What do all successful Fortress Learning students have in common? Discipline.
“Discipline is the ability to give yourself a command and then follow it.” – Bob Proctor.
“My only issues in completing the course were due to procrastination given the flexible study pattern.” – Jacob, Fortress Learning Cert IV TAE Graduate.
Jacob is not alone. When you have 6 months or a whole year to complete a qualification, it is very easy to think, “I’ve got heaps of time, I’ll just start it tomorrow”.
The issue with that is, before you know it, “tomorrow” is the due date.
Don’t panic if you are not a disciplined person. With practice, discipline can be built up like a muscle.
Here are five tips to help you become more disciplined:
1. Schedule your day
If you’re new at scheduling your time throughout the day, start by planning from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed. This will allow you to analyse how long you spend on different tasks.
It is very common for people to underestimate or overestimate how much they can achieve in an hour. A focused hour of work can achieve a lot, however, if you are checking your phone, making a coffee, going to the toilet or are easily distracted throughout, the hour will come and go with little work to show for it.
If you know that you have a tendency to procrastinate and fluff around before you actually begin a study, schedule yourself an extra 15 minutes at the beginning of your session as dedicated “fluff around” time.
It is also important to schedule relaxation time after your study period. This will mentally allow you to see a light at the end of the tunnel, and encourage you to get as much focused work done as you can before the hour is up.
2. Make a study plan
“Working to a study plan keeps you on track, set mini goals so you are not overwhelmed by the big picture, you feel like you are achieving as you progress.” – Jane, Fortress Learning Dip VET/TDD Graduate.
As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. Take the time to break your course up into bite-sized pieces. If you know what your next step is, you will be more likely to stick with your schedule, stay disciplined and stay on track.
“My advice would be to have a dedicated study session, where you have access to all the materials and equipment you need and “just do it”. Also stay in touch with your trainer.” – Kathy, Fortress Learning Dip VET/TDD Graduate.
3. Come to terms with the fact that your study time probably won’t be a fun time
A common misconception is that successful people enjoy what they do. Olympic swimmers must love waking up at 4:30 am and CEO’s must love going into meeting after meeting all day?
“Successful people dislike the same things you do, but they do them anyway.” – Bob Proctor.
Why? Because successful people are willing to go through the hard yards and do what is necessary for the short term to gain success in the long term. Discipline is about making the decision to do something whether you feel like it or not.
Unless you are willing to sacrifice some of your time to study in the short term, you won’t gain a qualification that will lead to more opportunities and success in the long term.
4. Remember that discipline does not equal punishment
At first, it may feel like punishment because you aren’t used to it. When you are a child, it is such a hassle having to brush your teeth every morning and every night, but your parents make you do it because it is necessary for your health and hygiene. Now as an adult, you brush your teeth without even thinking about it. In fact, you feel utterly gross if you don’t do it.
Discipline may come with some growing pains at first, but the more you do it, the better you get at it. Much like brushing your teeth, once you build studying into your routine, over time the act of sitting down and doing the work won’t seem like such a pain anymore.
“Stay consistent and don’t put it off because it is hard work.” – Jane, Fortress Learning Dip VET/TDD Graduate.
5. Connect with others
Make study social! Remember that you don’t have to feel like you are all alone.
Sharing your learning experience with others who are in the same position allows you to challenge your thinking, gain new perspectives and learn faster.
If you know someone who is also completing a Certificate, Diploma or Degree, arrange a time to study together so that you hold each other accountable.
If you are finding it hard to connect with someone in person, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone or go online. Successful students reach out to their trainers and stay active in their Course Discussion Group on Facebook.
“Fantastic phone support. I could ring whenever I needed it and was treated like I was their only student. I was given loads of positive feedback with the direction and clarity I needed to forge ahead. It took me over a year but I am very happy that no shortcuts were taken and now I have the confidence I need moving forward with a genuine qualification.” – Belinda, Fortress Learning Cert IV TAE Graduate.