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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Organize Me: Let's Get that A!

It is that time of the year again for students. It is getting close to finals time as well as Thanksgiving break. Before you start stressing about your final exams and paper, I decided to do this week's blog on how to improve your studying skills and get the A. I hope my tips will help you get that grade that you deserve. 

Study Tips For Finals
Tip #1: Avoid Distractions for Better Concentration
  • Find a place away from distractions. 
  • Here are some suggestions:
    • Empty Classroom
    • Library
    • Quiet Room
    • Your own study area/room
  • If you cannot find a quite place or a room without distractions, try putting on you head phones and listen to classical music. 
    • Previous studies have found that there has been a positive correlation between listening to classical music and performance and memory.
    • I have provided a sample of classical music that you can use when studying.

Tip#2: Organize Your Notes

  • If you organize your notes, it will allow you to better organize your thoughts as well. 
  • If you use headings, it will be easier for you to look back in your notes to remind you the different topics/subjects of whatever it is that you are studying about. 
    • Ways to organize your notes:
      • Color Code using different highlighters 
      • Use Headings for different topics/subjects within your notes
      • If you write your notes, type them and use different fonts/styles
  • Below are some examples of how you can organize your notes.



        

Tip #3: DO NOT CRAM 

  • Avoid studying the last minute. Many previous studies have found that studying the last minute has been proven not effective. Your brain is not able to store the information in your long term memory; therefore, you do not learn anything
  • Try setting up a schedule where you will study in small increments of information. This way, you are starting to store information into your long term memory that will enable to recall during exams. Plus, this will avoid the stress that you face when you cram for exams.
  • Below is an example of a schedule that provides dates and topics to be studied and assignments that come with it. 


Tip #4: Study Smart

  • Do not study for longer than an hour. 
    • According to Primacy and Recency Effect, people have the tendency to remember the first and last thing that they read. The reason behind this is that we can only focus for a certain amount of time.

    • When studying, study with breaks. For example, study for 20 minutes and take a 5 minute break. During break, do not go onto any activities that you will put at risk for not going back to studying, such as Facebook, watching TV, calling someone, and etc.
    • Rather, do something active like walk around the house or do some kind of exercise. 

Tip #5: Find the Motivation

  • If you find yourself bored or cannot focus when studying. Try to find motivations. 
  • You can:
    • Put post its everywhere tell you that you can do it.
    • Set goals that you want to accomplish and reminding yourself that in order to reach those goals, you need to pass this class.
    • Even have some kind of incentive for yourself. For example, you can say "If I get this A in the class, I will go out with my friends and celebrate." 
    • Remind yourself that  YOU CAN DO IT!



Overall message this week:
TO GET THAT GOOD GRADE:
AVOID PROCRASTINATION/DISTRACTION
MOTIVATE YOURSELF
AVOID STRESS BY STUDYING IN ADVANCED

Sample Scenario:
Angelica Kim is undergraduate student in her second semester taking six classes (18 credits), taking part as a leader of three different students organization, interning in two different places, working part time, and tending to her loved ones' needs. She is also trying to get into graduate school so that she can start in the fall semester for the next academic year.
What will you do in this scenario?
What she did:
  • Utilized her planner and set up her deadlines for her assignments which are written down on her planner to remind herself of the upcoming deadlines)
  • Wrote down:
    • Dates and times for work and internship
    • Due dates for her research projects, presentations, exams, assignment due dates, and what assignments are due at what day
  • Used sticky note to create mini to do lists for her weekends to remind herself of what she has to accomplish over the weekend
  • Organized her note by color coding them.
   What happened to her?
She was able to:
  • Fulfill her responsibilities within her student organizations and do beyond what was expected of her with her leadership positions
  • Received a full-tuition scholarship due to her grades and involvements
  • Assigned a mentor which was included with her scholarship agreement
  • Received a 3.83 GPA for the semester (Not her cumulative)
  • Received an internship notation and a service-learning notation on her transcript
  • More involved in other organizations in her campus and community
    • She now tutors adults to get their GED and pass their advanced ESOL classes
    • Works with children to help prepare them for school
    • Works with students to be better writers
Being organized can benefit you in the long run. It helps lessen the stress that we all face everyday because it allows us to know what we have to do and stay on top of things. I hope that my "Organize Me" segment has been a big help. I hope that Angelica Kim has inspired you and made you realize that you too can do what she did. Despite of your busy schedule, organization will help you do everything that you need to do. Always remember, YOU CAN DO ANYTHING AS LONG AS YOU PUT YOUR MIND INTO IT. Get that determination and persistence to achieve your goals.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Organize Me: Time Management

