How to Be Diligent

Three Methods:Being Diligent in SchoolBeing Diligent at WorkBeing Diligent in Life

Being diligent is an essential skill in all aspects of life. It involves being able to focus and concentrate persistently to achieve the completion of the task at hand. By maintaining focus and self-discipline and by practicing self-care, you can be diligent in your work and accomplish your goals, whether personal, professional or academic.

Method 1
Being Diligent in School

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    Keep a planner. A planner helps you organize your day and maintain diligence. You’ll need to write down all major exams and due dates for a given semester or term. You should include allotted times for studying and stick to them. You’ll be glad you’ve studied all semester so you won’t have to cram for exams.[1]
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    Don’t overextend yourself with courses and extra-curricular activities. While everyone who wants to get the most out of college will want to take their money’s worth of courses and participate in some extra-curricular activities, make sure you haven’t overloaded yourself with obligations. If you’re signing up for far more than the minimum of credits (or even taking the maximum), and participating in more clubs than you can keep track of, you may need to take stock and slim down your schedule so you can be diligent in all your pursuits.[2]
    • You’ll want to watch drop/add periods to make sure you can drop a class if needed.
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    Get an early start on projects. Waiting until the end of the semester to work on a big project will only make you more stressed than you have to be, especially when you’re also studying for exams. Instead, talk to your professor early to get an idea of what the project entails, and what steps you can do when. Getting an early start will take a load off when you’re swamped with studying for exams.[3]
    • It’s not a good idea to start a project before you’ve gotten the assignment sheet or talked to the professor. You may waste a lot of time doing something other than what the assignment is really about.
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    Allow for the unexpected. Sometimes life intervenes and makes it difficult or impossible to reach a goal when you want to, or to finish a project on time. You may have to re-schedule, re-work, and re-evaluate your goals. This is all okay and a normal part of progress. There is no need to be hard on yourself when this happens.[4]
    • However, don't confuse real reasons (like a sudden severe illness in the family or the loss of a job) with excuses (your friend called and wants to hang out when you have a deadline).
    • Make sure you are communicating with professors and teachers when this happens. You may even want to contact your academic advisor or guidance counselor.

Method 2
Being Diligent at Work

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    Remove distractions. Too much time on the internet, your phone or in front of the television can distract you from your goals. It is easy to get off task if your phone is going off or you have social media tabs open on your computer while you're working.[5][6]
    • There are even apps that help you remove distractions for certain periods of time.
    • You can turn off your notifications on your phone or turn on the "do not disturb" mode.
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    Keep yourself organized with to-do lists. You can make separate lists for urgent, high-priority, and low-priority tasks. Or you can make lists by date. For instance you can list all of the tasks that need to be done today in one list, and all the things that need to be tomorrow on another list. By knowing what you want to accomplish, you can get a lot more done. Breaking larger tasks into smaller steps can help you see the overall time a task will take and its potential complexity. You can schedule time for each task or subtask. Keeping the list to three items can help you focus and get things done.[7]
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    Prioritize. Pushing back other things of less importance can help you focus on the task that will help you reach your goals. Deadlines can help you determine what's important, as well as the impact of completing or not completing a task will have on you and your employer.[8]
    • For instance, you can wait to answer an non-urgent email to a friend you see regularly when you're working on a work-project.
    • If you’re uncertain what to prioritize, ask your manager or boss.
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    Use time efficiently. Making a schedule and having a plan for the day will help you see how you are using your time. This is where you can set deadlines, make appointments, and schedule breaks. Remember to give yourself enough time for each task. [9]

Method 3
Being Diligent in Life

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    Focus your energy on your goal. Sticking to the plan can help you put your energy into achieving your goals. Remind yourself of your goals and why you're focusing on the task at hand. Sometimes devotion will seem easy, and other times you'll have to push yourself to maintain it.[10]
    • Making and repeating a mantra like “I can lose weight” or “I can get the kitchen remodeled by Thanksgiving” can help you keep your goals in mind when you’re tempted to let them slide.[11]
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    Reward yourself to spur motivation. The kind of reward will depend on the milestone you've reached and the type of goal your pursuing. If you're intent on losing weight, don't reward yourself with an extra-large pizza when you lose a pound. You don't want to reward every little thing, because the rewards will lose their meaning. Rather, focus on rewarding real progress by setting up subgoals and rewarding yourself once you've met those goals.[12]
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    Realize the value of hard work. When you accomplish one goal, before you move on to the next one, make sure you take the time to appreciate your accomplishments. Each step usually builds upon the previous. With time, you'll see how your hard work has paid off.[13]
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    Find an accountability partner or group. This should be a person who knows you well enough to know what might get in your way. They will be helpful in motivating you to make progress on your goals. Sometimes, all you need is someone who is working on the same goals as you. For instance if you’re trying to lose weight, you might try a weight-loss group.[14][15]
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    Be realistic. You may need to re-prioritize at times. You may realize after a few weeks or months of pursuing a goal that you need more time, sometimes a lot more time. Don't be too hard on yourself when this happens. Be careful not to lose heart when you've reached an obstacle to your goal.[16]
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    Realize when to give up. This is not a step to be taken lightly. Some goals like losing weight or getting a raise are totally reachable for most people. Other goals, on the other hand, like winning a gold medal, becoming President of the United States, or owning a multi-national corporation may be attainable by only a few people. This is not to say you shouldn't try, but that recognizing when to let a goal go and start something new can be empowering when a goal is no longer attainable.[17]
    • Asking yourself whether your drive to pursue a certain goal is negatively impacting your relationships with people you love can help you determine whether to give up on a goal.


  • Use these techniques with exercise, studying, cooking and cleaning.
  • Balance your lifestyle. Devote time to your emotional and physical health as well. Take time to relax and have fun.
  • Don't obsess. Give everything the time that's needed. Don't devote yourself to sports and neglect your studies.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Goal Realization & Problem Solving