If you're anything like me, I can sometimes get into a productivity rut.
I know what needs to get done, but I don't seem to get anywhere when I start to try to do it. I find that I start to do all of the things that are urgent and don't spend the necessary time on the things that are important (until they become urgent). This is not a happy place (like Disneyland...but even then there's all those lines).
But there's one word that has helped me zero in on what needs to get done and helps me move forward in a positive direction...Next
Think about it. We can write down all of the things that we need to do, but we never answer the question: What do I need to do NEXT?
Sometimes I'll look at a project that I'm involved in and I'll suddenly feel overwhelmed. There's so much to it. But it helps (a lot) if I can take the project and begin to ask myself: What is the very NEXT thing I need to do with this project? This is different than asking what I need to do to get the project DONE. That's where so many of us get stuck. We view things in the light of completion. Sometimes it takes a LOT of time and a LOT of energy to get an entire project done. But it won't take as much if we only consider what needs to happen NEXT.
And slowly (or more quickly than you realize) each NEXT step adds up and you find that your project is moving closer and closer to DONE.
This may not be anything new to some of you and it certainly isn't my own idea. But it is something that those of us who have deadlines, projects, and assignments must be reminded of. When I begin to feel overwhelmed by the workload, I step back for a minute and do one thing:I tell myself to spend five minutes on the NEXT thing I have to do.
This starts to create the momentum I need to move forward and I have increased energy and I start to move back into productive mode.
Students are in unique rhythm of life. They get natural breaks throughout their academic year. Right now we're in the biggest of them all: summer. As a result of all the sun and fun you might be experiencing it might be a little difficult to get back into the mode of knocking out your assignments and responsibilities.
Here's my learning tip for you: Take out a sheet of paper and create a list. But don't make it a TO DO list. Instead, make it a TO NEXT list. List out the very next thing you need to do once you put the pen down and step away from the table.
For me, the very next thing I need to do right now is hit "Publish" on this post...
Flickr Photo Credit: mikemendel