How I’m Increasing My Self-Discipline and Productivity


The older I get, the more ventures I seem to take on. I like to credit this to growth, opportunity, and access. As I grow, I’m discovering hidden talents that I want to expand on. Being 25, single, and childless has given me the opportunity to do LITERALLY whatever I want. I get to explore, try new things, pick up new hobbies, and I have the freedom to do whatever I want to do. Coming from a middle-class family has given me access to myriad of schools, resources, and programs. For the most part, if I decide I want to attend a summer fellowship or study abroad, I’m able to do so. This privilege has made me realize that now is the time to stretch myself a little bit and do new things and I am doing just that. Just this semester alone I started my internship, I launched my blog, I became a guest writer for a magazine, I’m working on starting a business, a friend and I are organizing a mental health campaign, and all of this is in addition to wrapping up my last year of grad school. As you can see, my plate is very full. In full disclosure: all of this is new for me. I was okay with only doing what I needed to do for so long. Voluntarily taking on unpaid extra work was something I never thought I’d be doing. But here I am, humbling myself and beginning to understand that I have to start at the bottom to reach new heights.
 
In June, I asked God for discipline. An avid procrastinator, I lost focus easily, I would sacrifice getting things done for temporary pleasures, and I would often find myself stressed out and wondering where the time went. Now those of you who are spiritually based may know that God doesn’t simply give you what you want, he makes you work for it. So here I am, working harder than I ever have before. There are some vital habits I’ve had to incorporate in my routine to keep a balanced schedule, get ‘ish done, and remain sane throughout the process.
 
I stay inside. I made sure to get my party purging days out over the summer because I knew that this semester would be a lot. Think about how much time and energy going out takes. I usually begin getting ready for the night around 7:30 pm. That’s enough time to eat, shower, put on my makeup, get dressed, and pre-game before leaving to go out around 11:30 pm. That’s five hours wasted. I can write a two blog posts, finish a homework assignment, and complete a workout in five hours. Luckily for me, this hasn’t been too much of a sacrifice because staying at home sounds a lot more appealing than leaving my couch for anything to be honest. However, I do get invited to go out and be social and sometimes I do, but other times I decline depending on how much I’ve gotten done and how I much I have to do.
 
I [try to] wake up early. Ya girl is NOT a morning person, ok? My favorite things are food, dogs, movies, music, and sleep. I’m not kidding. However, as much as I value my sleep, I’ve had to become really honest about how much I oversleep. Going to sleep at 11:30 pm and waking up at 9:00 am may not sound too bad on paper but that’s ten hours of sleep. I don’t need ten hours of sleep. Lately, my body has been waking me up at 8:30-9:00 am but I’ve been challenging myself to wake up earlier than that. Last week my goal was to consistently get out of bed at 8:00 am and this week I’m getting my day started at 7:30 am. It truly isn’t as bad as I thought it would be and I’m able to get so much done before I head to my internship for the day.
 
I’m careful about what I absorb. I remember being younger and riding in my daddy’s truck and there would always be some man talking to us through the radio. It wasn’t a commercial or a DJ, it was a podcast. I remember being SO bored and wishing he would turn on 97.9 The Box and I didn’t understand what was so interesting about this man who talked about sports for what seemed like forever. As an adult, I totally get it now. My podcasts have become my number one source of education. Deciding to start a business and launch a blog takes knowledge and my favorite way of learning is by listening to what other people in the field did to get to where they are now. The two podcasts I’m currently living off of are Side Hustle Pro by Nicaila Matthews Okome and Myleik Teele’s Podcast by Myleik Teele. These podcasts are hosted by two black women entrepreneurs who help aspiring entrepreneurs and corporate women thrive in their current workplace while also successfully maintain a side hustle or business. These women keep me on my toes. They keep me motivated and focused and I make it a point to listen to two episodes each everyday. I’m also trying to get more into reading. I’m gonna keep it real with y’all, I don’t like reading, but all the successful people I know and have seen are avid readers so I’m learning to like it. The book I’m currently reading is Down to Business: The First 10 Steps to Entrepreneurship for Women by Claire Villarosa.
 
I keep my circle full of like-minded people ONLY. I cut ties with everyone that I felt was a distraction or detriment to my success and now my circle is solid. I have a friend that is in med school, one friend just passed her licensure exam to become a Licensed Social Worker, one friend is a teacher with the plan of becoming involved with politics long-term, my sister is the Deputy Director for a non-profit and my other friend just got a job with the State of Texas and is also studying to become a Licensed Social Worker. All of my girls are ambitious and we have become a professional resource for each other as well accountability partners. They give me the freedom to be busy and vice versa, but we always make an effort to be in contact with each other and link up when we can.
 
I do things I don’t want to do. Chile, when I tell you this has been the hardest thing to do, I am not lying. I have a big feeling that this is contributing to my growth and future success more than anything else I’ve listed. I feel differently when I complete something that I had been dreading to do. For example, as much as I love working out, there are days where I just don’t feel like it. However, on those particular days, I leave the gym feeling like Superwoman. You can’t tell me nothing, okurrr?! I don’t want to go to my internship every. single. day. It’s unpaid, it’s far from where I live, and there is a 50% no-show rate so there are many times when I’m sitting there after a client didn’t show up thinking about all the things I could be doing instead. But I go. And not only do I go, I go with a smile on my face. I’m pleasant, I’m kind, and I’m fun to be around. I make the most of the experience. You would never guess that I’m actually day dreaming about getting in my car and driving home. What better way to become disciplined than consistently doing things you dread and choosing to make the best out of it anyway? I can’t wait to see how this especially pays off in the long run.
 
I want to make it a point to say that all of this is a daily choice. I could choose to do none of it. I could choose go out every weekend. I could choose to sleep in and stay up late. I could choose to be up to date on The Shade Room and the latest celebrity beef. I could choose to stay in dead end friendships. I could choose to sit down everyday and do the bare minimum. But I don’t. I choose to be phenomenal because I’m remarkable. I choose to be extraordinary because I’m not average. None of this has gotten easier, but if it were easy everyone would do it. I hope you guys choose to be greater than you are today. I hope you choose to take the opportunity to challenge yourself. Think about the person you want to become and what you need to change about your lifestyle to do so. Now do it 🙂
 
Sincerely,
The Life Therapist

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About me

Zoe Douglas

Zoe Douglas

By combining the words Life Coach and Therapist, I take you on a journey of the things my life experiences have taught me as well as intertwining my knowledge of mental health. Here's to growth, mental wellness, and becoming our best selves at any age. Cheers!

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