A NEW DAY
Creative Commons License photo credit: kwerfeldein


A subject I’m currently studying as part of a Master of Technology (Business Systems Design & Management) degree is Business Systems Project Management. In doing so I’ve come to understand the importance of methodologies, the importance of predetermined structured approaches to successfully solving problems and completing large complex projects. That is, having a structured overarching approach that serves to guide how you go about complex and unique tasks that has through extensive past experience been found to lead to success.

Today I would like to share my methodology for success at University or College level study. It’s what I learned by doing and it works. The beauty of a methodology is it can be a model for excellence and is available to be applied by anyone and is not restricted to university study alone.

The approach I’m about to talk about can be applied to a vast array of endeavors that appear overwhelmingly huge and complex. Whether you’re unhealthy, overweight and physically weak and want to be a picture of health and strength or you are struggling financially and have dreams of building a business empire. It doesn’t matter.

Transforming your situation or some part of your self, physical or otherwise, from one state to another state generally speaking requires a structured and persistent approach. Specific transformation is unlikely to occur if you do not go about setting up the proper causes for the effect you wish to produce. Just doing whatever and hoping for the best is unlikely to disturb the inertia of the status quo.

Self-Discipline
This is one of the most important keys to being successful at just about any complex long-term endeavor. Be it a university degree, becoming a good dancer, becoming a good fighter, painting, composing music, writing, becoming physically strong, being athletic, climbing a remote and dangerous mountain or producing a deep inner transformation. Closely connected with self-discipline is perseverance and self-sufficiency.

Unfortunately at some point any enthusiasm you may have for a task or goal will wane and that’s when self-discipline comes in. Some days you just have to make yourself sit down, ignore all distractions and the other things you’d rather be doing and make a start on whatever currently needs doing to take you another step closer. I’ve found that once I get going it’s easier to keep going and I quickly get a lot done. The hard part is starting but knowing that it gets easier once you start makes it easier to overcome that barrier and just start.

How to Avoid Becoming Overwhelmed
If you think about a university subject as a whole or even a whole degree the task seems enormous and impossible. So you have to break down the current study period into weeks and each week what needs doing and develop a schedule of tasks for each day of each week on Sunday night or Monday morning. Then it’s a simple case of just doing one reading on one day and doing some homework questions on another day and working a little on an assignment on another day.

There will be days when you may find yourself repulsed at the very thought of doing university work (say it’s a reading). At these times simply think to yourself that you’ll just read one paragraph or one page. When you finish that paragraph or page then just read one more page. It’s only one page right? It will not take very long. And that’s how you get through a massive undertaking like a degree, one seemingly insignificant bite at a time.

So plan what you need to do overall, such as when you’re going to attempt certain subjects and within each subject plan what needs to be done each week such as when you’re assignments are due and so forth. Write it all down so you can dump all that information out of your head. Then you can focus on the simple small tasks (like reading a page) one at a time and it’ll feel a lot less stressful and overwhelming.

Conclusion
For me the most important thing I learnt from completing my degree is what I’ve just described. With consistent effort over time the seemingly impossible becomes possible and is achieved. This lesson is applicable to a great many things in life and I think can only be learnt by doing it. In the next article I’ll provide examples regarding how you can develop your self-discipline through simple mundane means. This is because to have self-discipline when it really counts you must have practiced it.

If you don’t practice self-discipline when it comes time to really knuckle down and get through difficulty there is a good chance you will fail. It’s like the average male who thinks for some reason just because they are male and of a certain size that they can fight. This is a fantasy.

Such people quickly discover when put in front of a person who has spent years training to fight that they really have no idea about fighting at all and no actual ability in this arena. If you have not trained to fight it will not go well for you when it comes time to fight a real opponent. Similarly, if you have not trained your self-discipline your poorly placed confidence will be exposed for what it is and you will fail.

You can now read my follow up to this article – To Have Self-Disciple You Must Practice It.


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