I hope my previous post helped you guys in someway. I know I had to take my own advice so I won't get buried in everything that I have to do. So this week, I will be talking about how to manage your time wisely. I will provide you with helpful tips on how to effectively use or spend your time. As an individual with different responsibilities, I had to learn how to effectively use my time so that I have time for school work, meetings with several different organizations, work, and, of course, fun things to do with my family and loved ones.

Let's Manage!

Tip #1: Use your planner to create your schedule 
  • I know I keep saying to use your planner, but this plays a crucial role in your time management skills. The reason is that your planner will act as a reminder of what you have to do whether it is for the day, the whole week, and even the whole month. 
  • When using your planner:
    • Write down all your deadlines in the appropriate days and what is due that day
      • This should give you an overview of how much time you have until that specific project or bill is due
Tip #2: Use a "To Do" list & Prioritize (Write out important dates)
  • This may seem obvious but people fail to see how useful this can be. "To Do Lists" allows you to write down what you have to do.
  • When writing down what you have to do, write down the one with the greatest priority.
    • Students:
      • For example, if you have big research paper due in a week, you can write that down first.
        • However, if you have short assignments where you can finish it in half an hour, you can get them all out of the way so that you can focus on the big research paper. 
    • Non-students:
      • For example, prioritize which bill is due soon. Set up your payment for that and if you have other chores that you have to do at home, finish what you feel is appropriate to do first.

Tip #3:  Make it a habit
  • Step one:
    • use a 24-hr schedule to get an idea of how you spend your time (This is handy when you seem to think that you have no time to do everything)
  • This tip is super useful for both students and non-students.
  • Step two:
    • Schedule in whatever it is that you do every single day. This will allow to have a visual of what you do with your time.
    • If you are a student, schedule in study time. If you try your best to follow through with your schedule, before you know it, you will be studying or doing your work.
    • If you are a non-student, do the same thing like the student but instead of school work, write in what you have to do whether it is for work or for your child, if you have one.
  • Step three:
    • Follow through with your schedule.
      • We all have last minute things to do so in this case, allow flexibility. This will let you to attend to those unsuspecting events. 
Overall message this week:
MANAGE YOUR TIME WISELY

Sample Scenario:
Angelica Kim is undergraduate student in her second semester taking six classes (18 credits), taking part as a leader of three different students organization, interning in two different places, working part time, and tending to her loved ones' needs. She is also trying to get into graduate school so that she can start in the fall semester for the next academic year.
What will you do in this scenario?
What she did:
  • Utilized her planner and set up her deadlines for her assignments which are written down on her planner to remind herself of the upcoming deadlines)
  • Wrote down:
    • Dates and times for work and internship
    • Due dates for her research projects, presentations, exams, assignment due dates, and what assignments are due at what day
  • Used sticky note to create mini to do lists for her weekends to remind herself of what she has to accomplish over the weekend
   What happened to her?

 Well, you will find out what happens to her after my "Organize Me" segment, so stand by and find out.


