Sticking with Your Schedule
Episode #7 of the course Learn any subject with your own curriculum by Michelle Gommel
Now that you have chosen all your resources and laid out a plan for yourself, the tough part is going to be actually doing all the things you want to do. If there is a single email from this course that you refer back to over and over again, make it this one! Just like with New Year’s resolutions, it’s so easy to do things when they’re new and you feel motivated. Then one day, maybe you wake up with the sniffles or a headache, and you convince yourself that you’ll do today’s assignment tomorrow. Tomorrow turns into the weekend, and all of a sudden, you have a massive pile of things you said you would do, and it seems impossible!
The key to avoiding this situation is to not procrastinate in the first place, even if you’re not motivated that day. But that’s easier said than done, right? So, here are a few steps you can take to remove you from your funk and make sure you stay accountable to your schedule.
1. Retreat into your study area. Remember in the last lesson, where I advised you to set aside a time and place for your studying? This is why. The simple act of going to your study place at the time when you always do will automatically put you in the right mindset and streamline your concentration.
2. Promise yourself a reward. It doesn’t have to be a giant, go-to-Disneyland reward. Make a bargain with yourself depending on your situation. If you have a headache, maybe just promise yourself that you can take a two-hour nap after you finish your work. If it’s just a lack of motivation, tell yourself that you can make a Starbucks run afterward. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but as long as you have something to look forward to after your work is done, you’ll be more motivated to do it.
3. Remove distractions. Even as I’m writing this, I just had to mute my computer to keep myself from being distracted by Facebook notifications. In general, we have trained ourselves that when we hear a notification go off, whether for a text, social media, email, etc., we must go check it in order to clear it from our minds. Do whatever it takes for you personally to avoid those notifications for the time you’ve set aside. Put your phone in another room, use a productivity app that blocks notifications, or just do what I did and mute your computer while you work.
If you follow these three suggestions, you should be able to work past that gross “I don’t wanna” feeling and get your work done. In tomorrow’s lesson, we’ll talk about how to know when the “I don’t wanna” feeling has turned into full-on burnout and what to do if that happens.
The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande
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