We have 24 hours in a day, yet feel like we can never accomplish everything we desire in that time frame. It’s so easy to procrastinate, put things off and wait until someone else comes along to give us that push to action. Why do we struggle with self-motivation? To take a page out of Shakespeare’s world with a minor substitution, to do or not to do can be the statement that sends your world to new heights or keeps your life in stall out mode.
When I first started living on my own in college, I learned that the professors give you a syllabus for the semester that outlines when papers, quizzes, tests and projects are due- along with percentages of what your grade will be based on. They won’t tell you how to manage your workload amongst all your classes. They won’t be urging you on to get that book read, that paper written, the studying you need to put in for the big mid-term or final. It’s all left up to you. If you didn’t develop good study skills in your formative years, you’ll certainly have to develop the mindset in college to know how to manage your time effectively- or you’ll be swimming in stress and possible failure.
It was at this point that I learned to break tasks down into smaller chunks, and understand that if I have 20 books to read in a semester, I need to look at how much I can realistically accomplish each day as well as fitting in my normal daily living activities, socializing, meal times and adequate sleep. I would write out daily and weekly to do lists and cross each off as they were accomplished. If I needed assistance in the form of studying for tests, I would seek out teaching assistant or my professors during their office hours. I worked on teamwork to get the material embedded in my head- so we would form study session groups in our dorm.
I wasn’t very good at waiting until the last minute to accomplish major 15-20 page papers. I often volunteered to be first when it came to class presentations- because I felt my preparation and attention to detail would be a good barometer for my classmates to aspire to. If I want to accomplish my dreams, I know I have to be one to come up with the desire, the plans, writing it down, breaking it up into manageable tasks and then taking each step forward every day to achieving my goals.
So I’m urging you to develop lists called “To Do Now”, starting with your most difficult tasks at the top and working your way down to your easiest tasks. If you aren’t able to accomplish something that day- transfer this task to your “To Do Now” list for the following day. Write out what you want to accomplish the night before you go to bed- it will give you the impetus to know what you have to get going on when you awake. If you need some inspiration in the morning, seek out the comfort of positive material from Success magazine or authors such as W. Clement Stone, Napoleon Hill, John Maxwell, Brian Tracy, Deepka Chopra, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Jim Rohn, Denis Waitley, T. Harv Eker, Marcus Buckingham, and hundreds of others. Look in the mirror and reflect on how wonderful, special and unique of a person you are. You have talents and abilities the world needs in their lives everyday- so shine like the bright beacon of light you are.
You don’t want to look back at the end of the year and wonder where the time went- you want to feel like you have more to offer to this world and can’t wait to tackle each day with gusto.