Monday, 16 August 2010

How to achieve (iron) discipline when it comes to studying: tip 4 (final tip!).

Dear reader,

Well today is the day of the fourth and final (and maybe the most useful) tip.

Tip 4: How to get yourself to actually stick to your to do lists and homework schedules.
Well since this step is rather tricky I am going to provide you with a couple of options depending on the level of discipline you already have.

Section 1: For the fairly disciplined.

Suggestion 1: A suggestion which often works is to promise yourself something fun to do or yummy if you are able to finish a task. This may especially help if you really dislike what you have to do. You do have to muster up the discipline to keep yourself from doing or eating it before you actually finish. One way to go about it is to chose something which is not that easy to get to if you stay in the house. If you for example promise yourself a candy bar, it would be a good decision not to buy it in advance (so you can eat it right away), but to buy it once you have finished the task.

Suggestion 2: Try not to allow yourself to get distracted. If you have a laptop and you do not need your internet for the assignment, it might be useful to switch off the internet button, so you will not have a connection. By doing so, you cannot (subconsciously) turn on msn ‘just to see who is on’ or open your browser to see what’s on facebook, without becoming aware of the fact that you should actually be focusing on your homework, rather than giving in to distraction.

Suggestion 3: If you are easily distracted because your friends call you very often, it might be a good idea to put your cellphone on silent and to not always pick up. You can just explain to them that you really need to focus on your homework. If they are good friends, they will understand.

Section 2: For the not so disciplined.

Suggestion 1: Buy yourself the cheapest alarm clock you can find. They are usually the most noisy and annoying. Every time you allow yourself a break you should set the alarm at 15 or 30 mins. depending on your break time. This way the alarm clock will immediately remind you when your break is over and due to the distraction from whatever you are doing it will be easier for you to get back to work.

Suggestion 2: It might be a good idea to ask a friend, your girlfriend/boyfriend or a relative (let’s say your mum) to check up on you once in a while (say once a day), just to see if you are sticking to your schedule. It might also be a good idea to let them help you to create it.

Suggestion 3: See suggestion 2 in section 1.

Suggestion 4: Turn off your cell phone when you are studying and explain to your friends why you are doing this. If there is something wrong or something important that they have to tell you (and I do not mean about their newest outfit or motorbike) they can always reach you on your home number. In case that you are living alone and do not have a home number, you can turn your phone to silent and ask your friends to sms beforehand if it is urgent telling you in the subject title that it is. This way you can filter out the important messages from the less important ones. When they do call you afterwards, you will know that you have to pick up your phone.

Suggestion 5: Keep telling yourself if you finish one of the homework assignments that you are doing a good job and tell yourself that this way you are nearing your goal. This is always a good way to motivate yourself. Also, if you did exceptionally good on one of your assignments you could always treat yourself to something nice, as an encouragement to do well next time round as well.

Section 3: For the hopelessly undisciplined.

Well if you really feel like you do not have any discipline AT ALL than this is the section for you. It will probably be hard on you, and will therefore really require a lot of motivation. Keep your goal in sight at all times! ;) Here goes.

Suggestion 1: Remove msn from your computer. Yes, I know, auch. However, this is the only way of not getting yourself distracted whilst doing homework.

Suggestion 2: Have your family member or a friend install a type of browser which blocks certain pages such as facebook, youtube, (:P else it would be no use to remove msn) and other popular (network) sites, but gives access to them if you insert a particular password. When you have finished your homework for that day this friend or family member will type in the password, so you can access the websites that you want to visit. This way you will have another reason to want to finish your homework in time.

Suggestion 3: Ask your friends, family or boyfriend/girlfriend to keep a close eye on you sticking to your homework schedule (and I mean several times a day). You might want to give this person a nice bouquet of flowers and an apology beforehand, because this person will be nagging you every day and will probably be getting on your nerves quite soon. However, try to remember that this person is doing it, because you want him/her too. Try to show gratitude.

Suggestion 4: Reward yourself if you are doing great. This can be a candy bar, or something bigger, depending on what you have achieved.

Suggestion 5: Turn off your phone when studying, you do not wish to be disturbed. You can check your phone for messages or calls in the breaks that you are taking.

Suggestion 6: Get yourself two of the cheapest alarm clocks you can find. These are usually the most annoying and noisy. Put one next to your computer and one next to wherever you are doing when you are taking your break. You use the alarmclock near the computer to signify when you have finished your one or two hour studying and when your break is over. The other alarmclock you use to also signify when your break is over. If you actually have to walk all the way to your computer to turn off the alarm after your break, it will be easier to start working again, because you are already behind your computer. And because it is so annoying you will not have the urge to just ‘let it ring’ ;).

Well so far for the suggestions. I hope they will be of any use. If you find that these suggestions do not work for you at all, then feel free to leave a comment. I will be more than happy to come up with a suggestion that might help you ;).

Well so far for the ‘How to achieve (iron) discipline when it comes to studying’ series. I hope it has been of some help to some of my readers and that you have enjoyed reading them.

From tomorrow onwards we will be going back to regular posts ;)