Lessons from Summer School That Could Improve Year-Round Productivity
By Contia’ Prince
As fall kicks into swing, and the familiar sounds of a school campus begin to resurface, I sit and reflect on the past three months and all of the hectic changes that came with them. Summer school is not only a great opportunity to get ahead, or catch up, with coursework – it is a stressful, but valuable experience that can teach you a great deal about yourself personally, professionally and academically.
Discipline and consistency are key. Summer school (typically) only lasts for 3-4 weeks, therefore, the development and maintenance of a consistent and diligent study and/or work flow is imperative. It is also necessary to ensure that this routine is best suited to fit your specific needs, personality and lifestyle. This is not to say that you should ignore valuable advice, however, what works for others, professionally or academically, may not mesh well with your particular lifestyle. Finding your most effective daily routine in life, at work or at school during this very short but extremely stressful time is key to increasing your productivity during the rest of the year.
Planning carefully and diligently saves both time and stress in the long run. Carefully consider the long term effects of what may seem to be short-term decisions. Examine how one choice plays out in the “grand scheme” of things and follow the old maxim by “doing what is right, not what is easiest.” In business, this is especially important, specifically in terms of how a simple mistake can alter the perception of both the business itself and the woman behind the business (you). Reputation and what seem to be are often more important than what actually “is,” therefore, it’s important to avoid cutting corners that may result in long-term consequences – such as improperly or neglecting to fill out the necessary paperwork to establish your business and to ensure that it follows applicable rules, regulations and laws.
Pick what format works best for you. Some thrive in a completely independent environment (one might encounter this when taking online classes), others function more effectively in a teamwork setting (like the classroom) – in either case, self-awareness is key. Be realistic when assessing your strengths and weaknesses as a business owner and act accordingly. If you are confident in your abilities as a solo-businesswoman, that’s great – however, consider the fact that in any industry teamwork is invaluable and it is important to work as an effective leader and team player. If you are more of a number-cruncher and prefer working behind-the-scenes, diligently and cautiously find a “face” for your business that will represent it well.
There is no room for procrastination. Timeliness is key – procrastinating, though harmless by your own intent, can often give the impression that you are apathetic to the daily operations of your own business, which will reflect poorly in the eyes of potential business partners or employees. It also sends the message that you are ineffective as a leader, if you can never seem to get anything done. Manage your time wisely.
Find (effective) stress-relievers and make room for the things you love. Physical health is of special importance, because it dictates the way your body responds to emotional and mental stressors. I noticed a vast improvement in my attitudes toward life, my goals and toward myself after establishing a consistent exercise routine and making better efforts to eat a healthier, well-balanced diet. Both being and looking healthy comes in a variety of forms that a medical professional will best help you to determine.
Sleep. At a certain point, one must acknowledge that there are certain forces out of our control – weigh the stressors in your life and truly determine what’s worth losing a little sleep over.