Get Some Discipline

Elaine Currie

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Once you have made the initial preparations for starting up your home business, it is time to think about getting a little discipline. I don’t mean that in any salacious sort of way: we are not talking about chastisement involving pain and leather goods. If you are entertaining this kind of idea, you are not working hard enough. You will have plenty of time for that type of mind wandering when you have got your home business up and running on autopilot. So store away all thoughts of bamboo canes and studded collars and concentrate here for a short while.

We are not even dealing with the kind of punishment you might get at school or a correctional institution. We are talking about the toughest kind of discipline: regular, old-fashioned, grit-your-teeth self-discipline. I can hear the groans but I don’t know why Discipline has become so unpopular. You should treat it as a good friend, shake hands with Discipline and give him a clap on the back — invite him in to look around your home office and get his opinion of your plans.

Discipline will strengthen you and make it easier for you to get organised and stay organised; consider taking him in as a business partner. It is Discipline which will help you to keep going in the face of difficulties. It is Discipline which will help you fit in the million and one things which will be clamouring for your attention when you first start out as your own boss.

OK, you are the boss and you can take a day off when you like without asking permission from anybody else. Great! Fantastic! Wonderful! Yes, it is just as you wanted it to be — but who is going to cover for you during your absence? Who is going to sort out your schedule, arrange for your mail to be acknowledged, make sure your diary is up to date? Aha, now you see it. The answer is “you” because there is nobody else. You, that is, and your good buddy, Discipline, who will steadfastly see you through this potentially difficult situation.

If you have a vacation planned, you will have a date to work to and, even if you are lackadaisical in your running of your business and allow tasks to pile up, you will know how long you have in which to get things sufficiently ship-shape for you to be able to take off without leaving your business in a mess.

What if you decide to take a day off at short notice (like, just when you wake up one morning)? That is one of the great things about being the boss but wouldn’t it be easier if your work was right up to date, everything neat and organised? Wouldn’t you be more relaxed if the machine was running smoothly?

The work will only be up to date if you keep on top of it. Things will only be neat and organised if you make them that way. The machine will only keep running smoothly if you apply oil and spin the cogs regularly. Discipline can be a great help, give him a chance and he will be there helping you with the filing and the oil can; he is your true friend so he won’t mind getting his hands dirty on your behalf. You know what you have to do, so be determined to get it done and done to the best of your ability. That way you can feel good about yourself and not have to deal with guilt and regret. “Yessss, I did it!” is a much better feeling than “Should’a, could’a, didn’t”. Give good old Discipline a big high five.

The work has to be done one way or another, so you might as well do it in a regular, orderly manner. You will find out that it is actually easier to do things this way. There will be nobody to stand over you and demand that you get things done and follow rules. It is up to you to make plans and stick to them; make your own rules and use them to help yourself. Keep the daily tasks up to date and there will be plenty of time for you and Discipline to share a beer and watch some TV.

We all have tasks to perform which we like less than other jobs and it is tempting to put off doing these things. The result of that, however, is that these tasks pile up and one day we find we have to face a mountain of nasty jobs and get through them before we can go on to something we like better. It is on days like this that we regret turning our back on Discipline and, if the nasty jobs are bad enough, we promise ourselves that we will be reformed characters in future and never again will we let things slide.

When we finally finish the nasty jobs and turn our minds to more pleasant things, it does not take long for our resolution to waver; we forget our faithful friend, Discipline, and start to slouch again, tucking those nasty jobs away for later while we hang out with those no-good characters Slovenliness and Procrastination. Before we know it, we are back facing the same mountain.

Never forget that Discipline is your true friend. He will forgive you if you forget to invite him around for a while and he will help you sort out any mess you made in his absence. No fair weather friend he: no matter how often you shun him or just plain forget him, Discipline will always be there for you, ready to help you make a fresh start.

This is one of a series of articles published by the author, Elaine Currie, BA(Hons) at

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