I want to urge you to consider a practice that I am seeing produce tremendous results in the lives of friends and clients. I’ve never heard a name for this practice so I’ve decided to call it “micro disciplines.” Let me explain.

Most of the leaders I know and work with are busy and ambitious people. These two features of their lives—that they are busy and that they are ambitious—work against each other. Time keeps them from achieving what they wish they could achieve. Their ambitions stress their time. It’s a classic problem.

These micro-disciplines are a partial solution. They are simply disciplines broken down into short, daily sessions that even the busiest schedule can absorb.

I have a friend who decided he wanted to get into shape but also wanted to find the most efficient, time saving way to do it. After much research and consulting with exercise experts, he started doing the briefest workout I’ve ever heard of. He does burpees one day and then he does resistance bands the next. A burpee is the most intense exercise you can imagine. It can be done anywhere, without equipment, and it works every muscle. Resistance bands are inexpensive, they take no room in a suitcase, and they offer an intense workout when done right. My friend has lost a good deal of weight, is in much better health, and increasingly looks great. Daily Time Invested: 15 minutes.

I have another leader/friend who needed to learn a foreign language. He was frustrated. I suggested the micro discipline approach I see so many people using. He started devoting 10-15 minutes a day with a good program, and he also started having lunch once every two weeks with an employee fluent in the language he wanted to learn. Now, he is at least conversational in his new language and can see fluency coming a year or two down the road. It’s making him a more effective leader in his international firm.

The art of micro disciplines is nothing new. It is simply the act of breaking a discipline down into manageable, daily segments of time to achieve a goal.

I’ve come to believe that every leader should have at least one micro discipline working for them all the time. A given leader may be in great physical shape, well read, and thriving in his or her job, but there are always new skills, new knowledge fields, and new life-enhancing hobbies that can be mastered in short daily sessions.

I know it can sound like a TV commercial: “Just 10 minutes a day to a better you!” Yet all I am urging here is that we not talk ourselves out of noble ambitions because we hear the ticking of the clock. Make time work for you. Always be improving somewhere in your life. Just use the power of micro disciplines to get it done. There is a lot of research that says short, repetitive sessions is how we learn best and best acquire new habits anyway.

Where do you need to improve? Define it. Break it down. Schedule it. Stick to it. Enjoy it. Micro disciplines are a tool for leaders to achieve the mastery that leads to success.

That’s it. Have a great weekend.


If one of your goals is to improve your written communication so that readers really “hear” you, my course, “12 Truths About Writing for Leaders” is a good way to begin a micro discipline. Purchase it today and you’ll be well on your way!