Prioritize and Adjust

Organizing time is a bit of a misnomer. Time can not be managed; it just marches along as it is. You can not speed it up or slow it down. The only thing you can manage is yourself.

Begin with a list of your top three priorities. These are not little details. These are the three most important things happening in your life and with your goals right now. It may look something like this:
1. Family time
2. School
3. Work

Now get out your monthly calendar and write down all the committed and fixed appointments. This would be your work schedule, your class schedule; any appointments that you know are non-changeable and non-negotiable events. These can not be changed. We like to highlight which area of our priorities these fixed events are under by color. It gives us a sense of where we may need to create some balance between our three priorities.

Next you would put in all your deadlines. This would include when assignments may be due. We like to include bill due dates and all general deadlines. This is your last minute reminder list. It must be completed on that day, do or die.

Next you pencil in your flexible events. What do we mean by flexible events? Grocery shopping would be a great example. It must be done, but it can be done many different times. It is something we can manage in-between other events. We pencil in a day that is firm, and the time is flexible.

You have your general base plan. Now it’s important to remember if you are going to be successful in adult education you have to plan time to study, sleep and bring balance in your life. If you don’t plan it and set aside time for it, it just won’t happen. You will lose focus and all areas of life will suffer.

People thought it was crazy when we added 8 hours of sleep to our non-negotiable list. Our grades improved as well as our attitudes.

You may have notice the use of “we”. This is intentional. It truly is a family and friends project. You need the help and support of those around you to accomplish all the tasks required to plan adult education as a part of your life.

Be sure to build enough flexibility into your planning. Things are going to come up. Projects are going to take more time than anticipated. Wiggle room is a key ingredient in any good planning method.

Balance, we can not say it enough. Too much of one thing is a bad thing. Just don’t let it happen. You are in control.