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Whether you are looking to advance your marks, change directions, planning ahead will help you stay focused. Planning is significant as it directs us on how to tackle the year ahead. We just need to be flexible, acknowledge that our plans will have to accommodate for some uncertainty.
Review the past year
Before you can plan for the year ahead, you need to review the year you have just had. And don’t only assume everything was awful.
- Acknowledge the victories, mistakes, experiences that grew your skills, and those that didn’t.
- Look at what moved you forward and what held you back. Write these details down so that you can use them to make a strategically sound plan for the year ahead.
- Identify three large wins and three areas that needed work.
- Look at how you spend your time through the year – did it align with your goals and what didn’t.
Establish a routine
Aristotle once said, “we are what we repeatedly do”. Routines are conscious ways of doing things repetitively and in a specific order. For example, waking up at a certain time every day and sleeping at a certain time, having coffee, going to class, going to the gym and studying for an x amount of time. Creating routines is important because they help promote self-care and create healthy habits. Having a routine can lead to happiness and fulfillment because we can accomplish the most important things to do vs the urgent things.
Having a routine and sticking to it is incredible, however, you should give yourself time. Productive habits take time to develop. If you are too hard on yourself, you might never have the chance of enjoying the benefits of a routine. Your success depends on how seriously you take your routine.
Create a schedule – daily, weekly and monthly
- Write down all the important dates and deadlines you know for the year. Some you might not know immediately but as you find out, keep filling in the dates.
- Write clear and measurable goals.
- Create a specific action plan for each goal.
- Think about big quarterly events and schedule those too. It helps you to plan your week in advance instead of scrambling for time to get everything done. It also helps with delegation too.
You are more likely to procrastinate if you don’t have a set plan or idea. If you know what you need to do and by when, then it makes it easier to eliminate most distractions. By limiting the number of distractions around you, you’re more likely to get done what you need to do. Shut your phone off or set it on flight mode, retreat to a quiet place and listen to classical music, study in the library as opposed to your room where you might be tempted to sleep in your room.
Work on a side hustle
Even if you’re a student, it’s okay for your plans to include sheer enjoyment and recreation. Without distracting your studying, exploring your passions and interests can help you learn new skills and techniques that might not be taught in a traditional workplace. And who knows, it might also help advance your career.
The beautiful thing about side hustles is that they encourage creativity, self-development and confidence.
Reward yourself and celebrate your accomplishments
It’s very important to attach an incentive to complete a task and perhaps incorporating this in your planning might help. After studying for a test or completing an assignment, consider giving yourself a reward. It could be as simple as, “Once I finish this assignment, I can watch an episode of my favorite show.”