Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Discipline Me!

Let's talk about discipline. No, not that kind of discipline you naughty monkeys! I'm talking about self-discipline: an evil little hyphenated word with seriously un-fun connotations {and no Bettie Page in sight to make the pain seem like a party!}...

Here is my question: how can you improve self-discipline without turning into a gloomy workaholic?? I have a ton of stuff on my plate: teaching, researching, "writing" a dissertation, volunteering, blogging...and still trying to have a life, keep my toilets clean, and pay attention to my pets {oh, and my and boyfriend}. There are just some days when I have a hard time prioritizing all of this and keeping my projects in perspective. For example, my dissertation seems so huge and overwhelming right now that I find myself ignoring it and putting it on the backburner, rather than facing it head-on.

::Do you have any tips for getting motivated on big projects? Training yourself to manage time more wisely? Stopping the excuses and just doing the work that needs to be done?

Where is beautiful Bettie and her whip when you need them most??


Anonymous said...

I try to split things up into little pieces, and make to do lists. I'm trying to build up a portfolio ready for art school interviews which is pretty daunting too.
My daily list is usually something like: 1 page of notes typed up, 200 words for my art essay, and either 1 sketch or 1 piece of my final project. You know, stuff that doesn't seem much in itself but adds up.

Lillian Chang said...

Hmm...I think a big part of it is your state of mind. Right now, since there are so many overwhelming things to you right now, make sure to occasionally take a little break to reassess and recalibrate. That can help bring you back to knowing that you gotta do what you gotta do! :)
Good luck on your dissertation!! Wow, I so admire you!! You can do it- and after you barrel through it, think of all the wonderfulness that will come!! :)

Maggie said...

Love the naughty picture!
I have the exact same problem minus college but plus two kids. I have not figured out the secrets to self-discipline but here are three things that help. Get up early in the morning to give yourself more productive time during the day. If you have a huge project to do and you're procrastinating, try to do just one little part. It's less overwhelming and more often than not you'll keep working on it. And last, if you're really tired and burnt out, give yourself permission to take a little break. Sometimes you have to refresh yourself in order to keep working.

sarafina said...

I think we all struggle with this - in school or not. I picked up a book once called Making A Change for Good: A Guide to Compassionate Self-Discipline, but I couldn't even discipline myself enough to read it! Well, I did sort of flip through it a few times and it basically seemed like what my old acupuncture-guy told me: "Don't beat yourself up for what you don't do; praise yourself for what you do." The idea is that eventually, your attitude shifts about it all. I don't know if that is true or not, but for a guilty soul like me, it makes me feel better. And practially, to get things done, I have to schedule time for everything. That way I don't feel guilty when it is Smallville time. Because who wants to feel guilty for watching Clark and Chloe solve mysteries? Not me!


I love Bettie! However, I am possibly the WORST PERSON ON THE PLANET to give any advice relating to discipline or procrastination. I am the queen of procrastination...the only time I become more "disciplined" is when I'm totally frantic that something needs to get done. It's like, when the anxiety builds up enough, THEN I can move mountains, but at the expense of my wellbeing- sleep, namely. I need to work on this too. Lauren

Sam said...

I always say: better to do it now than have it hanging over your head! I'm a grip the bull by the horns type of gal - hate putting things off (mostly!). Best of luck with all your projects - Bety is a stunner!!

A Thought Is The Blossom said...

oh i know exactly what you mean. sometimes i just loose interest in everything b/c i'm so stressed out about what needs to come first. i guess the best advice is to establish a time for each. maybe if you make a schedule with certain times for each you'll be able to fit it all in. what is your field of study?

about the phantasmagoria photos: YES, i still very much so want to do it, but like you, I've got more on my plate than I can handle. Just know I haven't forgot about the idea. Someday (hopefully soon!), Cody and I can make those photos happen. :)

Have a great weekend Tara!

Blood Milk said...

ugh i have no tips but to say i feel your pain!
i have about 5 jobs ! when i get overwhelmed i seem to shut down. if you learn any secrets, please tell.

{Tara} said...

Helen -- I really need to remember this when I get overwhelmed. It's all about little peices coming together.

Lillian -- Thank you so much; yes, taking breaks to "re-calibrate" is so important -- it helps you keep your sanity.

Maggie -- I've started trying to wake up earlier more often and that has definitely helped. I have no idea how people with kids get anything done! ;)

sarafina -- that's a good method: congratulating yourself when you actually DO get things done. It's like positive reinforcement...on yourself!

Lauren -- Yeah, I have that tendency, too. I always seem to get things done, even at the last minute. I just wish I could do it without the anxiety...just learn to embrace the procrastination?

Sam -- God, I wish I had more of that attitude. If it's something I like, I tend to tackle it right away, but if it's something difficult or prolonged, I avoid it like the plague.

Starr -- My problem is that I tell myself that this is the time when I will do "x" but then convince msyelf it doesn't matter when the time comes. I hope you can do the phantasmagoria post...I think it will be fascinating!

Blood Milk -- Yes, I also have about 5 "jobs." I'm probably just spread too thin [as many of us are].