From our childhood we all have been fed with one belief: If you did not learn to discipline yourself, you will not become something worthwhile. Every Now and then we would be reminded by all elder members of the family. And boy did we hate the talk. Being disciplined meant no more of after dark playing with friends, no more of late night comic books, no more of just one more cartoon and a lot more of sitting down with homework and extra books. As kids, studies and discipline were synonymous terms for us.
While in our little ways, we did use discipline to work for us. We all remembered that cartoon show (Yea I was big on cartoons ) we-have-to-watch-no-matter-what and did our chores and homework so that we can watch it undisturbed. We even completed our school holiday assignments so that we can go on that promised fun trip.
As we grew up, the meaning of “Discipline” changed for us. Now it means waking up on time to run to work “Or Else” be late and face the Boss’/Teachers’ wrath. Work 8-12 hours a day to complete the assignment before due time “Or Else” lose the opportunity to get a good raise/grade. This “Or Else” has caused so much havoc in our lives that we forgot the fun of the daily lives. No doubt it was present in our childhood as well, but now it is the fear which is driving us and not discipline.
When I started working on my blog, I was facing a lot of problems that all ( Yes ALL) the bloggers face every now and then.
- Lack of motivation,
- Tiredness from the day’s run,
- Getting interrupted by others, etc.
Sometimes smallest factors like not finding a pen would put me off for the day.So what did I do?
Here are my top
5 To-Do tips for introducing discipline in your daily hustle
1. Assign a go-to Work Place
You love to work in all positions: sitting down on a couch, on your bed, on a bean bag on your porch, and where not. But this means that family is going in and around you constantly and involving you in their conversations. Sometimes unintentionally. And this affects the ability to concentrate on work.
Assign a workspace. It can be a particular couch, a table, or even an area of the house. And inform your family that you would love to be undisturbed for some time whenever you are sitting in your assigned place.
How It Helps
After first few sessions, your brain will start associating this action as an instruction to flip the switch. It will signal your brain to settle down and gear up for work. It does takes a little time, but increases your output efficiency.
2. Create a Work Kit
You will be leaving your place of work at home alone all the time, more so if you have a 9 to 5 job. Everybody else in the house has a right to move your things for what so ever reason. Imagine sitting down at your desk with an excellent idea. But spending next 20 minutes or so scrambling for a paper and pen. By the time you find the stuff, you have lost the idea flow.
Create a bag or a folder of things you need on daily basis. Here are the things that I keep in my bag
- Laptop – My workstation
- iPad – I keep all my reference material in this.
- A notebook – all my prelim ideas go in here
- Pen ( Black, blue and red) – I like to make sure I do not miss important points.
- Pencil and eraser – For a little stress-busting artwork.
How It Helps
Whenever I have to work, I just grab my bag, and I am sorted out for all my requirements. No more distractions before I write down that idea. No more getting irritated and losing my groove.
Imagine sitting down at your desk with lots of ideas crawling to get out. Suddenly your phone rings. There you are spending next 4-5 minutes arguing with that unknown-number-you-thought-was-from-a-client about why you don’t need a credit card.
It is not easy for everyone to switch off the phone. So do the next best thing. Put your phone in do not disturb mode (or Night Mode).
How It Helps
When you are doing something that requires a lot of concentration, even a pin drop can interrupt the flow. Putting the phone on do not disturb mode will ensure that you do not miss that important call. You can get back to whoever was calling once you have completed your task at hand.
4. Create an outline of work
Before I started using this trick, I would just sit down and start working on whatever came to my attention. Although this method was not wrong, as I was completing the work but I was not getting anywhere.
Take the first few minutes of your everyday work to jot down the task outline you wish to complete in that particular session. The session may be half an hour or a few hours at a stretch. You can make the list in your phone/computer as a to do list or even as diary/journal entry. I like to write it down in a diary I have kept aside for this purpose only.
How it Helps
You have some fixed list to pursue in the next so many minutes you decide to work. I wouldn’t recommend beating yourself up if you are not able to complete the stuff as it has a demotivating effect. But sticking to the schedule just keeps your concentration inline. This method helps you quantify and manage the work done. It also helps in keeping a tab on the items you could not do in that session.
5. Use Pomodoro Technique
(this one’s my favorite)
What is this?
This technique uses a timer to break down work into small intervals, traditionally of 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks of 5 minutes duration. After a few sessions, it gives you a longer break of 25-30 minutes.
Working too long can cause burnout to set in much earlier than expected. You expect to work for 2 hours at a stretch but start getting restless at half way mark.
As the definition says, divide your to-do list into intervals of 25 minutes, and 5 minutes work breaks between two work sessions. You can use an app on the desktop or on a mobile phone to keep the track of time periods.
How It Helps
The breaks in between can be used to stretch those muscles and get the work flowing. I use this time to check my inbox or text a little love message to my wife sitting in the next room (works every time to pep her up). And after that 5 minutes break, you come back refreshed. 8 out of 10 times, I get a renewed lease of creativity at the work I am doing.
So here you go. These are my top 5 techniques to introduce discipline while I am working for myself from 9 P.M. to 2 A.M. every day. Yes, sometimes I do mix things up and do not follow my advice maybe 2 in 10 times. We are not supposed to be perfect you know.
I would love to hear your point of view on this. Do let me know in comments below if you have any point to add and we will discuss on it.
Take care and Just Let your Thoughts ROAR!!