How To: Have Self-Discipline

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Self-discipline: (noun) that thing you meant to have but must have eluded you as you’re currently looking at the baby photos of your college roommate’s cousin in Missouri. Thankfully, Broti Gupta from last week's interview is here to help us all. Keep reading to learn how she sticks to her tasks to get work done (see above, her first in-print work for The New York Times!), neatly summarized in four key points below, with a bit of humor as always. 

1. Rules, rules rules.
“A big part of my self discipline is that I give myself a deadline and I give myself a time to start working,” says Gupta. Sounds easier said than done, right? Gupta elaborates that, to make this happen “Having a time where no matter what, I have to get up, brainstorm, and write something on the page” is crucial. No room for excuses!

2. Reward yourself.
Treats make everything better, including productivity, according to Broti. “Something that's really important for me is that I give myself a prize for finishing.” We can all get on board with that! Her go-tos? “I watch an episode of a show that I really like, or eat some garbage food that I really like.” Us too, Broti, us too… So don’t feel bad for little prizes in return for hard work--have something to work towards.

3. Loving what you do.
Broti says that for her, a great source of self-discipline emerges from genuine engagement with the task at hand. Or, in her words: “It’s important that I actually look forward to writing something.” She explains that “When i’m up at 5:30 or 6 AM and I’m writing something, [I] reflect on the fact that ‘Oh, I’m writing jokes right now for money, and that’s an amazing thing I am able to do.’ That’s helped keep me disciplined.” In other words, find something you love doing so that when those tough times hit you, you have the luck of doing something you care about and truly enjoy. (Need ideas? Check out previous interviews!)

4. Just do something.
Forget the pressure of doing it perfectly the first time around, just something can be enough! Broti says that she has a useful rule: “I have to write something every single day no matter what it is. It could just be what happened today, or how I’m feeling, or it could be a funny conversation I overheard, or a funny thing like a joke, or something! But there has to be something written on the page.” That sounds doable, no? Of course! So get out there and jot something down by the end of the day!

Thank you so much Broti, that was so incredibly helpful! What good tips to start 2018 off with. Readers, before you go back to the rest of your day, mark in your calendar to come back next Monday right at 9am for an interview with a woman who writes children’s books (including one of Nora’s all-time favorites!).