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Work smart, not hard

Have you ever wondered why some people tend to achieve ten times more than others? These are not extraordinary talent nor skills, not social status, and not even life long experience. The key answer to this dilemma is fairly simple – the ability to organise personal time. Every one of us is given 24 hours every day and the way we use it determines our position in life.

Being a final year Management student, AMBS Student Ambassador and a part-time employee requires a constant upgrade of organisational skills and I want to share a strategy that works for me personally. The method is taken from the book written by Brian Tracy called 'Eat That Frog!' (2001), and its simplicity has resulted in immediate improvement of personal productivity once followed consistently.

Step 1

Set clear goals – think on paper. Before investing your energy into anything decide specifically what is it going to be. Coming to the university as a student opens up an enormous amount of options and experiences, and in order to get the most out of it, you should focus on those that are supporting your long-term goal. You may ask 'what if I do not have any clue about my future plans?'. The answer is simple – follow your present aspirations and dreams. Remember, plans are created to be changed, and goals are set to be advanced. The key idea of clear goal setting is to enable you to make important decisions faster and more effective, increasing inner drive and desire.

Step 2

Plan in advance. As studies have shown each 1 minute planned saves 10 minutes of action. Two hours invested into planning the following week saves as many as 20 hours in total, which equates to 3 extra hours each day. These figures alone can keep you motivated, but only for a short period of time. What you really need is to develop a habit of planning. This is how you can put it into action: under each goal write down steps needed to be taken to achieve it – this is your Master List where you can add any new goals and activities. At the end of each month prepare a Monthly List for the following month transferring activities from the Master List. At the end of each week prepare a Weekly List transferring activities from the Monthly List. Finally, at the end of each day allocate 10 minutes to plan the following day, transferring any incomplete activities from the Weekly List. And remember 6P rule in Time Management – proper prior planning prevents poor performance.

Step 3

Take immediate action. Look at your Master List and think which one task completed in an excellent fashion right now would have the greatest impact on your future career and personal development. This may be the most unpleasant to tackle but developing a habit of 'eating that frog' first thing every day will eventually put you into the position of a winner.

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