Organize Tomorrow Today – Dr. Jason Selk

Here are 3 other tips to become more productive as stated from the book:

How can you better optimize your performance at work and in life? Dr. Jason Selk, Director of Mental Training for the St Louis Cardinals, who helped the team win their first World Series in over 20 years, and in 2011 assisted the Cardinals in the historic feat of winning their second World Championship in a six year period, gives 8 tips on ways to increase your productivity to perform better. The 8 ways are: 1) Organize tomorrow today. 2) Choose wisely. 3) Maximize your time. 4) Win your fight-throughs. 5) Evaluate Correctly. 6) Learn how to talk to yourself. 7) Learn how to talk with others. 8) Become abnormal. Here are some of the points to the book.


1. In my opinion, I think people these days confuse the word busy with productive. I believe that people feel obligated to be “busy” as a front to show off how “important” they are. However, if you look at the underlying content of what they actually produce, it doesn’t amount up to what it should based off of how “busy” they are. Rather than dabbling in a bunch of things, focus on mastery on one thing. Secure and become a master of your priorities first before moving on to the next thing.College football is one of the most competitive arenas around—in sports or business. The competition doesn’t just happen on the field, during the season. Recruiting is a brutal business, and training eighteen-year-olds to succeed on both the field and in the classroom is a complicated job. That’s why what Nick Saban has done since 2000, first at LSU and now at Alabama, is so amazing. Saban’s teams have won four national championships in that span. Only Bear Bryant, Alabama’s coach from 1958 to 1982, won more. It’s tempting to attribute Saban’s success to great recruiting and superior in-game coaching tactics. But in reality, most of the other power programs handle those parts of the process in a very similar way. And Saban’s offensive and defensive schemes have always been considered pretty straightforward. What Saban does differently—and what causes his program to be the one that other top schools try to copy—is redefine ‘success’ for each individual player and coach working under him. Coaches and players at Alabama don’t talk about winning and losing. They talk about consistency of preparation and effort, and about consistently excelling at the few core priority tasks they have each day. Coach Saban doesn’t ask his players and coaches to accomplish everything in a given day, and he doesn’t require them to do everything they possibly can to ‘improve.’ He knows that if players are trying to focus on ‘everything,’ in essence they are focused on nothing. He teaches the fundamentals, and he helps them establish their priorities for the next day—and the next week, and the next season. These priorities become known as ‘the process.’


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2. Plan for tomorrow today. Instead of just waking up and going with the flow, like most people do as I believe, have a morning routine and a plan of action. Before reacting to other people’s agenda, think about yourself first and prioritize your day. Think about 3 important things that you want to get done in the day and write them down. After you’ve written them down, of those 3 things pick one of them that you “must” get done that day. Although 3 actions may not seem like much, this will move you much further than you think.It doesn’t matter how organized, efficient, and energized you are. You will never get everything done every single day. That’s just too high a bar to set. But you can resolve to always get to your most important tasks and conversations. The Organizing Tomorrow Today strategy will help you do this. It starts with getting into the habit of taking about five minutes the day before to identify your priorities for the upcoming day. But instead of creating that laundry list we talked about before, you produce a simple, curated, prioritized list. The first part of the list is called the ‘3 Most Important.’ It’s just as it sounds—the three most important tasks you need to complete the next day. Your goal is to build out your list of three tasks, along with the time of day you’ll have each one completed. It’s important to say that the tasks on this list aren’t full-blown projects that must have all of their steps completed in a single day. The tasks can and should be specific component tasks that work as a part of the whole. The key is to list important, ambitious, but realistic tasks that can reasonably be completed during the day. Small, day-to-day successes are the building blocks of achievement. The second part of the list is called the ‘1 Must.’ Once you’ve determined your ‘3 Most Important,’ you choose the ‘1 Must’ from these three items. It is the single most important task or conversation you need to have that day. Multiple studies in the subfield of quantitative behavioral analysis pioneered by B. F. Skinner in the 1930s have proven what you probably already intuitively feel day-to-day—that if you start moving on a task or a project, it’s easier to keep in motion on that task. It’s the human brain’s version of the classic physics rule of inertia: A body in motion tends to stay in motion, while a body at rest tends to stay at rest. The best way to promote action is to identify just one thing, and then attack. Picking that most important to-do item creates the momentum.


