Train your discipline

Weight

Discipline is what we need to do our tasks when we have to do them, no matter if we are tired or prefer to do other thing at the required moment. Releasing our work in time helps making us successful.

We all have discipline, but it may not be enough for the task or the project we have in mind. So how to improve it?

In order to improve it, you have to train it. The more you train it, the better, and remember to increase the complexity over the time. It’s like training your mind or your body: by applying effort your current discipline will not be enough, being forced to be improved and therefore accomplishing your objective. If you don’t do it like this, it can be atrophied.

How can you start training your discipline? You have to choose a challenging task (or objective) for you, so you invest a considerable effort on it. When that task is done, the next step is to increase the difficulty progressively for the next one.

A good way to increase your discipline is to apply these two habits in your daily routine: reading and writing.

Reading

Reading is an active way to consume contents, contrary to watching TV, which is a passive activity. Being active means investing effort and involvement to assimilate what we are consuming.

Not all kinds of reading are effective to improve our discipline. Those that are superficial like reading a newspaper or a magazine will not imply enough effort. This is the key: the effort. Search for interesting books, e-books, blog articles, tutorials… for you with contents that need some effort to assimilate.

One interesting thing about this is that, by reading, you can learn new things while improving your discipline. You can learn a new language, tool, culture, or even a new skill, like playing some instrument.

The way to approach this plan is to set an objective in time or quantity. For instance, 1 hour or 10 pages per day. Try both and keep using the one that works best for you.

Writing

This is even better than reading to train your discipline, as it requires a bigger effort.

Like reading, not all kinds of writing are effective. In this case, the writing tasks that need you to express your ideas clearly, or even creatively and entertaining, are the most effective.

You can write an article for a blog, write a script for a play or a video, write a chapter for a book, and so on. You can even write a diary. Any of these activities, done daily, will create a writing habit and therefore increase your discipline.

You can set a time or quantity objective, like when reading. Many word processors offer a word count feature that you can use. Eventually, choose the strategy that works best for you.

Going further

In both activities, reading and writing, once being in your daily routine (or almost daily), and when the objectives you set are not challenging anymore, you will need to increase the difficulty with new objectives. I’m sure you guessed it: just increase the time you spend on it, or the quantity of pages to read or write.

Since the writing habit is harder than reading, I recommend you to start by reading. When your discipline gets improved and your reading habits are good, go ahead with writing.

One important thing to keep in mind is to keep your focus while reading or writing until the objective is accomplished. Distractions or procrastinating will affect your discipline. In order to help with this, you can take some breaks. A method I recommend is the Pomodoro technique, which encourages you to work in 25 minute bursts and then take 5 minute breaks.

Let’s keep our discipline in good shape!

Did you like it? Please share it:

Get my ebook for free

10 ideas that helped me become a better developer (and may help you too)

Subscribe to my mailing list and get my ebook on 10 ideas that helped me become a better developer.

About Me

David Morales

David Morales

I'm David Morales, a computer engineer from Barcelona, working on projects using Ruby on Rails and training on web technologies.

Learn More