There’s a proliferation of self-help books that use sports as a metaphor for life. But here’s a book that goes beyond metaphor: Organize Tomorrow Today: 8 Ways to Retrain Your Mind to Optimize Performance at Work and in Life (Da Capo Press), by Dr. Jason Selk and Tom Bartow. Selk was director of mental training for the St. Louis Cardinals and helped the struggling team win three division titles and two World Series Championships and has worked with Olympians and pro athletes. Bartow, a business coach who used to coach college basketball, is known as the person who rewrote the book on training financial advisors.
Together, the authors applied their experience with a range of high achievers to a book designed for the rest of us. Acknowledging that their clients may indeed be faster, taller, stronger or smarter, Selk and Bartow note that what sets such people apart is how they think, prepare and prioritize, and that we can all make use of this approach.
So just how do overachievers achieve? According to the concept of “channel capacity,” multitasking is actually a myth: Human beings can’t process more than three things at once. When we try to, it’s counterproductive. As the authors explain, highly successful people don’t multitask. They never get everything done in any given day. Instead, they tackle the most important tasks: a huge distinction, particularly in this era of smart phones, text messaging, virtual meetings, and social media. Barraged as we are by information and to-do lists, the common question is often how we can handle it all. If we operate from the concept of channel capacity, we can forget about that question, and simply and effectively apply our energy to one thing at a time.
Step by step, in eight well-organized chapters, and using a series of practical exercises, Selk and Bartow show readers how to establish priorities, make the right decisions, and develop our own forms of motivation. Instead of being busy for the sake of being busy, we learn quality over quantity, accomplishing the day’s most important tasks instead of trying to complete the greatest number of tasks. We learn to employ “time maximization” — create more time rather than try to accomplish more with the little time we have. We learn how to stop seeking perfection in how we work, and instead make small, incremental improvements, which go farther in changing our habits and behaviors. In essence, we retrain our minds to work better, not more.
Organize Tomorrow Today is a lively read. Each of its chapters addresses a single issue; master just one, the authors believe, and a reader’s performance will improve significantly. Just don’t try to tackle too every concept at once. After all, our minds can process only so much information. But this is a book well worth taking the time for. Learn more at www.enhancedperformanceinc.com.