Importance of academic discipline: Tips to develop it
Academic discipline is all about having the ability to control yourself and focus on your work. Studies have found those with self-discipline are happier because they feel a sense of mastery over their lives. Disciplined people are able to delay satisfaction in the present so they can reap future rewards.
When it comes to academic success, discipline is one of the most important skills you can have because it allows you to set goals and meet them, boosting your confidence and laying the foundation for further success.
Academic discipline is essential for students, but how do you develop it?
Organise Your Workspace
The importance of being organised can’t be overstated when it comes to developing academic discipline. It’s impossible to feel in control when your notes are a mess, you can’t find anything, and you’ve lost track of assignment due dates.
The first step is to organise your study space so that it’s neat and you can find everything easily. A study planner with important dates displayed on the wall is useful and you should also keep a homework diary for daily tasks. A tutor can help you get organised and develop a sound study routine.
Know What Distracts You
To develop academic discipline, you need to know what distracts you. Do you study with the television on in the background and then get side-tracked by it? Are you constantly checking your phone for updates, interrupting the flow of your study session?
Once you’re aware of your distractions, you can minimise or remove them completely. If TV is a problem, study in a room away from the television. Put your phone away so you’re not tempted to check it. Tell your friends ahead of time that you’re studying and you’re not available. Once you’ve removed these distractions, you’ll find it easier to focus.
Be Aware of Procrastination
Even after you’ve organised your workspace and removed distractions, you might find yourself battling with procrastination. This is your mind trying to find other ways to tempt you away from your work. Suddenly you might feel hungry or remember you forgot to feed the cat, or you have an urgent message to send.
One of the reasons people procrastinate is because they’re afraid of failure. When they sit down to study, they experience anxiety and want to escape. The best way to deal with procrastination is to ignore it and get stuck into your work.
Don’t Expect Too Much
People tend to believe that academic discipline will make study easy and enjoyable. While it will get easier to focus, when you start to develop discipline it may feel very wrong at first. This is because decision making uses a different part of the brain than habit behaviours. When you start making more active decisions your brain may try to return to past programming.
The goal of discipline is not to make things easy, but to give you the strength and motivation to continue when they’re not easy. The key is practice and repetition.
Refuel the Tank
Willpower takes energy. You might think you’re not using much energy when you hit the books, but study drains the glucose reserves in your body. To avoid feeling worn out, eat a healthy meal before you begin and have some snacks on hand. Low blood sugar makes it harder to focus and resist distractions.
Refuelling also means taking time out to rest. Reward yourself for a job well done and make sure you have time to relax and recharge.
The more you practice academic self-discipline, the stronger you’ll become. Learning to make positive choices is a skill that will benefit you for the rest of your life.