I hope that my tips come in handy to help you reduce the stress in your everyday life. As what I said in my last post, it takes awhile to adapt organization into your everyday routine but this is beneficial for everyone. Organization allows people to stay on top of things especially those who have super busy schedule. I hope these tips will help you avoid those panic attacks when you forget to do something. If you know someone who may benefit from my tips, do not forget to point them to my blog.
Spread the word :)
If you have any questions or need help, just send me a message and I will do my best to help you.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Organize Me: Avoiding Procrastination

Hi Everyone! I hope you all have been well. I have been thinking about what to cover this week and I decided to focus on procrastination. I feel that it can apply to everyone and I personally encountered it this past week. I feel that this is a source of unnecessary stress. Yes, it is very tempting especially if your interest is not on the task that you have to do, such as a research paper for class or writing something for work. This problem is avoidable and lucky you, I have tips not only to avoid procrastination but also stay on top of thing; this will come in handy for both students and non-students.

Now, let us define procrastination. According to Merriam-Webster.com, procrastination is "to delay doing something until a later time because you do not want to do it." 

STOP PROCRASTINATION AND LET'S GET PRODUCTIVE!

Tip #1: Set up your own deadlines (Time Management, which will be covered in the next post)

We all have the tendency to put something that we have to do aside especially when we are not interested in the task. You have to consider that the longer you put it aside, the more you have to do later on. As you can probably recall from my previous post, we talked about how to effectively use a planner. This planner can come in very handy especially when it comes to setting up your own deadline.

The image above is a sample of how to set up your own timeline/ due dates.

The benefits of being able to set up your own due dates are to remind yourself of what you should be working on and be on top of your project. Doing something in small increments can lessen the load of work that you have to do when the real deadline is closing on you.
        
Students:
  It is hard to be a student especially when you are taking more than three class that require you to do some type of project. This tip is quite useful because this allows students to visualize how much time they have until their paper or project is due. Instead of stressing out about not being able to put together your best work at the last minute close to your deadline, do small parts of your assignment at a time.

Non-students:
   For those who have a busy schedule, using your planner and setting up deadlines, such as when certain bills are due and when you should start preparing for your work presentation based on your research, will help tremendously. This will allow you to work on whatever you have to and still have time to do other things in your life.

Tip #2: Get AHEAD

   Utilizing your time in a way where you do certain mandatory task ahead of time to allow yourself to be stress free and have more spare-time to do whatever it is that you want to do. If there are small tasks that you can do in advance, do them so that you do not forget to do them. You can even use a check list to list the things that you need to do and check them off every time you have finished them.


Students:
    If you have assignments that you think you can do right away, do them. This allows you to make more time for your long-term assignments, such as research papers and studying for your class.

Non-students:
    Since you are not taking classes, I bet you have small things to do such as get gifts for your friends whose birthdays are coming up and research something for your job. To avoid stressing over forgetting your friends' birthday gift, shop early and put them aside. Then, have a reminder on your calendar or planner when the occasion is coming up. In addition, if you need to do some kind of research for your job, do it and write down your findings so that if your boss ask you about it, you have the answer.    

Tip #3: PRIORITIZE

   Determine your priorities. Decide what is the most important thing that you have to do and focus on doing it so. Find something that will force you to do what you have to do whether it is to write down your goals to remind you that in order to achieve your goals, you have to do this specific task.

Students:
   If you have to read something or work on an assignment, find a space where you know you will not get distracted. Ideally, find a place where you know you will be able to concentrate. For me, I either go to school or the library because my house is just too distracting that I end up not doing what I have to do, which can lead to procrastination.



Non-students:
   Try to do your work away from family so that you can focus on what you have to do. This will allow you to also concentrate on your work and not get interrupted and end up not finishing.

Overall message this week:
STAY ON TOP OF THE THINGS THAT YOU HAVE TO DO 
AND
DO NOT END UP PUTTING THEM ASIDE!

