I received a text message from someone very close to me the other day telling me that they were spending the day trying to get organised. She had got a bit of a shock at college and realised she needed to pick up her socks somewhat if she was going to achieve her desired goals.
The problem isn’t that she’s not very capable of doing well, but she lacks organisational skills. She needs to realise how important it is to use your time wisely. I think a chat she had with her tutor today got the message through.
This area has challenged her for as long as I can remember. Jackets are lost. School bags are put down and forgotten. I-pod headphones disappeared frequently. Her mother had frequent visits to the Lost and Found department at school. Now when it came to finding anything in her bedroom the family would have to start a treasure hunt.
But now this was starting to affect her future, so time is of the essence to get this sorted. It seems her problems lie beyond being able to organise her belongings, but also now include being able to prioritise her actions, allotting her time efficiently and meeting deadlines. Generally she is lacking in internal structure.
She has taken heed of the warning she received from her tutor and is trying to learn more about the concept of organisational skills and learn some strategies to assist herself in this critical area.
She understands only too well that organisational skills will help her find more hours in the day, boost her productivity and go a long way to provide her with peace of mind. Once she can organise herself effectively she will be able to manage her time far better and will no longer have to scramble to keep up.
Good organisational skills include the ability to make lists, prioritise and set goals. It is easier to understand how to structure your time if you prioritise your to-do list, listing it in order based on deadlines or urgency, and leaving nothing out.
It is essential that she now is able to organise her work herself which requires self-discipline and sensible time planning. What she now knows is success is not just about intelligence, but about planning your time sensibly and knuckling down. She also realises nobody else is going to do this for her, she’s a big girl now, she’s got to get herself organised. Mind you there’s a blogger she knows that will keep putting his pennies worth in through his blogging.
College students often juggle school, work, family obligations and a social life. Time management can help you accomplish more in less time. So it’s worth learn how to get a handle on it.
So many people hate having to take time out to plan anything, but I assure you in the case of doing it in order to get organised it brings so many advantages. For this young lady, and her college schedule it’s an absolute must.
Here are some of the benefits:
- It makes your studying more effective.
- You become more productive.
- The quality of your work improves.
- You are less stressed about falling behind
- You’re never up against the clock having left everything until the last minute.
You enjoy your work more.
You enjoy your leisure time more with no guilt for taking time out.
Basically you are taking control of the things you have to do. You are organising your time and no longer allowing things to just happen, or worse still to forget about things you need to be doing. You’re in control of your schedule, on top of things, and avoiding any nasty surprises.
Here’s the best news of all, once you’ve set up your organisational system, and made it work for you, it actually becomes a lot easier than you thought. Staying organized becomes just part of your routine.
The key to it all is to ask yourself some key questions.
- How much time do I have available, and when?
- What tasks and assignments do you have to do?
- What are your priorities with these, so for example, which are more urgent?
- How long do you estimate you will need to spend on each task?
- How can you break each task or assignment into smaller, less daunting jobs?
- You’ve got to make sure you’ve forgotten nothing, so ask yourself:
- What “Important and urgent” tasks are there to do, you know that assignment due by the end of the week? (make sure you’ve forgotten none of these, check back)
- What Important but not urgent task do you have, such as library time to figure out a topic for a assignment in a month so that you can work ahead of time ensuring you can do the best possible work? To me this where the best excel.
- Where are you wasting time, doing urgent but not important tasks, those things that clamour for immediate attention but waste up valuable time?
You need to also ensure that you’ve clarified your goals. Almost everyone works more effectively when they know why they are doing something and that not only is it important, but it’s something they really want
Yet most people, particularly college students, never really sit down and think through their goals. It can make a big, big difference.
So in her case, she’s got to look ahead to her future. How much does she really want to go to university? Is being a midwife that important to her? If it is all this is truly worth it!
So what does she need to do?
It’s important to know the times when you are at your best, known as “prime times.” Some people work best in the early morning, early afternoon, or late at night. My best work is done first thing in the morning. I am most productive between about 8am and 1pm. Neil my business partner is the complete opposite. His best working time is from 10pm to 2am.
So you best find out when your most productive times are and try to block out interruptions and distractions during those times, and plan to tackle your most important work during these times. Guard this time jealously, save them for those important activities that will bring you the biggest payoff toward reaching the goals you’ve set for yourself.
Make sure you are totally focused, concentrating only on the job at hand. Don’t allow half your mind to be thinking about all the other things you have to do or worrying about where you’re going this evening and what you should wear. No distractions should be allowed to interfere with your working time and the thinking process you need to be using.
Planning is all about developing a successful routine. You’ve got to allow time for lectures, seminars, sleeping, eating, travelling etc. But there are plenty more hours in the day for you to make good use of.
Here are some suggestions to help support you and get the most out of your time management:
- Use a diary to allocate exactly when and how much time you have available.
- Compile lists of tasks to be completed during the week.
- Allocate these tasks to days and periods of time, depending on how big each is, and how urgent.
- Determine the best place for you to work from. Is it at home or at the college library? Maybe like me you’ll get loads done at Starbucks.
- Take responsibility for your working patterns. Work to the deadline you have set.
The best way to organise is the one that works for you. There is no golden rule that works for everyone.
So get yourself organised and say goodbye to procrastination, the paralysis of feeling swamped with work, the feeling that you’re losing your passions to continue on this part of your journey. Breath life back into what you’re doing, in this persons case, her college time, by just getting to grips with her work schedule. Take that pressure away the enjoyment and satisfaction will return
No more playing catch-up all the time, make the best use of your time and get on top of things!