10 small habits disciplined people don’t waste their time on

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What we DON’T do is equally important as the things we do.

You might look at someone more disciplined than you and wonder what it is that they’re doing right. Chances are that it’s nothing especially grand. But one thing’s for sure though—they don’t waste their time on unimportant things.

If you want to be more like them, here are 10 small habits that disciplined people don’t waste their time on.

1) They don’t wait for motivation to come

Most of us like to sit around doing nothing until inspiration strikes. “Not now, I’m not motivated” is the common excuse.

Disciplined people don’t do that. They know that motivation is fickle, and by waiting for it to come, they’re only wasting their time.

If motivation isn’t already there, then they try to find other ways to get themselves going. If, say, they want to cook dinner for some special guests, they’re not going to stare at the pantry, shrug, and watch their favorite dramas Netflix until inspiration strikes.

Instead they are going to tune into cooking shows and read cookbooks before throwing themselves at the kitchen.

2) They don’t try to be perfect

Perfection is the enemy of good, or so goes the saying.

And it’s true. When you fixate so much on getting things perfect, you’re only going to keep things from being as good as they could have been… if you could get anything done at all.

And that’s because you’d be so obsessed with getting things right that you’ll fall far behind schedule and eventually you’ll either end up with nothing, or something that was well done for the first 20% and then rushed in the remaining 80%.

Disciplined people know this, and temper any urges they might have to make things perfect. Instead, they settle for what’s good enough.

3) They don’t worry about results

This doesn’t mean that disciplined people don’t think about consequences, or that they are immune to feeling worry.

Instead, they will focus on what they can control. That means setting their emotions aside to focus on actually doing what needs doing.

If they’re trying to draw something for a friend, they won’t spend hours wondering if their friend will like their work or not. They will instead spend that time drawing.

Worry and doubt might nag at them at the back of their head, but they know that entertaining those thoughts will only distract them and stop them from putting in work.

So how can you make sure that you only focus on what you can control in your life?

Well, you need more than just willpower, that’s for sure.

I learned about this from Life Journal, created by the highly-successful life coach and teacher Jeanette Brown.

You see, willpower only takes us so far…the key to transforming your life into something you’re passionate and enthusiastic about takes perseverance, a shift in mindset, and effective goal setting.

And while this might sound like a mighty task to undertake, thanks to Jeanette’s guidance, it’s been easier to do than I could have ever imagined.

Click here to learn more about Life Journal.

Now, you may wonder what makes Jeanette’s course different from all the other personal development programs out there.

It all comes down to one thing:

Jeanette isn’t interested in being your life coach.

Instead, she wants YOU to take the reins in creating the life you’ve always dreamt of having.

So if you’re ready to stop dreaming and start living your best life, a life created on your terms, one which fulfills and satisfies you, don’t hesitate to check out Life Journal.

Here’s the link once again.

4) They don’t waste their time trying to “win”

Arguments happen all the time. The temptation to join in can be especially strong at times, especially when people are arguing about something important to you.

Disciplined people know how to hold themselves back. They recognize that, most of the time, joining in isn’t going to do much of anything.

And, in the event that they do throw their own two cents, they’re not too worried about “winning” the argument. It’s just a big waste of time to even try.

Instead they let their voice be heard, are confident in what they had said, and then leave. They take care to make sure they’re not making the situation even worse than it is, too.

5) They don’t let their feelings dictate them

Disciplined people know just how badly their emotions can hurt them and the people around them if they follow their heart blindly.

While it might sound tragic to someone who likes to wear their heart on their sleeve, disciplined people keep their emotions under lock and key. They try not to say things in the heat of the moment and spend time deliberating over their words.

Because of that they can seem reserved, maybe even asocial.

But it’s for a good reason. If they were to run their mouth or do things simply because they felt a certain way, they might end up saying the wrong thing to the wrong person at the wrong time.

Think of those times when you snapped at a friend, regretted it hours later, and then tried to apologize only to realize you’ve been blocked.

6) They don’t engage drama and gossip

We all love to listen to the latest mishaps and misfortunes of people we know. Not only is it entertaining, it’s comforting to know that there are people who are more miserable than us.

But disciplined people know that these things are a total waste of time. They’ve done the math. For example, you listen to gossip for an hour a day. That’s 365 hours a year! Imagine if you just spend that time reading books or even resting.

The thing about gossip and drama is that they don’t add anything to your life. And what’s dangerous is that it’s addicting. It will become a habit if you won’t stop yourself from doing these “harmless” things.

7) They don’t let their focus waver

If there’s a lot of things they need to do at once, disciplined people try to keep their focus by picking the top three or so most important tasks and focusing on them.

As an example, if they’re trying to do an important presentation at work, they avoid thinking about other things.

There are many different techniques to keep yourself focused, especially when they have to multi-task, and disciplined people try to employ as many of these as they can.

But more than that, they keep their focus on their goals. If they want to become a published writer before the year ends, they will still indulge in other things but they will avoid spending so much time doing other things that will take their time and focus away from their main goal.

For example, they might turn down a week-long camping trip with friends to write 10 pages of their book instead.

8) They don’t leave their goals undefined

Disciplined people don’t let the days pass them by without a clear goal for them to strive for. They try to set clear, realistic goals that they can work on.

Think of the father who works extra hard so that they could buy their kids a swing for their birthday, or the artist who tells herself she should make at least one painting every week so that she’ll be as good as her childhood idols.

They also make sure they have a schedule they hope to match. You can tell yourself you want to paint the sunset sometime in the future, but if you don’t set a deadline you might just end up holding it off until you’re too old to actually hold a paintbrush.

9) They don’t let their willpower do all the work

Disciplined people aren’t necessarily disciplined because they’re that much better at keeping themselves in line, or resisting temptation. They put measures in place so that they can avoid temptation altogether.

They might turn off their phone when they’re at work, or disconnect themselves from the internet to avoid the temptation of hopping on Twitter or Instagram when they just can’t help but be bored.

Think of it like this. If you’re trying to stop yourself from eating too many sweets, you’re not going to keep jars of candy in your room. You’ll move them elsewhere or give them away.

Sure, they can keep their phone on, or stay connected to the internet. But the temptation is there and even if they manage to resist, it’s going to keep their mind occupied.

10) They don’t push themselves off the edge

“Taking breaks” is another of those things that makes people think of the undisciplined, sloppy person and not the disciplined breadwinner.

Yet it’s something that disciplined people do nonetheless. Everyone needs to take a break to remain functional, of course. There’s no shame in letting your mind and body rest, even if for half an hour.

The thing that separates the disciplined from those who are not is when they take those breaks.

Disciplined people rest when they need to, and then get right back to whatever they were doing. Those who aren’t instead try to take breaks even when they shouldn’t be.


Being disciplined isn’t a superpower, and disciplined people aren’t necessarily supernatural.

They still struggle with temptation and distraction. They just trained themselves to deal with it, whether it’s by avoidance or fighting it head-on.

That means that most of us can become self-disciplined by training ourselves to pick up on these small habits and not wasting our time on the things that get in the way.

But of course, there’s no shame in admitting that you can’t do it by yourself either. If you just can’t discipline yourself no matter how hard you try, there’s a chance that you might have a condition that saps your focus, such as ADHD.

In this case, you would want to look into consulting with a psychologist or therapist for help.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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