Hi Emma! :) Since I am (clinically) suffer from depression and chronic anxiety and social anxiety, my mom lets me do what I want. So sweet, but I often feel super lazy and I want to be productive. I think I need self-discipline but don't know how to start or what I need to do. What should I do? P.S. I'm proud of you for all you do to help others. :)
Hi! When I have days when I don’t put in a structured plan, I usually feel super lazy! It always makes me want to be productive the next day. I love going to bed feeling like I’ve accomplished something - even if it is something small. Self discipline should be something everyone develops. I think it is crucial for all students! Here are a few things:
- externalise your goals and make the commitment - if you really want to achieve your goals, that you must commit yourself to being disciplined. Being disciplined isn’t something you have, but something you do. You have to learn to put your responsibilities before your leisure. Without commitment, you will struggle to learn actual discipline. Externalising your goals is something that can really boost your motivation to get started and keep going, which in turn develops discipline.
- recognise your weaknesses and temptations, then remove them - everyone has a few weaknesses that can stop them from developing discipline. For me, I get so easily distracted by tv shows or Tumblr. Apps such as Forest or RescueTime help to remove those distractions and help me to focus. When I can see that I managed so much time without them, I realise that I don’t need to check them every 2 minutes but can wait till I need a break. Set yourself up for success by removing the bad habits!
- establish a plan for your goals - when it comes to improving your discipline, you need to work out a plan of how. The best way is to set yourself some overarching, long-term goals. This could be passing a class with an A, achieving distinctions on all assessment tasks, or improving over all grades. (It doesn’t have to be study related.) Then break each of these down into medium and short-term objectives. Breaking down your goals into manageable sections can allow to visualise you getting through each part instead of being confusing and overwhelmed with scale of your goals.
- schedule your week - use some form of a planner to map out your monthly, weekly and daily tasks. Make the effort to schedule times for certain tasks - be it 15 minutes, half an hour or an hour. These tasks could be clean out your school bag every Sunday, check weekend homework on Fridays, do allocated readings the night before your tutorials, etc. With time you won’t need to be reminded of these tasks since you’ll just know to do it. I have a selection of options on my Etsy!
- mark your progress - the best way to monitor how you are going is to track your daily productivity. Jerry Seinfield emphasises that using a calendar (or habit tracker) is the best way to consistently perform tasks day after day. He says each day he has written something he will put a large red cross through the day on a wall calendar. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.“ This way you can see how well you’re doing and motivate yourself to keep it up!! Here is a habit tracker I made!
- stay persistent - keep at it! It might be tough and some days you might miss doing a task - but making sure you can recover from those days is what matters! No one is disciplined 100 per cent of the time. If you’ve got a friend from school (or even one from Tumblr), share your daily tasks and upcoming to-dos with them. Make them hold you accountable for getting things done. They can message regularly to ask how you’re going, provide some encouragement and praise your work! You should remember that your a new found discipline isn’t going to appear overnight.
- be positive - you aren’t going to see a radical change from one day to the next. It is a long, arduous process that needs developing. Don’t be discouraged with the initial difficulties. No one is disciplined 100 per cent of the time. If you miss a day, don’t dwell but think that you’ll try to not let it happen again. Focusing on any negativities isn’t going to help you, so accept them and move on.
I hope this helps! Best of luck with everything x