LEARNING AND PUTTING SELF DISCIPLINE BEFORE MOTIVATION AND PROCRASTINATION
I have big dreams for my life, even as a 15 year-old in Grade 11, I have ideas of the things I want to do and achieve, and I am not about to let this prolonged school holiday/lockdown, trip me up. And unlike my younger siblings, my parents are not checking up on my school work or keeping track of it, they just pass comments that show they expect good grades from, eek! This period has been a test of my self-discipline.
Self-discipline, a few people have it, a lot need it and some can’t do without it. All successful people have it. It is habit. It is that voice you programme into yourself that wakes you up in the morning from your cozy bed when you are tired (from watching movies past midnight) and lazy, pushing you to go study and work.
One of the first mistakes I made in my early high school life was to confuse DISCIPLINE with MOTIVATION but eventually, I got lucky enough to realize early that there actually is a very big difference between the two when my school marks started reflecting those “homework not done” stamps and yet I thought I had enough motivation. Yes motivation and discipline work hand in hand but you will not always be motivated which, is why you must learn to be disciplined. I am working to be disciplined.
Discipline. It is one of those things in life that are very hard to achieve and once you do, it is as good as unlocking the next level on Candy Crush the game. It gives you the freedom to achieve even much greater things in life, so I am learning. I hate it when my father is right.
School has always been relatively easy for me when I keep up with schoolwork, do my homework and don’t fall behind. Grade 11 is an important year because it is used to get early acceptance into university instead of waiting until Grade 12 results are out, I don’t want that stress. I don’t know if I fear that stress from myself, because I have big plans, or from my father! Either way, I want to make sure Grade 12 has less pressure by making sure I do very well in Grade 11.
We all hit a wall at some point and might end up losing motivation to pick things up where we left them and continue, but if we try to create healthy habits and discipline ourselves to follow through we will achieve 10 times better in results. That is why when we were told school was going to be cut shorter and our holidays extended longer, I most definitely knew that there was a catch which, was sort of like one of those tests that will tell with our June exam marks whether we studied and stayed disciplined or chose to be a bag of potatoes that did nothing but sit and watch TV.
To be honest, the first week of my initial holiday, I was that bag of potatoes, there was nothing in the pantry that I didn’t eat, the TV remote buttons even stopped working to show how much time I spent watching TV!
And my books probably started getting dusty as I didn’t even bother with them. I would wake up…look at them on my study table and look the other way as if I never saw them. That was normal, I mean, I was still on holiday after all.
Then the second week came when schools were supposed to open. That tense, nervous drum in my heart started beating. (du Dum du Dum du Dum). That moment we all haven’t been waiting for was finally here but guess what, PROCRASTINATION also rolled in. That form of stress relief that occurs when we feel overwhelmed, it is just a pattern or habit and as such, it can be broken…or CAN IT?
‘’I will do that chapter tonight as I burn the midnight oil’’ I’d say to myself.
“WHAT MIDNIGHT OIL?” the Good Angel on my right shoulder would ask?
“Yea all the snacks and fatty stuff I have been eating during the day while chilling in the sitting room, UHM sure. “
When teachers started sending online work, and the class WhatsApp groups started getting active as my classmates and teachers interacted, my nerves got really shot. All the work started being sent to us through email as promised by the teachers got received, and it was a lot, I realized I have dug a very deep hole for myself by losing discipline. The teachers were committed to ensuring they keep on their teaching plans, and from experience, I know that once I fall behind my grades will suffer. I had totally ignored the fact that I actually have goals that I had set and I most definitely cannot let all of that go to waste because of the bad habits I developed lately, in short, I pulled my socks up and remembered that I am a GIRLBOSS and I CAN do this!
- I started with slow measures such as changing the time I wake up and slept, just to get my mind back into that daily school learner routine that I was used to doing. This all happened on the 3rd day of that 2nd week of “school”, luckily enough by the 5th day my body and mind was sort of getting used to that programme. I was over a week behind!
- I then figured out that before anything at all, I should write out and plan how I am going to work going forward. I decided to draw out a time table as they would at school but this time around one that suited me and also sort of increased my break times by a few more minutes.
- I also made it a point to structure my timetable to start with the subjects I enjoy the least or those that are more challenging, I have more energy in the mornings. It feels like such an achievement getting through the subjects I lest enjoy or find challenging that I am more hyped to get through the subjects I do enjoy.
- I also combine learning with studying. So I kill two birds with one stone. I don’t rush through my work and I learn and practise and apply all at the same time so that I don’t have to study much in the evenings.
- I also started listing things I would like to do in my personal time because school obviously didn’t go on for the whole day. That is why I am able to continue intern at www.girlboss.co.za
- I also did a SWOT analysis, crazy right?! but it will sure be worth it in the end. Just like almost everyone would say, my phone seemed to be the biggest “threat”, excluding food and TV. LUCKILY for “it” I had made five minute slots to use it whenever I finished a chapter in a certain subject and made it seem like a ‘REWARD’.
There were many other things that had to be adjusted during this period of time, and because I have taught myself discipline, it feels like I moved a feather. Luckily too, the lockdown rules and regulations, distractions have become few and I never worry about missing out on anything besides schoolwork because there’s nothing much going on out “there”. It all started with me realizing what I wanted, how I plan to achieve it and if I was willing to achieve it. All I am waiting for right now is to just prove that hard work really does pay off, this will all make sense when I write my midyear exam in June.