Friday, July 08, 2005

Colours: A tip for setting your priorities

Balancing the demands of school work, life, and health is rarely easy. While many students make daily or weekly lists of “things to do”, often these lists contain far too many tasks to possibly accomplish in one day or one week. Thus, when many of the tasks on the list are not accomplished, students are usually left feeling overwhelmed or frustrated.

One idea that has worked for me is to use colour in my “to do” list. The tasks that must be done today, I write in red. The tasks that I would like to do today, but wouldn’t be a problem if I did tomorrow, I write in blue. Finally, tasks that I have to get done in the next week or next few weeks, I write in pencil. Then I focus my efforts today on the red ink tasks first. Once I have accomplished my high priority red ink tasks, I move on to the blue ink tasks. However, if I don’t get to the blue ink tasks today, it’s not a problem; these same tasks will become red ink high priority by tomorrow or the next day. Same goes for the tasks that are penciled in today; eventually they will be a red ink priority. For this reason, it’s a good idea to make a new colour list every couple of days.

As a result of my colourful “to do” lists, my list of tasks not only feels shorter, but I keep my priorities straight.