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When you attend a business seminar or college lecture,Â how productive is your time?
Do youÂ take copious notesÂ â€“ but never get around toÂ taking action?
It costsÂ time and moneyÂ to educate yourself – so it pays to get organized.
Here are myÂ top three tipsÂ for getting organized so you getÂ 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.
Letâ€™s face it â€“ thereâ€™s probably way too much already going on in your life for you to implement every idea and suggestion you hear.
But youÂ canÂ make sure you put into practice theÂ main thingÂ you wanted.
- If itâ€™s a career or business objective, like applying for a promotion or starting a business, write down theÂ current gaps in your skill or knowledgeÂ that stop you taking action today. Then youâ€™ll be laser-focused on filling those gaps as the course progresses.
- If itâ€™s passing a course or gaining course credit, beÂ ultra clear on the criteriaÂ youâ€™ll be assessed on. That way you can focus your effort on theÂ exact areas that will bring you resultsÂ and ignore irrelevant distractions.
2. Schedule â€˜Homeworkâ€™ Time As Part of the Program
If you think yourÂ time commitmentÂ is limited to the workshop duration or class hours, you might well be wasting your time.
Instead, schedule timeÂ outside the face-to-face portionÂ for â€˜homeworkâ€™.
- If itâ€™s a major conference, you might schedule a day or weekend to review your notes and implement ideas. If itâ€™s a seminar, a couple of hours may suffice. But do enter this â€˜appointmentâ€™ in your diary when you register for the program.
- If youâ€™re studying at college, talk to a student advisor about the number ofÂ private study hoursÂ you should set asideÂ per hour of class time. ThenÂ schedule these hours in your semester timetableÂ along with your classes. It will save you stress as the year unfolds.
3. Keep Your â€˜Actionâ€™ List Separate From Your Notes
If you take general notes, keep these separate from yourÂ list of to-do items.
- For work or business programs, keepÂ a notebook solely for important actions. I like to draw aÂ checkboxÂ for each item to remind me that I have toÂ doÂ something, and so I canÂ tick it offÂ when Iâ€™m done. Write general notes elsewhere. That way, you haveÂ all your to-dos clearly itemized for action.
- For college students, separateÂ things you need to doÂ â€“ likeÂ reading an articleÂ orÂ submitting a paperÂ â€“ from lecture notes. By keeping them separate you can easily transfer these tasks to your diary or planner and make sure theyâ€™re done on time.
Follow these three simple tips and youâ€™ll getÂ more out of business seminarsÂ andÂ study.
And because theyâ€™reÂ strategicÂ tips, you may also find you donâ€™t have to try so hard.
What personal organization strategies do you use to make seminars and studyÂ more effective?
Note: A version of this article originally appeared in theÂ Get Organized WizardÂ newsletter.