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"It takes time because to hold yourself accountable consistently means you have to train your mind."

Interview: Harris Kern, Author of ‘Going From Undisciplined to Self-Mastery: Five Simple Steps to Get You There’

DSC_0088 - standing up against wallHarris Kern is one of the world’s leading organization mentors and personal mentors. He is a frequent speaker at business, leadership and management conferences. His passion is to help people excel in their professional and personal life by helping them develop their self-discipline skills to combat the top issues: severe procrastination, poor time management, ineffective goal management, lack of focus, no sense of urgency and unmotivated. He also helps individuals improve their EQ skills (communication, relationship management, inter-personal, etc.) and leadership skills. He pioneered the Discipline Mentoring Program and Professional/Personal Growth Program (P²GP). Mr. Kern is also the author of over 40 books. Today here is here with us to talk about his latest work, Going From Undisciplined to Self-Mastery: Five Simple Steps to Get You There.

Welcome to Blogcritics, Harris. Please share with my readers what your book is about and what sets it apart from others in the subject?

For several reasons:

  • I’ve walked the talk for over 4 decades and I am highly accomplished because I am disciplined
  • My formula for success is based on case studies from hundreds of life coaching sessions and dozens of my Fortune 5000 and Global 2000 case studies I’ve facilitated. It’s the proof not the hype.
  • I utilize a very simple 5-step process

Why do you think books on productivity are so popular? Are people obsessed with productivity or is this something our culture imposes on us?

Because people have no choice but to do more with fewer resources. They’re typical line is there aren’t enough hours in a day between work and family obligations. I beg to differ — most people are horribly inefficient. The top issues are what I refer to as the dirty dozen:

The Dirty Dozen:

  • Severe procrastination
  • Failed goals
  • No motivation
  • No sense of urgency
  • Disorganized
  • Lack of structure
  • Not focused
  • Not managing sleep optimally
  • Poor performance
  • Poor time management
  • Lack of energy
  • Inconsistency

self-mastery-198x300Is self-discipline a habit one can develop?

Yes it is by following my 5 steps:

  1. Institute structure
  2. Prioritize your life
  3. Manage time effectively
  4. Hold yourself accountable
  5. Always seek perfection

But it takes time because to hold yourself accountable consistently means you have to train your mind. Training the mind is discussed thoroughly in the book.

How does one go from total procrastinator to disciplined and productive? Is it a long process?

Yes, it is a long process – there are several things you must do:

  • You have to train your mind to live life with a sense of urgency and to hold yourself accountable.
  • You have to get structured
    • Be organized  in every facet of life (home, work, email)
    • Your mind needs to remain clutter free
    • You must follow an efficient routine
    • You must adhere to a to-do list daily
  • Prioritize your life

How can students develop discipline or accomplish goals for things they don’t like? For example, completing a term paper.

  • There’s only one way and that’s to train your mind to do so regardless of the task. This is explained thoroughly in the book. Training the mind is a key success factor to becoming disciplined. Once your mind is trained and you are disciplined you will accomplish whatever the assignment or obligation.

How important are short-term goals as opposed to long-term goals?

Both are equally important. Several factors for effective goal management:

  • Don’t take on too much – failure is not an option once you’re disciplined – you never want to get used to failure
  • Plan each goal thoroughly
  • Establish daily milestones
  • Manage milestones not your goals.

What gets in the way of people’s productivity and what can we do to combat it?

The issues above – the dirty dozen get in the way of success. Acquiring discipline to combat those issues takes time and effort and the rewards are second-to-none. Unfortunately very few people want to invest the time to develop their self-discipline skills to combat these issues. They will eventually have no choice as the demands for their time continue to grow (work, personal, health, family obligations) . Follow the 5 steps in my book to develop their self-discipline skills and learn how to manage time effectively.

What is your best advice for people who want to accomplish their goals?

To effectively set and manage goals:

  • Plan properly based on your limited resources and always build in extra time for emergencies
  • Be conservative when setting goals. If you have a history of failed goals start small.
  • Set milestones. This is the key success factor – set daily milestones for each goal and focus on those small steps. Once you establish milestones forget about your goals – if you focus on your daily milestones the goals will take care of themselves.
  • Don’t set goals on momentous occasions.
  • Maintain structure by establishing and adhering to a daily to-do list and an efficient routine which encompasses their priorities.
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About Mayra Calvani

Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal, Multicultural Review, and Bloomsbury Review, among many others. Represented by Serendipity Literary.

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