Discipline and Accountability

“I should definitely workout today.”

“Today I’ll get ___________done.”

There is always something I’ve been meaning to get done, or a task or goal I’ve been meaning to get started on, and I find myself at the beginning of the day saying the infamous line: “I will get ____ done today.” However, somehow, the end of the day sneaks up on me and some days I realize I didn’t get much of anything done.

The truth is, sometimes it is really hard to accomplish tasks without a deadline. Without something holding me accountable to the tasks and goals I set for myself on a daily basis the chances of me having a fully productive day can decline and be replaced with Netflix and Hulu Plus (did I mention I’m a TV show junkie?). Lately, this flaw of mine has been the center of my list of bad habits to tackle, right behind spending copious amounts of time watching reality TV and googling the stars of the show.

First, I noticed that one of my issues is accountability. Prior to attending college, my room would be cleaned regularly because my parents were holding me accountable, or responsible, for that task. If I chose not to clean my room, I was simultaneously choosing to be on punishment. The same logic goes for school: if I choose not to study for my finals, I am also choosing to not get a good grade in the course. When it’s between accomplishing a task or receiving a consequence it is not that difficult to remain motivated to complete that task, but what seems to happen when there is no consequence and no motivation other than self-motivation is that it can open the door to procrastination and/or laziness. When no one or nothing is holding you responsible for completing those everyday jobs like cleaning your room or updating your blog regularly, it may not be a surprise that those things tend to fall by the wayside. Therefore, my first combat move in the battle against putting things off is to hold myself accountable. I have to make myself responsible for the goals I want to complete on a daily basis because it’s those small tasks that ultimately help me reach my short term and long term goals.

The way I have gone about holding myself responsible for my daily goals, beginning with sticking to a blog schedule, is to physically write down what I want to accomplish in each day. When I wake up, I grab my journal and my pen and think: “Okay, what is it that I already have planned to do today and what is it that I want to get done today?” In doing this, I am able to not only map out what I want to accomplish, but I am also putting these tasks in a place where I can constantly check back and physically see throughout the day what I’ve done and what else I have left to do. In addition, by writing down my daily goals in the form of a to do list I am also able to plan out how I am going to execute these tasks. It is much easier and you’re more likely to follow through with your daily goals, and your goals in general, when you create a plan: a time table in which you’re going to get the goal accomplished and how you’re going to do it. For example, I decided my blog schedule would be to blog 5 days a week: Mon-Wed and Sat and Sun. I also take it a step further by planning out what I’ll blog each of these days a week prior. With these added stipulations, I now know exactly what I need to do and when to do it in order to keep me on track, and I have clear guidelines in place so I know exactly when I’m not following through with my daily plans.

So far, being able to physically see what I need to get done on a daily basis has helped prevent me from pushing things off to later in the day and ultimately not getting things done during the day. Also, when I plan my day out this way, it provides discipline for getting my daily tasks done. It’s basically making my daily tasks that I WANT to accomplish like a job or school: just as there are things I have to get done in a school or work day and deadlines, there are also tasks and goals I need to get done in my daily life. I truly believe this is a major factor when it comes to working for yourself and being self employed, and since that is one of my long time goals, what better time than to work on it now?

I hope this rather long post has been informative in how I tackle procrastination in getting my goals done, and feel free to comment on how you all stay focused! Have a great Saturday!

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