What a great word… and what an overlooked emotion and tool. Rather, I should say an emotion/tool often misapplied in our lives, which creates stress but accomplishes little. We are busy, very busy, without an understanding of what urgency is really about. Urgency is all about achieving success, no matter the area of life.
I’m not talking about actually juggling physical items, e.g. bowling pins, instead, I’m referencing the ability to keep more than two projects (or activities within a single project) moving forward. The more projects/activities you are able to keep moving forward, the more you will be able to accomplish, and the higher you have the potential to rise.
Poor time management is the downfall of many a leader. The ability to understand the difference between the important and everything else can be challenging. Couple that with the pressure of the urgent and you will often find an individual who is literally swamped with work, but accomplishing little. David Horsager suggests you plan your day the night before by identifying the top 5 tasks that are the most important to accomplish, . . .
Check out this short video for more on Time Management:
Marc LeBlanc, an author and consultant says “Done is better than Perfect.” Larry the Cable Guy, a comedian, is known for his “Git’r done” catch phrase. Stephen Covey says: “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” My phrase is “taking care of business.” Regardless of how you say it, getting the job done is the point; do the job “right,” but keep in mind that “right” and perfect aren’t the same thing.
Check out this short video for more on this subject:
Putting first things first is likely one of the most important and most difficult challenges we face as adults. There are so many pressures and all of them come with the insistence that they are the MOST important. When everything is the MOST important, paralysis ensues and nothing gets done.
Earlier this week I was speaking with a student in the elevator about her day. She commented that it was a busy day, but that she was there to finish a degree she had delayed years earlier. She went on to explain that when she had her daughter, she stopped school to focus on her daughter with the intent of starting back when her daughter started Kindergarten. Her daughter started Kindergarten this fall and she started back on her degree, determined to get it finished. She obviously knows how to prioritize her life and understands how to put first things first. While her choices may not be the same for you, it is still up to you to make conscious choices about your priorities.
While you are in the season of getting your degree, don’t be easily pulled away. Jesus, in talking about the cost of discipleship in Luke 14:25ff, urges those listening to count the cost with the realization that following him will be costly, but will also be worth everything.
The same concept applies, although with obviously lesser consequences, regarding the pursuit of your academic goals. You have counted the cost and started your degree. Don’t treat this casually by missing nights unnecessarily, or coming late unless unavoidable, by not completing your homework, or plagiarizing your work. This is YOURfuture; Put first things first.
Everything is not of equal importance, and the importance of different priorities changes over time. Keeping the first things first is the surest path to success. Take the time at least yearly, but preferably once a quarter to evaluate the different priorities in your life. You can always find an excuse to delay your goals and procrastinate, but the one who suffers when you do that, in the long-run, is you and potentially your family. Put first things first.
Being present in the moment is one of the secrets of level 5 leaders. This is a skill that is often ignored or discounted by those aspiring to leadership who are busy trying to be all things to all people. Great leaders know how to come fully into the moment and focus their attention, intelligence, and relational energies in working with people and issues.
Multitasking is doing two or more things at the same time. For example, watching television, reading a book or playing a video game, while listening to a lecture. A LOT of people swear that when they do this they are able to concentrate better, learn more, and are more productive. However, studies have shown that when you attempt to multitask, both activities suffer. That is, neither activity gets 100% of your attention.
Ok, you definitely DON’T want to drop out or quit before you graduate. Doing so will only leave you with a debt to pay back and no degree to support a better job or give you employment options. But, there are a lot of pressures on you: family, work, relationships, parents, kids, car problems, sitter problems, and on and on and on, which definitely can make quitting seem like an option. IT IS NOT AN OPTION (say that a couple of times). You have invested too much to quit, and you are strong enough and smart enough to make it through to the end.
Here are a few tips that have worked for me.
Don’t forget to pray. It may sound simple, even cliche`, but God does give strength and help. Praying can be a casual conversation that you can have at any time. I also highly recommend some stray moments when you find a quiet place and write out your thoughts and concerns. I have found God really uses these times to help me find a perspective which can be easily lost in all the day-to-day pressures. Trust me in this, PRAYER does make a difference.
Don’t miss a class except in an emergency. I know you can potentially miss a class without it affecting your grade, but when you do you are only short-changing yourself. The information in that class session could unleash the thought that could transform your understanding of the subject or even your life. Part of the benefit of any class session isn’t just the lectures and discussions, but how God works through them to give you epiphany’s of thought that be transformative.
Take notes. You may not think you need to take notes, but that would be WRONG. Taking notes helps embed the information more firmly in your brain, allowing you to have better retention for tests, but more importantly allowing your brain to have fuel for solving real-life problems outside of class. Taking notes is one of the major secrets of those who succeed.
Keep in mind that “all of life can be reduced to relationships.” This is something I believe with all my heart and soul. No matter where you are at, God will use the relationships you have with those around you to improve you, or so that you can benefit them. We are never alone in our walk, although it can seem that way sometimes. Take a risk and reach out to the other students in your classes. Begin to connect with them and you will find the class itself more enjoyable and your ability to stay the course enhanced.
Speak up. Ask a question, get clarification, share an example that agrees with or disagrees with the point the Instructor is making. Make it a point to speak up, relative to the course, at least once each class session. There are several benefits that you reap by doing this: 1) You are more engaged in the discussion and will gain a better understanding, 2) You will retain the information better because you are making it more relevant to your own life, 3) Depending on your attitude, the Instructor will begin to see you as someone who wants to learn which creates a positive impression. Be genuine, but speak up!
Hope these tips help. We are ALL pulling for you to finish the race and get that degree.
The ability to clip and save online content is a necessity for our day. The article below appeared originally in Educational Technology and Mobile Learning. I personally use Evernote as my preferred web clipper and hardly a day goes by that I don’t clip an article or several from different web sites to add to my files, all easily searchable. Check it out, and then try it out.
Below is a collection of some good Chrome extensions that can help you maximize your productivity and make the best of your online browsing experience. These are web clippers you can use to save important materials you come across online such as webpages, PDFs, images, videos, etc and have them handy when you have time or when needs be. More importantly, using these extensions will enable you to annotate your clipped content and read it in a clutter-free space. Also, you will be able to access all of your saved content across various devices ( laptop. tablet, and phone). READ MORE
Here is an interesting exercise which I have found quite enlightening the times I’ve done it. Keep track of your day in a log accounting for every minute of your day in 15 minute blocks for a week. Log how much time you spent answering emails, on Facebook, talking with coworkers, making phone calls, eating, driving, watching TV, surfing the internet, etc.