Finish is Easy, Discipline is Hard

Another chapter will come to a close this summer, as I follow through on the finish pledge from this year’s three words. Unless some major education monster rears its ugly head, I will take my comps this summer and complete my Education Specialist degree in Science Education. I’m still working toward the PhD, but this is a logical stop on that path. In terms of academic rank, it’s one step above the master’s degree that I have.

I was at a kids’ birthday party a few weekends ago (family friend whose child just turned a year old) and there were lots of other parents who I only see at these kids of parties. One of the moms had gone to the same university during my undergrad and she was talking with me, and she made an interesting comment to me that I’m never sure how to answer.

“So, you’re working full time? And you’ve got three kids? And you’re doing your doctorate? Oh my gosh, isn’t that hard?”

Um… no, actually. It’s not easy and I have to make some difficult decisions about how to spend my evenings and weekends, but it’s not hard. Even when you throw in the writing and narration and need to exercise five days a week… I wouldn’t call it hard. But can I actually TELL someone that and not sound like a snot?

“Well, it’s definitely a challenge some days.”

The caveat that I give is that in my dayjob, I teach time and resource management; I help students learn how to set goals and schedule their time. I teach study strategies and academic skills, so when it comes to doing academic things, it’s more a question of just doing them than figuring out how to do them. The other caveat is that my spouse and children are supportive and work together to make sure that we all live cooperatively in the house. I am blissfully lucky in that my husband will take the kids for two hours on a Sunday to let me review my notes for a Monday exam. I am extremely fortunate that my kids will fold their laundry and help sweep, take out trash, and keep the rooms organized.

Mind you, I’ve been doing the school and work and kids thing since my first child was a year old, so nine years. It’s not like it’s new; we’ve got the routine down. I’ve been doing the writing and voiceover thing for almost seven years, and I’ve added school to the writing and voiceover thing almost three years ago. It is a slow, difficult, and iterative learning process to manage everything, and taken all at once, it would be overwhelming.

To finish anything all at once would be overwhelming; it is difficult to sustain that sort of energy to complete huge projects in succession. At the same time, it can be difficult to sustain that sort of energy to finish the small tasks that lead to the completion of larger projects… but that’s just as much discipline as energy.

Discipline is the hard part. Discipline to say no to just sacking out on the couch rather than studying notes for lecture, discipline to wake up early and record the next podcast episode rather than lounging before the dayjob. It is not an easy thing.

Telling others what to do? Pretty easy. Telling yourself what to do and holding yourself accountable? Not easy, but it makes the finish that much sweeter.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 12th, 2013 at 12:11 pm and is filed under time management. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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