Question: How do you be consistent with your work ethic? I always find it hard to be consistent even though I have a study schedule planned out. The inconsistency makes me behind on my schedule and makes it overwhelming because now I have to ‘catch up’ on the work.
👨🏾 Saf Basha - Co-Founder of Project Academy
Here are a few tips that has worked for me:
1. Take time to understand yourself 🕵🏽
Identifying your strengths and weaknesses (don’t judge yourself based on these, just identify and accept them for now) will help you better tailor your study plan around it.
- E.g. if you identify that when you start a TV show, you find it hard to get work done if you haven’t finished the season, then you can make a more concerted effort to not start a new show until you’re ready, and instead watch a movie so you can still get that break from work, but the story finishes and you don’t think about it as much when you’re trying to work.
- E.g. if you find that it is particular subjects that are making you inconsistent, then you might structure your study for that subject around that fact and compensate for it. With me, it was essay-based subjects - I found them so hard to write. I then realised that the biggest hurdle to me working on them was getting started. It wasn’t that writing the intro was tough necessarily (though it was), it was the idea that the task in front of me felt monumental and the thought of starting was exhausting, and even when I did, if I finished a sentence or two, I’d be like “okay, time for a break”. If I started working on it during the day, I’d just waste hours trying to make progress. So, I started putting those essays at the very end of my day, and I’d schedule very little time for it, and then I’d intentionally stop working mid-sentence. Which brings me to my next point:
2. Leave work unfinished at the end of the day 😳
This sounds like really bad advice, but I used it a lot for things that I knew I’d find difficult to re-start. I also use it a lot even now when I’m writing code. When it’s approaching the end of my day, I’ll intentionally leave my code broken, or my sentence midway, or that math problem unsolved, even if I knew exactly how to solve it.
Why? Yes, if I finished the work, I’d get a sense of satisfaction, and sleep a bit more peacefully, BUT, I knew that tomorrow I’d find it really hard to start working on it again. Instead, leaving it unfinished meant that I was eager to finish working on it the next day, and then I’d want to do more cos I was already at my desk, already working, so I may as well jump onto the next task.
3. Track your time ⏳
Without judging yourself for how much/ how little you get done, track your time for a week or two, and identify where your time is going. Are you spending a lot of time on TikTok? Are you spending too much time doing Maths because you find it easier than Economics? Are you spending a lot of time watching TV? Or listening to that podcast? Etc.
- Only once you figure out where your time is actually going, can you determine how you can utilise it better (the same goes for money/ budgeting fyi). But you can’t make plans about time if you don’t know why it’s disappearing.
- When you do figure out how you’re spending it, you can then try to adjust things to better suit your lifestyle and study habits.
All of this honestly leads back to - know yourself - I can’t stress this enough! As I’m writing this, I’m just remembering how my school’s motto was “know thyself”. I truly thought it was absolute garbage at the time, but it’s ironic that it’s probably the most important thing you’ll ever do tbh.