Building your organization skills is key to preventing procrastination, keeping you on task, and eliminating distractions. When you are organized you can focus better and accomplish tasks quicker, allowing you to beat the overwhelm.
Here’s what to do…
Start with making a list of the most important tasks you need to complete. Typically, you can figure this out by the dates each task is due.
When tackling large projects, it helps to break down pieces of the project by weeks. If you push big projects back until the due date, you will find yourself thinking, “How am I possibly going to get this done,” and become easily stressed.
Plan out your schedule in advance on a calendar to ensure you meet each of your deadlines. You can either hang a monthly calendar in your work area where you can easily see it or use Google calendar.
Start by writing in your due dates. It’s a good idea to set your due date a day or two in advance. That way if something comes up at the last minute, you can still meet your deadline.
Then figure out how much time you need to complete each task, overestimating your timeframe and placing those blocks of time on your calendar. If you have an assignment that will take you four hours, but you only like to work in two-hour periods, break that assignment into two time blocks.
Highlight your assignments in different colors to help you visualize which assignment to work on at what time.
Lastly, set reminders on your phone to let you know when it’s time to start working on your tasks.
Research has shown it takes about 23 minutes to regain your focus after becoming distracted. Imagine how much more time you have to accomplish tasks when you stay focused! Creating an organized work space helps eliminate distractions so you can keep focusing.
First, make sure your workspace is in a quiet area. If this is not entirely possible, soundproof headphones and white noise can help lessen those distractions.
Keeping folders or files for each subject allows you to easily access the next task you need to work on.
Finally, adding a little ambiance to your work area keeps you coming back to focus on your assignments and projects; however, to decrease distractions, keep your decor at a minimum.
Go ahead and implement these executive functioning tips, so you can begin focusing more, procrastinating less, and feeling less stressed!
Dr. Donica Dohrenwend is a licensed clinical psychologist and founder and director of Psychology 360, a private practice in San Diego, that specializes in psychoeducational and psychological evaluations. Dr. Dohrenwend and her team of clinicians serve students and their families throughout Southern California. They offer assessment, evaluation and short-term therapy services.
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