Planning can be intimidating…

…but knowing the tools to planning could help make the process easier, and eventually a habit. In the next biweekly post, we will discuss the essential tools a student needs to start planning. But first, we have to understand why planning is important. Here are four reasons for you to seriously consider planning in the spring semester.

First, Planning Gives direction. A clearly defined goal helps to steer you in the right direction when many inputs cloud your thinking, a concisely laid out, preferably written, goal would help ground you when you are feeling lost. For example: I want to graduate in two years, then I need to take X number of exams every semester to reach this goal.

Second, planning saves time. Much of the micro tasks which need to be done on a day to day basis could be forgotten if they are not written down, and sometimes they are what you need to do to reach your goal. Planning time for these tasks daily would ensure you never forget them.

Third, planning ensures you have enough time to relax. When your daily scheduled study sessions are over, the rest of the day is yours to relax or pursue personal projects.

Fourth, planning creates accountability which could be motivating to stick to your schedule the next day.

It is important to know that creating the habit of planning needs time. So be patient with yourself and stay tuned for our planning tools post on 29.02!

Slowing down…

… is sometimes the best decision you can make when you are overwhelmed with tasks. When your To-do list gets long, it is sometimes difficult to focus solely on the next small step. But that is how progress could start. One small step after the other guarantees that you reach your desired destination. It could be that you need longer, or that you are faster than you had planned. Although that could be disappointing or frustrating sometimes, it helps to accept that this was what you were capable of at that given time. The mindset of an ongoing rushed competition could be very harmful for some people, it could backfire and make that small step feel like a leap. So take things at your own pace and create deadlines that are suitable for you. 

Sometimes the unclear path is the one with prettiest jounrey.

In the third post…

… in our ‚dealing with procrastination series‘, we have two more tips to deal with procrastination. As discussed in our earlier posts, the starting point is admitting that you are procrastinating. Then comes, choosing a study location and eliminating distractions. You might see progress after these first three steps, but you are also likely to feel a little bored studying alone. This is likely to happen every once in a while, when it kicks in, we recommend step four.

Step Four: Work with a study group.

When you are not highly motivated, it might be difficult to bring yourself to study. Studying with friends or classmates could help bring you in the mood. You could also discuss your assigned topics together or explain to each other any difficult concepts. The downside to this is that it could be distracting for some people. In that case, studying together in the library could be a better alternative.

Step Five: Set achievable goals.

It is crucial not to overwhelm yourself with more than you- or anyone- could do. Set realistic goals and plan breaks because you will need them. A good strategy is to write down everything you need to do on one paper, and then take 3 items and write them down on another paper. The second paper is your actual to-do list, when you finish with the first three items, you can add more, and so on until you have finished- or the day has.

Stay tuned for the last post in our dealing with procrastination series, coming up in two weeks!

Don’t forget to check the remaining workshops for this semester, you can register on unisono!

In our last…

… blog about procrastination, we discussed the first step to deal with procrastination, which is admitting it. After this, it is important to put yourself in an environment that helps you focus. Which brings us to:

Step Two: Choose a ‚good‘ study location.

A suitable study location changes from one student to another, however, there are some common characteristics of the recommended study location. It should be clutter-free, quiet, and not usually used for other activities, like your bed. Examples of this would be the university’s library, your desk in your room, a quiet coffee shop, or your favorite spot on campus. Having two or more locations to visit regularly would ensure sustained productivity, as you are less likely to feel bored, and helps for easier execution of the following step.

Step Three: Eliminate distractions.

Whether it is a cluttered desk with many items, a seemingly neverending stream of notifications on your phone, loud noises from your flatmate, or any other form of distractions that you could identify, the goal is elimination. It could help to sit down and write these distractions down and formulate an action plan to get rid of them, but in the case of your loud flat mate, perhaps consider a talk first.

Taking one day off to declutter your desk will be worth it!

Do you feel..

..unfocused most of the time? Do you find it difficult to remember the tasks you need to get done? Is it difficult not to hold your phone every 20 minutes? Do you feel tired and unproductive? Is your caffeine consumption over the roof?

Then maybe you are dealing with procrastination. Procrastination is the action of delaying something, usually a task. Sometimes, over and over again. The idea of the task itself feels gigantic and overwhelming. In some cases, sitting down and looking over the task, could put it in perspective and help to simplify the feelings associated with this task. In other cases, sitting down could confirm the size of the task, and further overwhelm the student. So how should you go about handling procrastination? Over the next few weeks and biweekly, we will introduce the series of ‚Dealing with Procratsination‘,

Step one: Admit that you are procrastinating.

