Have you ever had the impression of working a lot but never reaching your objectives in the end? When faced with a task, do you tell yourself you do not know where to start – not to mention when?
Today we are sharing with you a few practical tips that should help you see clearly and get organized in order to knock down walls and tasks!
Tip #1: Clear your head and space
We do hear a lot about Spring cleaning and since we are in the season on this side of the planet, it might be time to do so in your head and…on your desk. If ideas and tasks keep piling up, some light clearing should help you spot priorities, postpone what’s not on the agenda and identify actual, imminent tasks in need of your full attention. Sometimes, taking a step back can help see the big picture: get up and take a walk, go to a museum, see a movie and shift the focus of your brain on a different topic, at a different pace. Rest and hobbies will help you take a step back so that when you get down to work, you start with fresh ideas and a bright mind full of positivity and reborn motivation. Fatigue is one fierce enemy! On the practical side, clearing your room or working space is the next step: sorting papers out, stationary, invoices, notebooks – and even doing some actual cleaning etc. is the way to go so that once you get down to work you know where to find your preferred and most useful working tools.
Tip #2: Take out your agenda
Time is of essence when writing a paper, preparing for a class or submitting your assignment. If time management is not your strongest asset, there are many tools out there to help you, starting with the good old agenda. We would suggest starting from the end of the process by writing down all the deadlines for due assignments, tests, oral presentations etc. Weekly planners may also be useful if you prefer to view a whole week worth of schedules. We are mentioning the paper-based agenda because the fact of writing down by hand each and every deadline will help you memorize and grasp the full scope of your planning. Should you prefer to use an app, try giving a go at tools such as Tasks, iCal, Sunrise, for example. Once the deadlines are in, you can move on to the assessment of your study and preparation time.
Tip #3: Know thyself
To assess how long it will take you to perform a given task in any given topic, you need to know how fast/slow you usually progress. Should you have trouble assessing your progression and learning skills, it might well be an idea to ask your fellow students, colleagues, family members for help. Be prepared to have some honest feedback help you along the way and to acknowledge honestly what your strong/weak points are. If maths are not your cup of tea, do plan more working sessions, or just more intensive ones, in this specific area!
Tip #4: Keep your focus
Distractions come in every shape nowadays – the Internet being one of them, along with the TV, radio and so forth. Try disconnecting from the Internet during some of your working hours. Keep social networks shut, disconnect your phone line, turn your mobile off if you tend to get distracted easily. One tool you may enjoy at the end of the day – if you work on a computer – is RescueTime: this time management tool provides you feedback on how long you have spent on every task during your computer-based work. By doing so, it helps you spot areas with lack of productivity and turn them into pools of productivity instead!
Tip #5: Multitasking or no Multitasking
This one might well go hand in hand with tip #4 if you tend to scatter your energy and loose yourself in a whirlwind of ideas and projects (which is very positive in essence, mind you!). Streamlining your working process might be what you are looking for: when you start planning or working on a task, finish it. This will be your specific goal, no other. Once that task is done, cross it out in your agenda (!), reap the sweet fruit of satisfaction and move on to the next one (ok, after a little break if you want!). The visual process of striking out accomplished tasks is rewarding and helpful in assessing your progression. Jumping from one idea and action to the other is extremely time-consuming and ends up being frustrating because at the end of the day, not one task will be accomplished.
We hope these simple yet strategic steps will help you find your way and reach your goals! What other tips would you suggest we added? What works best for you? Let us hear about your success stories!