Miss Kala : Nora, your teachers have complained about you. They said that
you have not been doing your homework and you rarely hand in your assignment on
time. Would you like to tell me what's going on ?
Nora : Well, nothing
is going on. I just feel overwhelmed by all the work. My parents are also
constantly nagging at me. I can't help myself. I tend to leave things till the
last minute. I am really worried about my preparations for the examination.
Miss Kala : Do you have a planner where you put in all those
commitments and assignments?
Nora : Yes, I did that after your talk in January. My father bought me
a nice organizer and everything is written down. The trouble is I do not have
Miss Kala : Can you explain that?
Nora : Well, I cannot follow the plan I have made. I do everything
according to my mood and feelings. When I don't feel like it, I just don't
bother about my plan.
Miss Kala : I am glad that you recognize your problem. So, what do you
think you can do about it?
Nora : I was hoping you could help me. How can I develop
self-discipline? I envy my classmates who sail through
every examination. They seem so cool and calm even during examinations.
Miss Kala : Well, believe it or not, I was just like you. I am
grateful to my parents who helped me develop self-discipline in my own life. I
still remember some practical tips which might help you.
Nora : That's great. At least I know I am not
Miss Kala : No, you are not alone. Everyone struggles with this. My
first tip is to start with small things. You should clean your room or your
study area. This helps to reduce the amount of distractions. People who are
disorganized tend to waste a lot of time searching for misplaced things. Besides
being neat and tidy, it trains you to make decisions about what is important and
what is not. Learning self-discipline in small matters prepares you for bigger
things. You will realize that people who are indisciplined in small issues are
also indisciplined in more important issues.
Nora : My study table looks as if a typhoon has just swept through! I
should look into that. What else?
Miss Kala : Secondly, get organized. Jot down a `to-do' list that you
need to accomplish for the day and stick to it. The point is if you don't
control your time, others will. Do the difficult tasks first. Most people do the
easier tasks first. Then, by the time they get to the more difficult task, they
run out of time and energy.
Nora : But if I were to follow the plan, won't life be very boring?
Miss Kala : Not necessarily so. You should reward yourself after every
task that you have finished but try to finish what you started. However, in your
case, I think you may have over-rewarded yourself sometimes. Maybe, you should
also practice self-denial.
Nora : What does that mean?
Miss Kala : Learn to say `no' to your feelings and impulses. Refrain
from watching television for an hour or so even though you may be free. Do
something useful or productive like cleaning up your room or reading a good
inspirational book. Go for a walk or talk to your parents. I found that whenever
I stayed away from the television and helped around the house, I felt good and
this helped my self-esteem. When you refrain from listening to your feelings, it
is like telling your body that you are the boss.
Nora : Wow, I never thought of it that way. For me, the Internet and
telephone are my time-wasters.
Miss Kala : I am glad you have pinpointed that. There is still one
more thing. Whenever your parents advise you, accept that as a correction. They
are just showing you what you need to avoid. I know it is difficult but you
should try not to reject their ideas and advice. Well, just try it for a week
and we will meet again for another discussion.
Nora : Thanks, Miss Kala. I really appreciate your advice. I'll try
to stay on the right track. See you next week.
Miss Kala : I am glad to be of help. Focus on your goals and stick to