Would you like to know the two most important secrets to being disciplined with your use of time? The remarkable thing is that they don't require willpower.
I understand that most business owners shudder when thinking about a need for greater discipline because they've always associated it with pain and effort.
But if you can have the benefits of discipline, without the effortful, painful part, that's a good thing right? Here is what I've learned from coaching several thousand business owners over the last decade with my business coaching company, Maui Mastermind.
Secret #1: Accountability--the first half of time "discipline".
There is a powerful drive in human nature that wants to be esteemed by those people you admire. One of the best ways to increase your time discipline is to have a formal accountability structure to someone whose respect you want to earn, and whose opinion of you you care deeply about.
This could be a formal business coach. This could be an informal board of directors. Or it could even be to your management team inside your company.
Who do you turn to who will hold you accountable for your actions and decisions within your business? Who coaches you to help you develop as a business owner? Who helps keep you on track? If you want to build a Level Three business, it's vital to have an accountability structure.
And you need this accountability to be formal, not ad hoc or hit or miss.
Formal means you make regular, timed commitments (e.g. weekly, bi-weekly, monthly) with a structured way you report on your results meeting those commitments. No hiding possible, just the naked truth that you stand up and own. Unflinchingly. (This one ingredient is perhaps the biggest reason we see our business coaching clients grow at an annual rate 7 times greater than the average privately held company in the United States--they have a structured accountability system that makes it impossible to hide.
Secret #2: Environment--the second half of time "discipline".
I have a confession to make: I am a chocolate addict. If chocolate is in my house then at 9 or 10pm I'm going to break down and binge on it. So how do I keep myself from doing that? Not from willpower, but rather by keeping chocolate out of my house. In other words, by controlling my environment so that it supports the behaviors I want to live by.
By controlling your environment, you make healthy, profitable behaviors for your business much easier. Remember, willpower can win a sprint, but rarely a marathon. To win the marathon of building a successful company, take control of your environment to ensure it supports your goals each day.
This means like create "focus" blocks of time where you turn off your cell phone, email program, and if need be, you turn off your Wi-Fi altogether so that for 2-4 hours you can do what matters most.
This could mean moving your office to be out of the flow of people in your company.
This could also mean working remotely one day a week to do your highest value project work away from the "fires" and interruptions of your office.
The bottom line is that the real secret of time discipline is to harness the power of accountability (and the social drive we all have to be esteemed by people we respect) and controlling your environment so that you design out those old distractions, at least for part of your week.
If you enjoyed the ideas I shared, then I encourage you to download a free copy of my newest book, Build a Business, Not a Job. Click here for full details and to get your complimentary copy.