Have you ever worked diligently on a project to complete it long after your initial enthusiasm has faded? That kind of focus takes self-discipline. This involves both self-knowledge and conscious awareness. It’s acting on what you think, rather than what you feel.
Self-discipline is a quality that’s generally missing from procrastinators. While a procrastinator may claim that failure is the result of mismatched skills and tasks, the real cause is often just a lack of self-discipline. Luckily, self-discipline can be learned. You can develop it into a powerful element of your character.
There are four methods to improve your self-discipline. First, you should work during your best times. Second, stop thinking, and just get started. It’s also beneficial to make neatness a habit. And finally, focus on finishing.
The first method for becoming self-disciplined is to work during your best times. No one has the same levels of energy and productivity all day. Identify the times you’re at your most productive.
To find out when your best times are, chart your energy levels during the course of a day’s work. Divide your day into two-hour segments. In each segment, mark down whether your energy levels are high, moderate, or low.
Repeat this across the week to gain an accurate view of your typical working day. Then schedule your most important work for your best hours, when your energy levels are high.
The second method of becoming self-disciplined is to stop thinking and just get started. While preparing your work schedule is important, don’t get caught up in planning.
You may have a list of steps drawn up, but if you don’t get started, none of the work you’ve planned will get done. The dread of the work ahead is usually worse than the task itself.
The third method for becoming self-disciplined is to make neatness a habit. Neatness helps increase your productivity dramatically. Invest in it and you’ll soon save time by not having to sift through clutter. It’s not the case that some people are capable of being neat and some aren’t. It’s a habit that can be learned.
Your ability to find any file you require on an overcrowded computer desktop does not make you disciplined.
If you ask a colleague to find something on your desk or desktop they should be able to do so easily. You can achieve this by keeping your desk and your PC tidy and clean, and by returning files to their proper places. Create and maintain digital and paper filing systems if you haven’t already done so.
The fourth method that will help you gain self-discipline is to focus on finishing. Work at a steady pace and keep this up.
Try to develop a compulsion for closure as you keep this tempo; focus on finishing rather than getting tied down by perfectionism. Looking for perfectionism isn’t a bad trait. However, some people find it hard to let go of a task even when they can’t see anything wrong with it.
Don’t get sidetracked by something new either. Focus on the task at hand before beginning another.
Punctuating your hard work with rewards helps keep your mind focused on finishing. For example, if you’ve focused on a task and completed it in three hours, take a small break.
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