In the summer, staying focused while studying or working can be a real challenge – you keep casting longing glances through the window as you try to tie up all loose ends and ideally also get some things ready in advance before you take a leave. Try to identify the areas in which you are the most disorganized, lagging behind or feeling overwhelmed – and then deal with them! Let me introduce you to five steps that will help you gain control over the holiday chaos.
STEP 1: ANALYZE YOUR SITUATION
Prepare a pen and a piece of paper, sit comfortably and write down whatever is on your mind. Jot down what you need to do; all the things you must remember, and the things you keep forgetting about. Write them all down one by one, but do not analyze or order them just yet. Try to commit to paper whatever makes you feel overwhelmed. Once you have cleared your head this way, carefully analyze your situation. Consider your duties and notice what is going on in each area of your life.
STEP 2: Think about the things that you WANT to, and the things that you NEED to do this summer
Most of the items on your list are probably the things that you NEED to do. But is this what you really want to do this summer? If not – make a separate list.
STEP 3: Make room for the things you WANT to do
Have you ever wondered how other people always seem to find time for everything? It is easier than you think. First of all, you need to know what IT is, and secondly, you need to make room for IT. How? By giving something up, delegating or assigning tasks to someone else, or automating them. Sometimes just making things simpler will do the trick!
STEP 4: Deal with whatever you need to do as fast as you can to free up time for the things you enjoy!
Why take longer than actually necessary to do “what needs to be done?” Parkinson's Law states that our work expands so as to fill the time available for / allotted to its completion. Having said that, why not try setting a shorter deadline to see if you can complete something you have experience with faster than before?
You should also remember about the cost that comes with a context switch. Each context switch (e.g. during your work day, when you are working on a number of completely different projects at the same time) takes up about 20% of your time. How to prevent it? By grouping tasks and maintaining focus at work.