Mastering Self-Management

goalsIn last week’s ‘Things to Know Thursday’ blog post, we discussed some practical success tools to guide you in in discovering your self-motivation.  We learned that understanding what motivates you to do things is paramount to self-motivation.  This week, we will take an in depth look at practical success tool number two-Mastering Self-Management.

Regardless if you are a full or part time student there are times we find it difficult keeping ourselves on track and on task at times. I bet you even procrastinate sometimes don’t you? I know I do!  Don’t fret.  With our busy lives as non-traditional students it’s bound to happen.  I’ll share with you my 11-step guide I applied to my college (and personal) life that I find useful in helping manage time.  After all, self-management is really personal management, time management and life management, right?

Have Clear Goals – It’s important to know what you want from your college education. Write down goals that are specific, realistic and measurable.

 Make a To-Do List including your daily non-negotiable 3 – This number may vary depending on your schedule. Simply choose a daily number that falls in with your realistic lifestyle. Three is the number I could realistically work with. Choose your non-negotiable three items to accomplish that day, write them down and rank them by importance. Do them so when you lay down for sleep that evening you feel accomplished. Making this list helps you see ALL of your progress!

 Set a Schedule – A schedule will help you stay on track throughout your day. Use your to-do list to determine what is most important and approximate how long each task will take to complete.

Avoid Procrastination – I recall a quote from Creighton Abrams to help me avoid procrastination. It is quite is self-explanatory.  “There’s one way to eat an elephant, one bite at a time.” Dive in and just do it. Even if it’s 10 minutes at a time.

Ask for Help – When you need help, simply ask.  Hey, why not as a CARES student? Chances are, one of us has experienced your situation and can offer a solution.

Deal with Stress in Healthy Ways – We all experience stress in our daily lives. It can feel overwhelming at times.  Feel stuck? Have writers block? Whatever your stressor may be, take a break. Walk away. Do something that will break up your day. Replace your stress with something that brings you joy!

Becoming One with Technology – Our very own Vanessa Rehac offers us very simple ways to utilize modern technology to access and organize our networld. Check out her blog posts, “Class in a Coffee Shop – Why Not?  Access Your Work from Anywhere” and “Bookmarking…Make Your Online Time More Productive” on our website:

Technology balance/Log Off – Most of us love our technology and dare I say, NEED it! Have the will to use technology and not let it use you.  Sign out of Facebook, detach from Twitter, forget about your RSS feed, avoid YouTube, turn off your cell phone and ignore Google.  You will find that you are more productive and less distracted once you detach from technology.

 Attend Class – Again, pretty self-explanatory right?  Don’t skip. It causes you even more stress.

Eliminate distraction – This one is pretty difficult, at least it was for me.  When my mind keeps jumping off task I found moving myself to a place with less distraction was quite helpful. I go to the library or someplace where it’s easier for my brain to pay attention to my studies.  Where ever that place is for you, go there.

 Daily Review – Create a habit to review your calendar/schedule every morning and every evening.

 So there it is. An 11-step guide to self-management that I found useful during my college career. What did I gain from this?  One of the most useful ideas I learned about myself in utilizing this guide is that I am a bundle of resources! That’s right. I am able to stand back and look at myself in terms of what I am instead of what I do.  YOU, my peers, are a bundle of resources also. You have the mix of ingredients that makes YOU unique, different from anyone else, a remarkable human being! As a non-traditional student at ESC, you are gaining your formal education. You’ve undergone (and continue to undergo) a wide variety of experiences. You learn from various jobs as well as activities you are engaged in. You have skills that you’ve acquired through all of your hard work, discipline and practices.  YOU are firmly putting your hands onto the steering wheel of YOUR life and have the power to choose YOUR direction.  We all want to successfully achieve our educational/personal aspirations. The key is to find balance using organizational techniques to meet our everyday challenges

This afternoon I’ll leave you with a motivational quote by French writer, Francois La Rochefoucauld:  “It is not enough to have great qualities; we should also have the management of them.”

I know we will ROCK this together!

 Maria Tripi

President, SUNY ESC-NFC CARES Student Club