When you attend a business seminar or college lecture, how productive is your time?
Do you take copious notes – but never get around to taking action?
It costs time and money to educate yourself – so it pays to get organized.
Here are my top three tips for getting organized so you get great value.
1. Know Your Objectives To Focus Your Attention
Why are you enrolled in the program? This is crucial to making sure you get what you came for.
Let’s face it – there’s probably way too much already going on in your life for you to implement every idea and suggestion you hear.
But you can make sure you put into practice the main thing you wanted.
- If it’s a career or business objective, like applying for a promotion or starting a business, write down the current gaps in your skill or knowledge that stop you taking action today. Then you’ll be laser-focused on filling those gaps as the course progresses.
- If it’s passing a course or gaining course credit, be ultra clear on the criteria you’ll be assessed on. That way you can focus your effort on the exact areas that will bring you results and ignore irrelevant distractions.
2. Schedule ‘Homework’ Time As Part of the Program
If you think your time commitment is limited to the workshop duration or class hours, you might well be wasting your time.
Instead, schedule time outside the face-to-face portion for ‘homework’.
- If it’s a major conference, you might schedule a day or weekend to review your notes and implement ideas. If it’s a seminar, a couple of hours may suffice. But do enter this ‘appointment’ in your diary when you register for the program.
- If you’re studying at college, talk to a student advisor about the number of private study hours you should set aside per hour of class time. Then schedule these hours in your semester timetable along with your classes. It will save you stress as the year unfolds.
3. Keep Your ‘Action’ List Separate From Your Notes
If you take general notes, keep these separate from your list of to-do items.
- For work or business programs, keep a notebook solely for important actions. I like to draw a checkbox for each item to remind me that I have to do something, and so I can tick it off when I’m done. Write general notes elsewhere. That way, you have all your to-dos clearly itemized for action.
- For college students, separate things you need to do – like reading an article or submitting a paper – from lecture notes. By keeping them separate you can easily transfer these tasks to your diary or planner and make sure they’re done on time.
Follow these three simple tips and you’ll get more out of business seminars and study.
And because they’re strategic tips, you may also find you don’t have to try so hard.
What personal organization strategies do you use to make seminars and study more effective?
Note: A version of this article originally appeared in the Get Organized Wizard newsletter.