Why is Michael Jordan a better basketball player than I am? Those who know me are probably having quite a chuckle right now, thanks to the ridiculousness of the question. But bear with me as much as you can! Yes, he is more athletic than I am. Yes, he is taller than I am. Yes, he has a higher basketball IQ than I do. But at his best, he simply just puts a round ball in a slightly larger round hole. Could I do that? Yes, I could.
Call me arrogant, but I believe I could even do that in an NBA game against NBA players at least one time. Well, maybe. It might take me several years to accomplish, but I could do it. (Again, you can take a moment to chuckle at the image of me trying.) So, at Jordan’s best, he scores a basket. And, at my best, I can score a basket. So why is he better than I am? In a word: CONSISTENCY.
Michael Jordan could consistently score, pass, rebound, defend, and make plays. He could consistently perform at his best, because he works at it. Babe Ruth could hit home runs, perhaps I could hit a homerun. Again, cue the laughter. The point is, most people are capable of accomplishing great things, but they just do not consistently perform at their best. Whether your goal is to be the greatest basketball player who ever lived or to simply become as productive at your job as possible, you must consistently perform at your best.
The biggest threat to consistency is often discounting. Discounting is underestimating the importance of things you deem to be insignificant. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Sometimes, it’s the little things.” This is especially true when it comes to staying organized. For example, how hard is it to stay organized and productive if you have a messy desk? Being organized and having a desk full of clutter is nearly impossible. So how does a desk become cluttered? A sheet of paper here, a note book there, unopened mail in the corner…you get the picture. Before you know it, you have no place to put the stuff you need and you feel disorganized and unproductive.
It’s a snowball effect of sorts. If you take the time to take care of the little things during the day (or at the end of each day), you can stay on top of current projects and find what you need more easily. So, don’t discount the little things. Be consistent. Take the time to deal with the small stuff, and you’ll have a clearer mind (and workspace!) to deal with the bigger stuff.