Discipline & Time Management

2 March 2023

Discipline & Time Management

Motivation, strategy and discipline; 3 key factors which make a significant difference to the likely success of any activity... but when it comes to time management, discipline is by far the most important of the 3.

For most of us, if we want to learn something new, or bring about a personal change, we need 3 elements to be in place: motivation, strategy and discipline. Motivation, to provide the drive and commitment; strategy – to find the way of doing it that suits us best; and discipline, to do it; to stick at it, to persist, until the learning or change is in place. So let’s look at those three elements from the perspective of time. So:

Imagine that you either want to learn something new, or to make a personal change:

  • How long do you think it would take you to make that choice?
  • Then, how long do you think it would take you to decide how you would want to learn, or how you are going to make that change
  • Then, how long do you think it will it take you to do what is necessary to achieve the learning or embed the change?

In most cases the time you will take to decide your motivation and strategy will probably be relatively short. But the time it will take you to acquire the relevant learning or change is likely to be lengthy. It’s the difference between decision, and acquisition. Deciding what and how to do it is not in the same time league as doing it. So in time management terms, don’t underestimate the doing stage. That’s where the time needs to go. And because that stage takes a long time, that’s where self-discipline, is crucial. You need to make the appropriate time available, and then stick to it. So you need to consider two key factors when learning something new or making a personal change:

have I put enough time aside for this?

have I the self-discipline to use that time, and use it effectively?

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