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Self discipline is one of the most important traits to have, especially if you work or study from home. Many students fall into the scary spiral of procrastination where all their self discipline goes out the window. Ten more minutes on Facebook turns into one hour and the next thing you know, it’s midnight and you haven’t even started that assessment.

The key to self discipline is to have routine and control. Many students who study with Online Courses Australia have incredible self discipline, so we had to find out how they do it! We spoke to Karen, a past student with OCA who studied Business Administration. She gave some amazing tips that could help your own self discipline skills.

“I would treat study as I would a job.  I would make sure I ate breakfast, was dressed, then had a ½ hour morning walk. I logged onto my computer at 9.00 am daily.  My routine was to work steady without interruptions until 11.00 am three days a week when I fit in an exercise class between 11.30 – 12.30.  I also worked from home and when I was required to carry out certain tasks, I would list on my whiteboard start and end times for either work or study."

Karen's tip of treating study as a job shows how self discipline can be achieved by having a routine. Routine is important as it provides structure to your day to day life. The most valuable things about having routine include:

Habit Building

Habits are created by doing something so often that it becomes automatic. Once you stick to something for a while, your mind and body becomes use to doing that thing. A study by Brain Pickings shows that depending on the habit, it can only take 21 days to build a new behaviour, which can then assist in your self discipline skills.


When you constantly do something, not only do you get better at it, but you become more efficient. Routine helps build your efficiency skills which allows you to work smarter and in a way that benefits you. You understand your priorities and are able to get the best results out of your day.

Sense of Control 

The best thing about having routine is the ability to take charge and have that sense of control towards building your self discipline. That sense of control comes from knowing what you have to do that day and having the power to make sure your day goes accordingly.

"By filling out a work/study schedule daily I could track how much study I actually achieved.  I would set a target every Thursday to complete at least one assessment. By doing this I could achieve 8 units in 8 months. I would have my lunch break and run any errands and then apply myself for a few hours in the afternoon.

I blocked out Thursday’s for my planned all day study - this would enable me to achieve a lot, especially when completing the assignments.  My agreement unless it was extremely important was to only be disturbed by the person I was doing contract work for. I always gave myself Saturday off and would often achieve a bit of study on a Sunday afternoon.”

Karen completed her course of Business Administration with a new found ability to be self disciplined. Not only has she gained confidence through this course, but Karen was able to find a job after her studies.

“I think basically you just have to be kind to yourself and do what you can when you can.  I stayed fairly focused throughout.”

Great work, Karen!

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