Have you ever struggled to prioritise your tasks?
Do you ever feel like you’re being pulled in many different directions? Work, studies, friends, family…?
I get this feeling all the time that just as I get one area of my life on track, others start failing – like the spinning plates analogy. So it’s super important to pick out the key tasks in each area that will move you forward.
Sure, we’d all love to be better at getting the important things done. But how?
Today I’m excited to share with you my 5 tips to help you prioritise your studying, but also make sure your other work/personal jobs get done.
1) Remind yourself why you started studying.
It’s important to remind yourself why studying and achieving this qualification is important to you…even if sometimes you feel like you would like to throw all your books off a cliff!
I came up with my 3 reasons and wrote them on a piece of paper and stuck it above my desk. Now when I’m procrastinating or itching to make fun plans rather than study I can look up and remind myself why this is important to me.
My 3 reasons:
– I love learning new things and talking to my friends and family about what I’ve discovered
– I want to prove to myself I can do this. I’m stronger than I think
– I can’t wait to see what opportunities come from this but also where my new knowledge and confidence takes me.
2) Declutter your to do list with the 4Ds.
If you’re anything like me you sometimes find your to do lists getting longer and longer, with some tasks staying on there for weeks. So every so often look at your to do list and try to categorise the tasks.
If it won’t take too long or it is really important then just DO IT.
If it is an important task but you just don’t have time right now then DELAY IT…but you must schedule a specific time to tackle it and get it out the way.
Or you may be able to DELEGATE a task. This could mean agreeing with your partner/significant other/housemate that they cook this week so you can finish your essay. Or, order your food shop online and get it delivered rather than waste an hour or two going shopping. Or, if money allows it, could you get a cleaner in to help cross off those cleaning tasks on your list?
The last D, and maybe the most important, is to DUMP IT. You could say that if a task has been on your to do list for some time it’s not that important, so just get rid of it instead of letting it stress you out. Or you could simplify it.
I have one that I got rid of recently. I moved in with my boyfriend a month ago and I had to declutter my belongings. I sorted out 6 boxes of clothes months ago that I kept meaning to list on eBay…but who am I kidding?! Of course it would be nice to make some money but as a working student I did not have hours and hours spare to list and post clothes online. So I DUMPED this task and took them all to the charity shop.
3) Mark which tasks are the most vital.
At the beginning of my day I put a star against the the 1-3 tasks that MUST get done. In a perfect (non-existent) world your whole to do list would be completed. But tasks take longer than expected, a family emergency happens or you have to stay late at work…so pick out the few key tasks and focus on them.
4) Eat the ugly frog first.
After you’ve marked your most important tasks – do those first! It’s easy to fall into the trap of doing all the quick or easy tasks first as these give your brain quick rewards. But as I said above – often life gets in the way and somehow these important, “ugly” tasks never get done.
So just pick that scary task you’re been trying to ignore and complete it. It may not even take as long as you think, it will stop you worrying about it all day (distracting you) and you’ll be motivated to complete your easier tasks after.
5) Prepare for temptation.
When you’ve finally submitted your essay after being stuck indoors chained to your desk it can be easy to get overexcited and plan lots of meet ups with family and friends. However this can easily lead to the same cycle of panic where you run out of time and either have to give up sleep or submit something you know you could have done better.
So, it’s important that you anticipate these deadlines and try to work around them. That doesn’t mean you can’t do fun things, but try to plan them as rewards for after you’ve submitted an assignment or taken an exam.
Then you can clear some of the time leading up to the deadline so you can prioritise studying. Tell your friends and family that for this week or few days you can’t be distracted so tell them to not let you make fun plans with them.
There will be times when this can’t happen, so it’s even more important to prioritise the time you have left. Or you may find one month you relax too much and regret it when your essay is returned. But we’re all human so just learn from the situation and try to improve the next month.
I hope some of these tips help you to pick out what is important and prioritise your time better so you can get more done.
Comment below with your top prioritisation tip!