Somehow, I’ve found myself in yet another season of discipline, but this time more specifically, self-discipline. Because I am pursuing my undergrad entirely online, it forces me to get serious about a couple of things. Here are a few ways that help me stay on task and get work done.
- Make a schedule, stick to it. Generally I like to work in a loose schedule -my day has touch points of getting stuff done, but with a lot of room for flexibility. Or, ya know, entirely deviating from those touch points, depending on the day. But because I am now accountable to assignment deadlines, childcare schedules, etc, it helps to have clear deadlines. Alarm to get up in the a.m. (and actually get up!), alarm to leave the office and head home. Give myself a clear “lunch hour” and “afternoon-coffee-half-hour” to get some fresh air and to get errands done. As much as possible: Respect the schedule.
- Hard stuff first. I was reminded of this recently while listening to Monocycle, one of the Man Repeller podcasts, when Leandra’s husband mentioned that he did this as well…basically you get the hard stuff done first thing. For me that usually means making dreaded phone calls (and by dreaded I mean, any phone calls) in the morning. This also includes writing blog posts or papers…I love to write, but it is hard work!
- The Mighty To-do List. I’ve tried a few to-do lists apps and still haven’t found one that just clicked…so I’m back to OG style, using a small lined yellow pad and pencil and numbered lists. At the start of the week I’ll number all of my assignments and deadlines and then relish the feeling of marking a nice black line through them as they are completed. For things like grocery lists and songs to look up and random thoughts while driving, I’ll just use the unpredictably fun combination of the Evernote app and Siri.
- Task and reward. So simple, but oh so good. I’ll just pair a difficult or dreaded task with some kind of equal reward. As in, finish this chapter of reading and then zone out on Instagram for 2 min. If it is something challenging or brain-draining, I’ll work until a certain time and then “reward” by watching a Lisa Eldridge video and grabbing a snack.
Those are just a few ways that work for me, but please let me know in the comments (or on Instagram, duh) some of your little tricks to get stuff done! And now that this task is done, I’m gonna go see whats up online and probably post a photo of something dumb.