Planning as a student


– when faced with lots of competing demands, some may go: “it’s all too hard” & put off until the night before
– however, sometimes tasks are “blown up in our minds” & we lose perspective & mental angst amplifies – notice the self-talk too
– awareness helps you to do things differently – including starting & managing stress
1) – the day you get a task, begin work – take action – even if it is for 5 minutes & do work on it each & every day – action allows feelings to “catch up”
– use your awareness (of how you feel overwhelmed, engage in avoidance behaviour & think negatively about difficult tasks) & take opposite action
2A) – assignments/tests involve “chunking”‘into smaller pieces
– what are the steps, what are the actions I need to take?
– estimate how long these steps will take – remember they are just estimates
– look at the time available & schedule each of those actions in (it can even be prudent to factor in buffers so that you can get ahead of schedule & manage contingencies – such as changes to the plan
[whiteboarding this can be useful too, or doing in a document & pasting somewhere prominent in your study/ nearby your desk | remember plan can & will most likely need to be changed – re-schedule – remember plans are about helping you do things / not as a reminder of what you didn’t – with practice you will get better at estimating and scheduling & planning will get more robust]
– the idea of plans is also to reduce “cognitive load”/attentional resources

– drop the idea of planning & just go with the option of: what are the next 3 actions I need to do (to move me closer to getting this assignment done]
– the idea is to remove stress, & keep moving forward/making progress incrementally in blocks of 3 – eventually the task/project becomes manageable enough where you can plan/schedule again
– by focusing on what you need to do now – it takes attention away from feelings/anxiety & continues to move you – albeit slowly/in small steps – to your goal / valued direction
– experiment – allow yourself to use this for mundane things, but also for some of the more difficult/complex/most important tasks
– do in order – the most important thing to do first

Remember: if you seriously do not know where to begin, then this is where help is needed – parent, teacher, boss/supervisor, library, academic support, Internet forums etc., a quick chat with a mate/friend (FaceTime/Skype) because:
– it is pointless to just sit there for a large period of time & do nothing (corrosive to esteem)
[it also can make people you ask feel good]

– a strength as a student is being prepared to ask when experiencing difficulty, rather than discovering in an exam
– skills discussed here are part of basic project management

Source: Study Samurai Podcast | 20 March 2013


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