The first step for finding a solution to procrastination is to admit that you are dealing with it. It is more difficult to deal with procrastination when you identify the symptoms but struggle to know why you behave this way. Why do you miss so many deadlines? and struggle to keep a proper study schedule? Why is your time management so poor? Identifying the problem will make it easier to move on to the solutions, by shifting your mindset to deal specifically with procrastination.

An illustration from behance.net

Do you struggle..

.. with waking up early? If yes, then this post is for you.

It is not easy for university students to juggle the different aspects of our lives stress free. One thing which is a common factor across all the activities we have to engage with on a day to day basis is time, or the lack of it. A simple yet very effective trick to create more time for your day is to wake up early. I know it sounds cheesy and I am not really introducing something new here. This is a kind reminder that waking up early needs patience with yourself and multiple trials until your body gets used to it. Those few quiet hours in the morning are for you to wake up slowly and not jerk yourself off the bed and rush through your breakfast to catch the bus, but rather to have a slow morning where you give your brain time to wake up and to treat yourself to a proper breakfast in preparation for a less stressful day. Here are a few tips to start:

1- Set a time that is realistic. Give yourself the 7 or 8 (or how many you need) hours to sleep, rest and recharge. Do not try to wing 4 or 5 hours of sleep (unless that is what your body needs).

2- Prepare the night before the things you need to do in the morning, so that it is not stressful to arrange this when you are still half asleep

3- Be patient with yourself and give yourself enough time to do things slowly. In a few (not super) consistent weeks you will find yourself falling into a nice routine and enjoying more productive time on your days.

Using this extra time, perheps you would be interested to visit our workshops in English and German at the Career Center, do not hesitate to check them out here.

Some fresh fruits and a nice cup of coffee in your slow morning could make a big difference in your day 🙂

A kind reminder…

… to anyone interested in our workshops. There is a change in dates in two of our seminars as shown in the picture, due to room unavailability. We apologize for any inconvenience and look forward to see you in the new dates!

The first semester…

… has already started. Whether it is your very first semester, or the last in your program, we are all going in the new semester with excitement and hope. We have all listed goals to achieve by the end of the semester, regardless of how big or small. Perheps we want the new semster to be different form the last, more productive? more efficient? healthier? calmer? No matter what your goal is, if you seek change in your structure in any way, you have to commit to making little changes everyday. If your goal is to have a less stressful semester, then you need to plan well and start early. If it is to have more productivity, then you need to idenify distractions and actively eliminate them in your everyday life. Small changes would gradually lead to a big impact. So get your notebook and planner ready because this semester might just be the one you would enjoy the most!

While you are filling in your appointments, do not forget to type in the dates of our workshops (labeled in orange). You can find more information here.

Planning the future…

…can be overwhelming. It could easily consume your days and become a constant stress factor. 

 It is important to take some time off, where you do not think about your plans. This is crucial, not only for your physical and mental health, but also for a better and more efficient planning process. After your break from planning, and when you then revisit your ideas, you will begin to see opportunities, or threats , which were not visible before. You will also identify strengths and weaknesses of your plans. The more you engage in this process of thinking and then pausing completely, and then rethinking, the more refined your plan will be, as you will put your ideas under the test of ‘fresh thinking’. It will be a little bit similar to writing an article and having a friend look over it for spelling mistakes, the friend’s fresh eyes will point out things which you were blind to while engaging closely with your work. So take a deep breath, plan a nice weekend for yourself and start again next Monday!

It is important to look at your text with fresh eyes, either by laying it aside for a couple of days or asking a friend to go through it, you might be surprised with what they might discover.

The ultimate career path…

… is many people’s dreams. But sometimes it is not so easy to figure out the direction you need to follow. There is not a visual shiny goal on the horizon to walk to. Rather you need to dig a little deeper and understand your strengths, weaknesses, and interests. Keep this list in your head when you are seeking out job opportunities. In such a situation, it is easy to fall into an anxious pattern, with many negative thoughts. But It is important to trust your gut feeling.

While it is true that no one knows you better than yourself, it is sometimes confusing and stressful to figure out how these interests could be translated into the job market. Here is where the Career Center comes in. We offer workshops as well as individual coaching. Maybe we can help narrow down your options so that you can make a decision that is suitable for you.

Don’t hesitate to contact us for further questions or to make an appointment. See you soon!