Depending on how long you have been out of school, schoolwork can be difficult to wrap your brain around. Getting motivated is hard. Getting started is hard. Staying focused is REALLY hard, especially when there are millions of other things vying for your time and attention. When I took college classes a few years ago, just getting the work done while working and caring for my family was a challenge.
Like most other areas of organizing, we are going to take schoolwork one step at a time. Here are some ways to prioritize your work and family life so you can keep your sanity and enjoy the journey.
1. Schedule study time. Make an appointment with yourself to complete your reading assignments, conduct research or write papers. Keep this time sacred. No text messages or Netflix allowed. It is easy to say, “I will do it later,” but later never seems to come.
2. Get to it. Procrastination is rarely, if ever, your friend. Start projects, papers, or study for exams as early as possible. Why? When you take your time and learn the material by repetition, you are really learning it. Cramming or staying up all night before something is due gives you no benefit.
3. Break it down. When you are facing an intimidating project, first determine the steps necessary for completion. This list of steps will become your to-do list for completion. With some simple planning, you can give yourself a series of small, easily-achievable tasks in the order you need to complete them.
4. Be consistent. Cramming for tests or trying to complete all phases of a project in one weekend is not going to be helpful to you in the long run. Strive to do a little bit every day.
5. Take breaks. Our minds and bodies need to rest. When you are cramming or scrambling to finish a project, you are not allowing yourself any downtime. By scheduling your breaks, you allow yourself to shift your focus, even for a short period of time. Then you can go back to work after your break with fresh eyes and a lot less frustration.