/ Author: Andre van Heerden
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In our daily jobs, what simple or routine things should we be doing to improve our performance?

By André van Heerden, Communications Director

A few years ago, I was taking a soccer coaching course, and our class was told that we weren’t supposed to use the word drills anymore.

Instead, we were to call the routines that we were doing in our practices activities. The feeling was that drills had a negative, repetitive, military connotation to it whereas activities sounded more fun and exciting.

Over the next few years, I’ve tried to use activities, but it just doesn’t feel right. I try to design what I do in my practices to be enjoyable so that the players want to do it and enjoy learning and perfecting their skills. But calling them drills seems more appropriate than activities.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines drill as

a: to fix something in the mind or habit pattern of by repetitive instruction

// drill pupils in spelling

b: to impart or communicate by repetition

c: to train or exercise in military drill.

When my players train, I definitely want to fix particular lessons in their minds and impart good habits. The word activity doesn’t carry the weight, direction, or purpose that I want.

It also doesn’t imply that this is something that I want them to do again, and again, and again. And that’s one of the biggest keys to success.

World famous soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo is famous for incredible play and goals as well as a for a demanding daily workout routine. His famous abs, speed, and jumping ability didn’t come about by chance—he works hard at it.

In an interview encouraging others to exercise, he says, “You can do an abs workout in your bedroom when you wake up in the morning or before you go to bed. If you get into a routine then it makes it easier as it will become a habit.”

I think it’s important to note that someone as physically gifted as Ronaldo still does daily drills to make himself better. In fact, part of the reason that he is so physically gifted is that he does these drills.

It would be understandable if he thought he was too good or busy for them. But that’s not how he became so great.

In our daily jobs, what simple or routine things should we be doing to improve our performance? And what are those who are excelling doing?

I had a regular meeting the other day where I was immediately struck by the attention to detail, enthusiasm, and efficiency of a new attendee. Afterward, I commented on her performance to another colleague who laughed and said, “Yes, isn’t she incredible?”

This worker excelled at doing small things, and it was noticed and appreciated. I’m looking forward to the next time that I work with her and feel confident that any projects she’s part of will be well looked after.

I’m convinced that it’s taking care of the so-called little things that leads to much larger success. And I’m convinced that doing the right daily drills—not just fun activities—will pay dividends in the future.

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