3. I’m not sure who said it but one of the best quotes I’ve heard is, “You’re not defined by what you say ‘Yes’ to but rather what you say ‘No’ to.” I think that too many people are saying ‘Yes’ to other people’s agenda and that’s stopping them from reaching their full potential. I think that if people took the time to just think about themselves and what they want out of life, that they would have a more meaningful life rather than just going with what others want from them. Block out the noise and stop caring so much what others think of you or how they think of you and just live life on your own terms.Leading up to the 1998 NFL draft, Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning was considered to be one of the top prospects in all of college football. Manning was considered to be intelligent and hard working, but his arm strength wasn’t considered to be the strongest in the draft. Even though the Colts’ scouts favored another quarterback, Colts general manager Ed Polian decided to pick Manning. Manning hit the ground running after the draft, focusing on one thing: burying himself at the Colts’ team facility to learn the playbook. He was the Colts’ starter from the first game of his rookie season, and he would go on to become one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. You are more like Peyton Manning than you think. He is not the most gifted athlete on the field, and other quarterbacks are stronger and faster and younger. Yet he is a consistent winner. He walks up to the line of scrimmage with the play that has been called from the sidelines. Once the ball is snapped, he’s going to have things coming at him from all angles. Throughout the day some things will go his way and some things won’t. There may even be a time or two when he gets slammed to the turf and has to pick himself back up and go at it again. You walk into your office and, chances are, things start immediately flying at you from all directions. Throughout your day, you’ll feel ahead sometimes and behind other times. There may even be a time or two when you feel like a 350-pound lineman has just planted you into the dirt. Just like Manning, you have to find the strength to get back to your feet and re-engage. Peyton Manning has been able to do it year after year after year because he chooses wisely and does one thing exceptionally well. He is relentless with his preparation—and you can be, too. Choosing wisely is difficult because it is counterintuitive. It is much easier to put a laundry list together of all the possible things you need to get done each day than it is to actually choose your one most important task and then master it.


4. Make every minute of your day count. I’m quite positive that there are sometimes unplanned gaps of time that pop up in your schedule. Rather than squandering that time, use it to get some stuff or work done. I’m sure that if you add up all of these random gaps of time in your schedule that it’ll add up to at least a couple of days of time over the course of a year. Personally, that’s how I’m able to get through roughly 2 books/week. I’ll carry around the book that I’m reading with me at all times. Whenever I know that I have at least a minute of spare time, I’ll take out my book and read it. These short reading sessions add up for me.Never mind not having enough time in the day. Randy Boll didn’t have enough time in his year. Even after being named one of the top ten performers at his Fortune 500 company, he was gunning for more. Randy told us he was hungry to reach his ultimate goal—to be No. 1 in his firm. He had always been a very organized and driven guy, and in the first few years in business, he had been able to crush his to-do list every day—which showed in his results. But recently, something had changed. The bar had been set higher, and he felt like there just weren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done—and even if there were, he had so many more distractions these days. Randy decided to start small and incorporate one of the basic ideas we’re going to talk about in this chapter. He was going to do what we call ‘time maximization.’ Over the course of the day, Randy—like anybody else—had a few minutes between meetings, or some time on the schedule he hadn’t planned on because of a cancellation or an early finish. He resolved that whenever three minutes of time came free—and he found that this kind of pause occurred, on average, three times during the course of the day—he would ask himself a simple question. ‘What can I get done in the next three minutes?’ And he’d consult the to-do list and knock out at least one important item from that list. By maximizing time and attacking the ‘open space,’ instead of allowing himself to waste the time, Randy was essentially creating nine extra minutes per day, five days a week. That translates into forty additional hours per year. This one simple change gave Randy an extra week per year to gain an edge on the competition.

By Ryan Timothy Lee


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