College can become a great struggle if you don't know how to balance your school, social life and probably a job. The ability to manage yourself and resources available to you, such as time and circumstances, determines your academic performance. If you want to be a successful and confident learner, you need to improve your planning skills. Why? Because planning and prioritizing will help you stay focused on the most important tasks and complete them on schedule.
Here are a few simple tips on how to become more efficient by improving your planning skills.
1. Identify Critical Tasks
First of all, you need to determine the most important tasks to make sure that they are done first. Accurately think about the crucial activities to be carried out during a day: maybe you have a scheduled meeting with your professor, a rehearsal with your band, need to conduct a research for your case study or write an urgent essay for your English class. It might be challenging to do it at first but as the time passes, you'll be able to define the most relevant tasks among all other daily activities.
2. Arrange Tasks in a Logical Order
To accomplish all the tasks that are assigned to you, you need to arrange them in a correct order. List all the things that should be done, the approximate time for their completion and the deadline. Then structure them in the following way: start from the smallest tasks that don't take much time and proceed with the more difficult and time-consuming ones. Do not immediately jump into doing a big task, it will just discourage you. Until you see that you have a lot of things to do, you'll be overwhelmed.
3. Establish Priorities
You need to differentiate between urgent, important and unimportant tasks. For instance, your essay with a one-day deadline is an urgent task. Starting to make a research for your paper is an important task but not critical. Watching a movie is an unimportant activity for your college performance, unless you need to write a movie review. You need to sort tasks by their significance for your academic success.
4. Create “To-Do” Lists
By making organized “to-do” lists, you'll be able to prioritize the things you need to do, keep track of what should be still accomplished and feel productive and prepared in all areas of your student life. To-do lists come in different shapes and forms, so it's all about what works for you. There is a variety of apps that help create a personal to-do list or you can write information by hand to remember it better. Just make sure that your list is simple, specific and displayed in a prominent place to remind you of what is important.
5. Organize Personal Time for Your Responsibilities
While planning, you need to find some time for your personal needs and responsibilities. Make sure that you always schedule such things as phone calls to your family, eating out with friends, shopping, etc. Your daily schedule should be realistic and include time for eating, sleeping and going out. If you just plan time for accomplishing the academic assignments, you will become exhausted very soon and won't be able to manage your workload.
6. Work Step-By-Step
Working step-by-step will help you achieve a better output. If you have a systematic workflow and follow it, you'll be more organized. Check your to-do list from time to time to make certain that you are on track and always cross out the tasks you have already completed. The feeling of progress will motivate you to do quality work in a faster way.
7. Remember the 6 P's of Planning
Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.
Planning skills are important in everything you do. A person who is organized can deal with all the tasks more effectively in less time. Once you start developing your planning skills, you'll see how a more productive student you become.
You want to complete everything faster, don't you? Then force yourself to plan!