Fri | Sep 25, 2020

Glenford Smith | The power of extreme discipline

Published:Thursday | March 2, 2017 | 12:00 AM

In response to a recent article published by The Gleaner on Sunday February 26, 2017, titled 'The Perils of Inattention', I received the following letter, which said in part:

"I must congratulate you on such a well-written article. I think in order to be efficient and productive at what one does, he or she has to exercise profound discipline. There is so much distraction one has to deal with on a daily basis. To be successful, one definitely has to be focused, put in quality time, and try to achieve short-term goals."

This reader has put her finger on the pulse of the problem. Discipline. Or rather, lack of discipline. This column will take a closer look at this problem of lack of discipline.

I got a lot of responses from the article besides hers.

One man wrote: "I'm alarmed by what I witness with some people at the office. One lady, as soon as it looks like she has no one over her, or she's off the work phone, she goes on her cell phone. She is into Facebook and she's fixing photographs on her phone."

One lady wrote, in part: "I was taking a taxi when I saw the driver take out his cellular phone and he started to text. He kept on texting someone on his phone while driving. I had to get mad with him and told him that either he drop me off, or stop text."


No concentration


And one teacher, I surmised, said, "One boy said to me he couldn't concentrate for the rest of day if he left his phone for a day."

I could add that everywhere you go you see Jamaicans on their phones, texting messages, playing games, doing social media, or just talking. It would be alarming if one were to add up the lost time to companies. If one adds in time surfing and going from site to site with no goal in mind, it's a lot of wasted time.

Which brings us back to discipline. The reader says that if we ever hope to get maximum productivity out of ourselves, we need profound discipline. What does this entail?

We suggested, in the previous article, enforcing a strict 'do not disturb' sign. But what if you're by yourself. You've done all that and you still find yourself wasting time?

It's time for extreme discipline. This entails shutting off your phone and disciplining yourself to do only one task at a time and refusing to be diverted from your purposes.

I return to the simple fact to get anything done, we must pay attention to it. Extreme discipline will enable us to do this. A system where you take a period to check for phone calls or email messages can be initiated. All of this is just for us to be back in charge of our lives instead of our technology.

Someone like Suze Orman proves that extreme discipline works. She's a personal finance guru, best-selling author, columnist, businesswoman, and television host. You'd be forgiven if you thought she was caught in the multitasking, technology-driven madness. But she's not.

She shuts off her phone at designated times when she's focused, does not multitask, does not get diverted and distracted. She practises extreme discipline.

- Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'.