There’s a chapter you have left on the backburner – probably it’s one on the endangered flora and fauna and you had promised yourself to cover it as soon as you could. And there’s an optional subject that you needed to quickly revise on lest you forget the basics – after all IAS prelims is not the end of the game, right? Wait, weren’t you going to stick to the rule of reading daily news on the app or web and make quick short notes, daily?
Can you imagine how much less guilt, stress, and frustration you would feel if you could somehow just make yourself do the things you don’t want to do when you are actually supposed to do them? Not to mention how much confident and pumped up you might just feel?
The good news here is that we are bringing in 2 effective solutions to help you overcome the lethargy and procrastination and skyrocket your preparation to the optimum level. For any of these strategies to be effective, figure out the correct set of reason-solution for your case:
Reason #1: You are putting something off because you don’t “feel” like doing it
Solution: Ignore your feelings. They’re getting in your way.
When we say things like “I just can’t get out of bed early in the morning, ” or “I just can’t get myself to study polity and cram environment,” what we really mean is that we can’t get ourselves to feel like doing these things. After all, no one is tying you to bed every morning. The books are not some 1000 page mythological tomes that you need a sage to initiate you into reading them.
Physically, nothing prevents you to get up early and dive into the complex problems but mentally, you need that ‘kick’, that ‘feel’ to drive you, right?
Swami Vivekananda famously said,
Even the greatest fool can accomplish a task if it were after his or her heart. But the intelligent ones are those who can convert every work into one that suits their taste.
Think about that for a minute, because it’s really important. Somewhere along the way, we’ve all bought into the idea – without consciously realizing it – that to be motivated and effective we need to feel like we want to take action.
This is 100% nonsense. Need another inspirational quote?
Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.
The quote above is from painter Chuck Close, who says he’s never had “painter’s block” in his life. The “just show up and get to work” motto is a great creed to live by, especially if you are up against a daunting task of clearing the IAS exam.
Reason #2: You are putting something off because it’s hard, boring, or otherwise unpleasant
Solution: Use if-then planning
Next time, I will make myself start working on this sooner. Next time, I will start with the boring subject first and then go on to the easy revision modules. Next time, I will make sure that I don’t sleep before revising the daily news.
And the “next time” never comes…
Studies show that people routinely overestimate their capacity for self-control and IAS aspirants are no exceptions to the rule. Don’t think of yourselves as Iron man/ Wonder woman as yet. You are not going to wake up one day and assume a machine like focus and complete the geography backlog in one sitting.
Do yourself a favor, and embrace the fact that your willpower is limited, and that it may not always match your fictitious challenges and whims. Instead build some if-then loops for yourself to force yourself into some rewarding habits.
Write down your own 10 commandments.
- If it is 2pm, then I will stop what I’m doing and start revising the articles and FR, FD module of Indian Polity
- If my economics teacher evades my doubt, I am going to put up a written request in his hand to resolve it the first thing in next class
- If it is 11 pm and I feel like sleeping, I will make sure to revise the news nuggets in next 10 minutes and then hit the bed
- If it’s an off day at coaching, I will give at least 3 hours to the optional paper revision and not drift off to meaningless prattle
You can make more If-then modules and stick them up on your wall for quick reinforcements.
If-then modules help to rescue your willpower dilemmas by ensuring that you’ve made the right decision way ahead of the critical moment. Hopefully, this will help you increase your productivity and goal attainment hit rate more than what it used to be.
References: Harvard Business Review | Lifehacker
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