.
There are a variety of reasons why I’m sure it is happening.
I need to unearth those and find out what they are. I’m certainly procrastinating and I’ve talked about procrastination in the past. I probably need to go back and start looking at dealing with the procrastination of little things as well.
But there are a couple of other factors that are contributing to me letting things slip. The first is my energy level sometimes drops off quite considerably towards the end of the afternoon. I’m more noticeably tired then than I have been for a long time.
That means the quality of my work and the quality of my diligence towards my work drifts towards the end of the day. That means it’s very easy for me to put things off especially if it requires a lot of thought.
It also feels like I’ve got a mental fog. My mind and my clarity of my thought is not as it once was. I’ve got a good reference point for that.
In my appearance at the World Memory Championships 20 years ago, I was able to memorise ridiculous amounts of numbers and packs of cards and all sorts of things. Whilst I still know how to do all those feats, I’m out of practice and I can feel the difference.
All these are factors contributing to me not being as diligent with my work; the discipline; the quality of my mental focus; my lack of energy.
Now I’m embarrassed to admit to having these challenges. But I’m striving towards increasing my productivity under these circumstances and I’m sure I’m not the only person struggling with them.
Whilst I am embarrassed to admit it, there’s no denying the truth. The facts are there because I’m tracking my time, because I’m tracking my results and because I’m doing this podcast. I’m doing all of that, but especially the podcast for accountability reasons.
I can see the data. I can’t run away from it. I have to face up to it. I’m encouraged I’m able to spot this and I’m encouraged I have the emotional maturity to admit it.
Now the question I need to ask myself is “What am I going to do about it?”
This could be the barrier towards me moving forward. I have a raft of techniques and tactics and strategies I can apply to my work. But underlying that, if my discipline isn’t strong enough, if I haven’t got the mental energy, nor the clarity of mind to apply myself, the techniques are irrelevant. It doesn’t matter how good these techniques and strategies are because I probably won’t use them or work them as well as they could be without discipline.
This morning ironically, I heard a quote from Tom Bilyeu, on one of his videos. He says, “if you’re panicking, you’re asking the wrong questions”.
Well I’m not exactly panicking, but I am concerned. So I brainstormed a number of questions I could ask myself to help me move out of this challenge of the lack of discipline.
How can I increase my discipline?
What’s getting in the way of me being disciplined and how can I remove them?
How can I have even more energy? I do have energy, but it’s how to have even more to apply to my work?
How can I sharpen up my mental focus?
How can I become even more focused, which might be the same question.
How can I concentrate for longer?
So those are the questions going through my mind now.
I’m only able to be aware of what’s happening because I journal, because I’ve got data to look at, because I’m tracking my time and because I’m doing this daily podcast.
I can see the evidence there and I’m pleased that I’ve spotted it.
And now the next step is to work out how I’m going answer those questions?
So that’s Today’s episode.