I often imagine the readers of this blog and I can only assume you are all perfect individuals, that you have wonderfully fulfilling jobs, are emotionally balanced, eat your veggies and are in good physical shape. But in case you are just slightly less than perfect, hey we all have our bad days, Managing Your Mind: The Mental Fitness Guide, 2nd ed. is a great resource to have. This life altering guide was written by Gillian Butler, Ph. D., and Tony Hope, M.D., who have both spent years helping people cope with life. For the next couple weeks we are going to provide you tips and hints taken directly from the new edition, that are full of practical ideas on how to stretch, strengthen, and tune your mind.
Four ways of helping yourself to get down to work
- Create a good work environment. There is nothing more dispiriting than looking at the place where you are going to study and finding that it fills you with gloom. Try and keep a particular place, a room or part of a room, for work. Make this place attractive in your own particular way. Decorate it with pictures, or flowers, or whatever it is that you enjoy. Make yourself an inviting table top, for example, by getting rid of unnecessary clutter.
- List the tasks beforehand. We tend to use any excuse not to get down to work, and one is uncertainty over where to begin: “Shall I do this, or that?” And the uncertainty becomes an excuse for doing something else. Plan in advance what it is you are going to work on. The simple expedient of writing a list of the various things to do and the order in which you are going to do them can save hours of wasted time. Try not to be too ambitious when you make your plan. You can always do something extra at the end if there is still time.
- Keep the benefits clearly in mind. However easy you make it for yourself to start the work, there will still be a small hump to get over. You need to keep before you the benefits to be gained from doing the work. With large tasks this is particularly important; otherwise, an initial enthusiasm might wane and you may never find the energy to start. Write down all the things you could gain from doing the work, and read the list when you are due to start, to give yourself a boost. This is particularly useful if you are going through one of those phases when you feel discouraged, or have lost heart.
- Leave your work environment inviting for the next time. Most people tidy up, and find the things they need in order to get started, at the beginning of the work session. When they stop the session, they leave everything in a disorganized mess. The problem with this is that the mess becomes a barrier to starting the next work session. The solution is simple. Spend the last few minutes of the study period tidying up and getting ready for the next session so that it will be easy to start. This is also one of the best times to plan in advance what to do next.
Taken from Chapter 32, page 411.