The beauty of thinking one term ahead

It’s fast approaching the end of another academic year.  Time to wave goodbye to all the work, all the fun, all the ups and downs.

As you wave goodbye, start preparing for the big hello next year.  Think about next term right now.  And when you get back, start preparing for after Christmas.

Sound a bit much?  Maybe.  But thinking ahead is sensible and time-saving.  There’s always time to relax, but never time to stop.

photo by Mariano Kamp

photo by Mariano Kamp

What do you want to achieve over summer? What’s important to you in the first months back at uni?  What goals can you work on between now and Christmas?

Thinking ahead doesn’t require a lot of work.  Just a few minutes of your time and a pen and paper will do.  A few brief thoughts and you’ll have a basic plan to work with for the near future.  This isn’t about long-term ambitions.  The exercise is to solidify your thoughts and give you greater perspective.

Compile notes, however brief you like.  No matter what you write down, you now have something to work from.  You have the scope to look back on what you achieved, see if reality turns out bearing any resemblance to the notes, understand what changed, explore what’s taking more time than you expected, consider how you might have done things differently, and so on.  Casual planning ahead is quick, it gets quicker, and it becomes easier the more you do it.

With no thoughts on your plans for the following term, all the planning ends up being done for you.  Put yourself in the driving seat with just a few minutes of planning ahead.  If you’re not used to setting targets and pushing forward with such positive waves, it can be daunting.  But it’s worth it.  Shaping your future productivity gives you a handle on your future enjoyment too.

Far from making promises that you may not be able to keep, you simply have an outline of the things you truly want to work toward.  If you do it all in a month and you expected the whole term, you’ve got plenty time to work on another project, have more fun, work ahead of your plan to free up even more time, or anything you darn well like.

That’s the beauty of planning ahead.  You’re managing your own life and saving yourself a whole lot of hassle in the process.

What’s not to like?