Self-discipline, motivation and business school.


Life at business school is not for robots. ©

Follwing pre-term, I'm a few weeks into life at Kellogg. Yet, it feels like a lot longer. It feels like we've all been here for several months. The coursework load has started to ramp up. Clubs are recruiting people for leadership positions. The social scene is still lively. I feel like I'm stretching my time as far out as possible and struggling to keep up. Perhaps the problem is simply self discipline - sticking to what I had planned to do and getting things done. By self discipline, what I really mean is motivation. Yet considerable thought and recent experiences have led me to a time-honored simpler answer.

I would once wake up in the morning and lie in bed for an extra hour. These days, that hour has chopped down to a few minutes. I think this is what is necessary to operate in the business school environment - greater and greater self control of your urges. I'm realising that this is one of the things I need to really master. There is probably just enough time to keep up with only the readings and coursework for classes. Adding clubs, career pursuits, socialising and everything else means there is less and less time for procrastination and distractions. Yet, I find it difficult to not let my mind drift to other things - especially while reading dense text that was probably designed to test your reading stamina. If I am to achieve everything I want in these two years - self discipline will surely be key.

Yet, self-discipline does not have to feel like self-discipline if there is motivation. The stronger the motivation, the quicker things happen and the less procrastination there is. I expect to finish writing this blog post within 30 minutes, for example, simply because I am motivated to keep writing and also motivated to get back to dealing with the rest of the stress of business school. Yet, when it comes to completing assignments for some classes - the motivation is not there: minutes become hours. Soon, I'm already behind and scrambling to keep myself interested to keep going. So beyond self-discipline, if I am to achieve everything I want to out of business school, I need to learn to motivate myself to do those really hard things - those things that are easy to put off. I need to be motivated enough to complete them quickly and move on.

For all this talk of self-control and motivation, I have to admit, though, that there is a simpler device that has been getting me through everything: coffee. I'd been off coffee for several years, but I've picked up the habit again. It seems like such an easy way to stretch out the day. Perhaps this is the simple answer to all my worries? Perhaps with a bit more coffee in my blood, I won't need self-discipline or motivation? Or perhaps I am delusional - I hear that happens when you're body is running only on...