This Ailment Is Worse Than Swine Flu

 For a long time I have known there is an ailment out there that is doing a lot of damage to a lot of people, and for some reason they just won’t go for treatment.  This ailment prevents them from achieving so much in their lives that it really worries me.  I don’t know if it is contagious or not; but I hope not, because if it is, we are in for a pretty bad time.

This ailment is lack of self-discipline and organizational skills.  The symptoms are missing deadlines; not following up; not keeping promises made to others; and poor health caused by disstress and by not exercising, watching your diet, and getting enough rest.  Other symptoms are a disregard for relationship-building with their loved ones and others, as well as not planning early on for their financial needs in retirement.

One part that seems to be contagious is that when they don’t focus on their children and make sure that they have a love for reading by the time they are five—and have great self-esteem and self- confidence—their children come down with this same ailment, and their life spins out of control as well. Remember that what you teach your children, you teach their children. Role-modeling is everything.

 How can so many people suffer from something like this when there is a cure so readily available?

  One week a few years ago when I was teaching my Time/Life Management course only 64 Cast Members signed up.  Thirteen canceled . . . 11 did not even show up and did not call to cancel.  This is 37.5 percent of the original signups that did not make it.  This is pretty sad.

 There is no doubt in my mind that this one thing leads to more disappointment and regrets in people’s lives than anything else.

 No matter how much you know or how smart you are, if you don’t get the right things done at the right time, then you are going to wonder why your life turned out so bad.

 I tell every class that I am sure that most people actually manage their organizations business better than they do their own lives.  They follow checklists and operating guidelines at work but have none to govern their own lives.  They manage their organizations finances better than they do their own; and in many instances, they develop their associates better than they do their own children.

 One of the downsides of not being disciplined and organized is that you have to work more hours than necessary.  This is not good for your personal life or for your health.

 I once made an offer to all operations executives to come right to their operation to teach a customized one-hour Time/Life Management course so that more people can come and not have to travel to the Disney University and attend a 2½- hour course.  I continue to wonder why I have time to teach this class so many times a year and so few people have time to attend it. This is like being sick but not having time to go to the doctor…It just does not make any sense.

The basics theory of my course is that people need a system to run their entire life.  You cannot run your life with the right level of effectiveness and efficiency without a system.  Yes, a personal system is vital.

 Just like riding a bike, you can learn this system.  It is not hard.  It takes no electronic devices.  It can be done by a 10-year-old or younger.  It really is just a habit once you learn it.  We have two kinds of habits.  They are called “good habits” and “bad habits,” or perhaps we could name a third one “no habits.”

I believe it is reasonable to expect all leaders to have a day planner of some kind in their pocket or purse and to use it effectively to become known as leaders who . . . do what they say they are going to do, when they say they are going to do it, in the way they should do it, whether they like it or not.   Now this is management and leadership all boiled down into one sentence.

 The question is:

Do you have a personal organization system that you can explain . . . and one that works so well that you have a reputation for being extremely organized and disciplined . . . so that you ALWAYS follow up and do the right things when they need to be done to get the best outcome for you and for others, including for your organization and in your personal life?

 This is just how good it needs to be!  If you worked at Disney you would never start an attraction in the morning without following all of the operating guidelines and checklists to make sure that it is 100 percent safe. Not doing this would have potential negative consequences and would be considered foolhardy and dangerous and frankly unprofessional . . . and if I may say so, “goofy”!

 Not doing the same thing with your life can cause the same negative impact.  Starting your day without a well thought-out plan, which takes a few minutes of planning time, is not too bright. It is like smoking….It is dangerous to your health.

 Not putting priorities on your list of “things to do today” is not too bright either as timing is everything.  Some things just need to be done before other things.  Some things are urgent . . . and some things can wait . . . and some things are vital, and you must get started on them today.

 If you ask yourself often when you are doing your planning time the one question below, then you will start to put the right things in your planner and your life will turn out a whole lot better . . . as will the life of your loved ones . . . and also your  business will turn out better too . . . and your associates will appreciate having a leader who has credibility. This is how you build trust, which is everything.

 The three questions:

What did I not do so well yesterday that I need to go back and correct?

What responsibilities that I signed up for should I put in my To Do list today in my planner?

What Should I Do Today That Will Not Pay Off For 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, or 50 Years From Now?

There are many things, and I am sure that if you THINK about it you will come up with a nice long list to put into your planner.  My goal is to make sure that when you look in your planner you find your ENTIRE life in there. 

Take care, and have a wonderful holiday and Happy New Year.  Actually this would be a traditional time to start a New Year’s Resolution, which could be called “GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER,” so you can perform your role in all aspects of life at a Clearly Outstanding level.   . . . Lee

PS: All people shopping on December 24th need this class very badly

  1. I love (love, love) this post.

    I feel like you have hit the nail on the head of something I am constantly trying to tell and show others (yet so many don’t get).

    I’ve been accused of many things for having this outlook, but I truly believe that following these “rules” really does help you in not only your “entire” life, but also in your day-to-day walk.

    Excellent post today Mr. Cockerell! Thank you!

  2. Spoken like a well seasoned business man and parent, words to live by. Hope everyone has great holidays.

  3. Lee,
    This post is amplified in your book “Creating the Magic”. I like it as a summary of what Time/Life Management can do for us. I am on the second reading of your book because I found it that worthwhile! Sometimes, I feel overwelmed by the amount I want to accomplish and no matter how many hours I put into work, there seems like I do not consistently get done all that is important. I believe your Time/Life Management system will help me do this. I have ordered the 2010 Daytimer and plan on using it faithfully to set and keep priorities. Thank you for your willingness to share your knowledge on how to best utilize the time we are given in our lives.


  4. Mr. Cockerell, wonderful post reinforcing the importance of time management you speak about and write about in your book!
    I took your advice last year and implemented a time management lifestyle using the Daytimer™ you suggested. It has made a huge impact on my personal life and business life, radically increasing the things I get accomplished and the amount of time I can spend with my wife and family.
    Thank you again.

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