One of the social medias that I spend most of time on is YouTube. Few months back I started to get this feeling that I have been probably spending too much time on the popular video platform. So, I set up a software called RescueTime in order to track where or which sites, I am spending what part of time on daily basis. And the report was shocking to me. I was spending more than half of my time there everyday, when I was planning to spend just few minutes watching couple of videos.
I was clearly lacking discipline of my own. So, I started talking to few people on how they keep themselves disciplined and here is the list that I came up with:
2 minute rule
Procrastination is the killer of your productivity and here is a simple rule that you can follow to fight that. Whenever you feel that you are not working or wasting your time, just spend 2 minutes on your works. 2 minutes, that is it. It is You will be surprised how this 2 minutes can make you get going and continuing the work more than you planned when starting.
Why this works? It is less daunting to say to yourself that "I will just do this for 2 minutes" than trying to convince yourself to work on it for the whole day.
Focus on one thing
Everyday write down 3 things that you think will be impactful in any area of your life. Pick the one you want to do the least and complete it first. Once that inconvenient task is sorted out, you will find the rest of the list much easier to finish and may be even start working on tomorrow's list.
The tricky part here is to not get distracted by any external factors. So, some advocates of this rule suggest that you turn off email, social media access or any similar things that may contribute adding new tasks to your daily goals, until 11 AM in the morning.
Make a bet
Okay, so you have set your goals, may be have fixed a deadline for one of your projects. However, you still don't feel motivated to finish it by the deadline. There is an extreme approach that will almost guarantee that you will put yourself at work and this is how it goes.
If you are using social media, put a post on your wall or account saying that you want to complete this task of yours by a specific timeframe and if you cannot make it to the finish line, you will pay X amount of money to the people who comment in your post. Otherwise, make the bet between your family members or close friends, by giving them X amount of money, saying they will only return you the money only when you have completed your tasks by the deadline you set.
Here is why it works:
- If you are making the bet with your own circles, you will be more inclined to work in order to save your face.
- It holds you accountable to your peers.
- Just making the declaration itself is an important action.
- It is the first actionable item towards obtaining your goals. It sets the wheel in motion.
Take the help of tools and technologies available and keep the hard disc of your brain as less filled up as possible. I use project management tools like Asana or Producteev to keep track of my office projects as well as my personal tasks. Whenever I feel I have a task that needs to be addressed at a later time, I do not put that burden of remembering the task on my head. I schedule that task in one of those tools at an appropriate time and then I don't bother about it until I am reminded again by the tool. This helps focusing on only the work that I have at my hand.
The beauty of being self-disciplined is that you will not allow your choices to be dictated by impulses or emotions. It makes you take rational decisions on a daily basis without feeling overly stressed. All of these tips and hacks will only if you are committed to the goals you have set. As the saying goes, if you are interested in something you will do what is convenient, but if you are committed, you will do whatever it takes.