What does it take to be an IRONMAN? Organization. Coordination. Planning. It's everywhere in training: framing your year, your season, your weeks, your day. Planning a purpose for each workout.  Arranging the when and where of bike rides and runs. Coordinating outfits - am I right? Arranging everything from gear to Gu helps with work life, home life and social life.

In ten minutes a day, you can become an organized athlete. I figured I'd highlight some of the ways I like to keep a little order. There are two things I do every day. Number One is write my six most important list. This is a list of THE SIX MOST IMPORTANT items that I MUST GET DONE. I usually write in my life planner - although Post-Its and index cards will do in a pinch. 

I've written this list nearly every day since 2001. I learned it from Mary Kay Ash:

Mary Kay Ash told a story in her autobiography that sticks with me to this day. She called it the $35,000 List and it had a long-lasting effect on her career and her daily work ethic.

Ivy Lee, a leading efficiency expert called on Charles Schwab and said to him, "I can increase your efficiency - and your sales - if you will allow me to spend fifteen minutes with each of your executives."
Naturally, Schwab asked, "What will it cost me?"
"Nothing," Lee said, "unless it works. In three months, you can send me a check for whatever you think it's worth to you."
Schwab agreed and Lee spent fifteen minutes with executives from the struggling young steel company and asked them to complete a single task. Every evening for the next three months, each executive was to make a list of the six most important things he had to do the next day. Finally, the executive was to rank the items in their order of importance. 
"Each morning, begin with the first item on your list, " she told them, "and scratch it off when it's finished. Just work your way right down those six items. If you don't get something finished, it goes on the next day's list."
At the end of the three-month trial, efficiency and sales had increased to such an extent that Schwab sent Lee a check for $35,000. Now that's still a lot of cash for such a small amount of work, but in today's money, $35,000 would probably be the equivalent of $350,000!


As you can see, I don't always finish my list. Sometimes I don't even start it! But, I write them down so that I know what my priorities are.  I write them down to avoid distractions and delays.

Most of the time, these take precedence over my workouts - but that doesn't mean I put them first. Because training is so hard - I chose to do it first thing in the morning. Otherwise, my list takes over and I won't get training done. Then, I'll be grumpy because I missed a key session. Which makes me less likely to do something on my list. A downward spiral.

Tomorrow: Transition 1