5 Ways to Become More Disciplined at Work

Self-discipline is the internal drive to make things happen.  Some might argue that it is a trait that you either have or you don’t, but I believe that anyone can increase their self-discipline with a little effort.  Here are some suggestions to implement during your work day.

Create a Daily Schedule

One key to self-discipline is to adhere to a strict daily schedule.  Set aside a block of time to accomplish each task, and when that period is up, move on.  If it’s not time to check e-mail or surf the Internet, don’t do it.

Turn One Task into Many

Sometimes, a task can seem so big that it’s overwhelming, and because you don’t even know how or where to start, you become paralyzed.  Therefore, you will need to take a complicated endeavor and break it down into short, manageable tasks. Once you’ve finished one component, you’ll gain momentum and enthusiasm.  Start small.

Do Tasks You Enjoy

Self-discipline comes more effortlessly when you’re genuinely enjoying what you’re doing.  While there will inevitably be parts of any job that you don’t like as much, try to find a way to outsource tasks that you find very unpleasant so that they don’t wreak havoc with your motivation.

Don’t Insist on Perfection

You should also realize that perfection will hinder your efforts to be more disciplined.  If you decide not to take action until conditions are 100percent ideal, or one part of a project is 100percent completed, you’ll never get anywhere.  Instead, it’s most important to keep moving, even if it means doing a job that’s just good enough, or returning later to a problematic issue.

Reward Yourself

No matter how pressed for time you are, don’t forget to reward yourself when you finish each task.  Instead of immediately moving on to the next activity, plan to spend an hour doing something rejuvenating, like getting a massage or playing your favorite video game. Self-discipline will be easier to sustain if you can anticipate something fun at the end of long working hours.

Alexandra Levit

Alexandra Levit’s goal is to help people find meaningful jobs - quickly and simply - and to succeed beyond measure once they get there. Follow her @alevit.

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  • Anita

    Alexandra,
    All of these are great suggestions, especially the one about perfectionism. Could you suggest something to say to yourself when you find yourself in this situation to help move yourself along?

    [Reply]

    Anonymous Reply:

     Hi Anita, what I tell myself is that no matter what I do, the end result will never be 100% perfect and that it’s more important to get something out there in a timely manner.  Also, all good things evolve, so a first effort doesn’t have to be the final effort.

    [Reply]

  • JohnnyJ

    I beg to differ about the perfection principle at least conceptually. If i was your boss and you did’nt strive to give everything 100% why should i promote you

    [Reply]

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