I know you must be aware of the Stanford marshmallow experiment which is a series of studies on delayed gratification. It happened on kids and they tracked down to their life. Kids who avoid the marshmallow (or pass the test) was better when they become young. Go and search for "Stanford marshmallow experiment".
If I look at my day to day life there are lots of marshmallows around. I need to participate in marshmallow test moment after moment. Visit twitter or keep working on current task etc. etc. Sometimes I failed and sometimes I pass.
List of items which I consider as marshmallow of day to day life
- Social media black hole
- Sugary foods
- Fast food
There could be much more but right now I am only able to get few of them. Whenever I want to start something, my mind needs instance gratification and I open the new tab with either social media or youtube.
Same thing happened while there is sugary food or fast food. Whenever there is a party I forgot that these food are not good for health and mind to get trapped.
It's not happening on regular basis. There are times when I follow rules and not get trapped but whenever I slip, it took many days to recover.
Even when I remain disciplined, It takes lots of energy to follow the rules.
Searching for magic pills on Internet and hooked up on Reddit or some other forum is also a big problem. I have spent countless hours on these forums and clickbait articles and videos.
I did not find any sustainable solution so far.
It's not about stop visiting these site, or not going to party but its all about doing it an adequate amount to take the benefits but not get trapped into that.
Most effective strategies so far. Not in any order.
Meditation - Doing it a couple of times in the day is actually give you a signal whenever you are about to slip. I was never able to do it over a week time, but it has some benefits. It requires multiple sitting in a day and doing it daily to get effective. Doing it once in a week or months doesn't work.
Exercises & rest - Again same like meditation at least 30-45 minute exercises followed by 30 minutes rest really makes you more energetic. Again this requires at least two times in a day. One medium intensity and another low-intensity activity.
Good sleep - Sleep at the same time every day. It helps me to wake up on time without any alarm.
To-do list - Have a to-list, recreate it daily based upon current priority and revisit it multiple time in a day.
Accomplish early - Accomplish something in the morning really makes me feel keep going.
Lets do the maths
Meditation - 10 minutes session three times in day = 30 minutes
Exercise - 2 hours
Good sleep - 7 hours
To-do list - 30 minutes
Total hours = 10 hours
So I need to spend 10 hours wisely so that rest of 14 hours can be productive without frustration.
Its not about using time efficiently but its about doing it without frustration or external motivation. It all about doing it naturally.
But believe me, kind of dynamic world we are leaving where a single email changes the day priorities and which happened very frequently make very difficult to follow above ritual daily.