Planning 101 – tips & tricks

We’ve all experienced it: You have a dozen projects due, a ton of chores, two tests next week, you’re super stressed and you’re lives a mess. You’ll probably want to jump right in instead of wasting more time on planning. But you’ll probably end up underestimating it all and running out of time anyway.  So to avoid all this needless stressing I’m sharing 8 tips & tricks to be successful at planning.

1. Make a to do list

This is a very important step to planning. By making a to do list you’re visually putting everything you have to do on paper, which will make you a lot more organized. Try not to make this list to long. Seeing a long list when you don’t have a lot of time left can be very demotivating. Try not to make it too elaborate either.  Let’s say you have to finish a project but this project consists of lots of different steps. Don’t put all these steps on your to do list but ought to make a separate list for all the different steps of the project. Furthermore you can make several different lists for days, weeks, months, for school, hobbies, etc.

2. Be realistic

As humans we tend to overestimate ourselves and so we’ll put way too much on our to do lists. And at the end of the day you’ll feel like you haven’t done anything whilst you’ve actually done quite a lot. In other words try to keep track of how long it takes you to complete certain tasks and keep this in mind when you’re planning. Start with few things on your to do list and if it’s too much lessen it and if you can handle more increase it. Another trick is to double the time you think you’ll need. Like if you think you’ll need an hour for something make that two hours. And if you come to the end of your list and you have like 12 hours of work you’ll know that you have to lessen it.

3. Give yourself a time limit

Ever realized that you work better under pressure or when there’s a time limit. You know when you’ve waited until the last minute to study for a test or make a project. Of course you won’t feel the pressure if the test is still a few days away, but you can give yourself a personal time limit. If you give yourself a certain amount of time to do something you’ll try to be more productive in that little time that you have.

4. Don’t switch between different tasks

You’re most productive when you’re completely focused on your task. Haven’t you ever noticed that when you’re completely focused on a certain task you’re able to finish it much faster because you’re so concentrated? Well my next tip is to finish one task before going to another. If you keep switching between tasks you’ll have to keep switching your focus from one thing to another. This will waste a lot of time. So in order to prevent this: stick to one task and finish it before going to another!

5. Put your phone away!

As I just said, you should avoid switching between tasks because you’ll lose concentration. This includes using your phone. Every time you check your phone your losing concentration and when you get back to your task you have to focus yourself again. Besides we tend to get sucked in by social media and spend hours on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Before you know it hours have passed. And from personal experience I’ve noticed that after spending an hour on social media I feel less motivated to get back to my task. So in other words, give your phone to a family member, put it in another room or if you’ll really need it put it at the other side of the room.

6. Don’t forget to take breaks

I recommend you take a break after you complete a task (this should be every 45 to 90 minutes depending on the length of the task), when you’ve been studying for a while and you’re no longer able to focus as effectively as when you started. You notice your mind wandering more frequently, or you’re unable to recall information as easily and when you’re switching from one course subject to another and need a stimulating break.

Know yourself and your procrastination habits. If you won’t be able to tear yourself away from Facebook, video games, television or something else after a few minutes, think about waiting until you are done with studying to engage in those activities. Try doing activities like stretching, exercise, a hobby, etc. Just anything to temporarily take your mind off your work but not so much that you won’t be able to get back to your work. And don’t forget to set an alarm to know when it’s time to get back to your task.

7. Do your most important tasks first

Put your most important tasks at the top of your to do list. You tend to be more productive at the beginning, especially in the morning. So when you do your most important tasks first you’ll feel more accomplished, which in turn will give you more motivation to continue.

8. Reward yourself

Give yourself a reward after you’ve completed all of your tasks. Maybe you can watch an episode of your favorite TV show, play a video game, etc. And don’t let yourself touch your reward any time before you’ve finished your tasks. Giving yourself a reward for finishing your tasks makes you more motivated to finish them as quickly as possible.


Well that’s all I’ve got for now. If you have any comments or suggestions don’t be afraid to let me know in the comments below. And don’t forget to like and follow.

Isabel x


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