Sample Scenario:
Angelica Kim is undergraduate student in her second semester taking six classes (18 credits), taking part as a leader of three different students organization, interning in two different places, working part time, and tending to her loved ones' needs. She is also trying to get into graduate school so that she can start in the fall semester for the next academic year.
What will you do in this scenario?
What she did:
  • Utilized her planner and set up her deadlines for her assignments which are written down on her planner to remind herself of the upcoming deadlines)
  • Finished her small assignments for her classes and kept them in her folders ready to hand in whenever they are due
  • Wrote down:
    • Dates and times for work and internship
    • Due dates for her research projects, presentations, exams, assignment due dates, and what assignments are due at what day
  • Used sticky note to create mini to do lists for her weekends to remind herself of what she has to accomplish over the weekend
  • In the back of her planner, she wrote down her goals, such as graduate sumo or magna cum laude, which serves as a reminder that she needs to do well in her classes 
   What happened to her?

 Well, you will find out what happens to her after my "Organize Me" segment, so stand by and find out.


I hope that my tips for how to avoid procrastination will somehow help you reduce the stress that comes with it. As what I said in my last post, it takes awhile to adapt organization into your everyday routine but this is beneficial for everyone. Organization allows people to stay on top of things especially those who have super busy schedule. I hope these tips will help you avoid those panic attacks when you forget to do something. If you know someone who may benefit from my tips, do not forget to point them to my blog.
Spread the word :)
If you have any questions or need help, just send me a message and I will do my best to help you.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Organize Me: Let's Get Organized Week!

As you can already tell what I will be covering from the title. Yes, organization. It is such a simple method but it can be very beneficial when used to its full potential especially for people who have a very busy schedule. You might say, "Why? I can just get a planner and I'll be set." Well, just writing everything down on a planner will guarantee that you will be able to remember what you have to do or even do everything that you have written down. Let's face it. Some of us may have planners and write what we have to do for the next several days, but we either just leave that somewhere to collect dust or just forget to look at it. For the next several posts, I decided to have an "Organize Me" section. This will feature organization, prioritization, motivation, and time management. I will be providing you with useful tips that can help you take to unnecessary stress from your life just by simply being ORGANIZED.

  Let's Get Organized!

Tip #1: Get a Planner!
    Okay, I know I said planners may not guarantee you fulfilling all your task, BUT there are ways to take advantage of its use. The question is: How can you utilize the planner to its full potential? Below are ways to effectively use it. (Make sure you can easily access it whether you are using an online, phone, or notebook planner.) 
Take it wherever you go especially when going to work or school.
  • As soon as you get a planner, write down everything that you have to do for the week, the month or even the whole year. Write down whatever you have. (Now, do not forget to write down your contact information just in case you forget it somewhere)
    • Students:
      • As soon as you get your course outline, write down ALL the due dates for your project, presentations, and exams.
        • After writing down what you have due, write a reminder at least 2 weeks before the assignment is due just in case you forgot to do it; at least you have 2 weeks to work on the assignment.
      • If you are using a notebook planner and you have pages you think you will not use (months that just past), you can utilize it. 
        • Create a one page copy of your course outline and tape it to one of those pages. This will allow you to have an idea of how much time you have until something is due or how many weeks until your exam (course outline lists your agenda and due dates for the semester) 
      • For the notes pages, you can also use it as reminders. For me, I use it to list what I want to accomplish for the academic year. This just reminds me of my goals, such as what grades I want to get, what organizations I want to be part of, and more.
    • Non-students:
      • For someone who have a busy schedule, you can also use the tips for the students. Below are some additional tips that may help you.
        • Color code your events (if your choice)
          • Color coding something helps especially when you different events going on, such as kids school events, work events like meetings, bill due dates, and miscellaneous stuff. This gives you the visual cue of what the event is without reading what is written down. (You can use highlighters or different color pens)
        • Using bright sticky notes
          • Bright sticky notes are more likely to catch your attention; therefore, it will make you look at it and remind you what you might have forgotten
          • This is also useful for additional "To do" list for the day or week. It serves as a "remind me note."

Tip #2: Get a big calendar.
    If you are a visual learner, like me, seeing what I have to do for the whole month helps me remember what I have to do.
  •  Place it where you can easily see it. Preferably where you often go, such as:
    • Your office (for those who have one) 
    • Your bedroom by your study table
  • Write down everything that you have going on for the whole month, if possible. Remember to include the following:
    •  Name of what is going on that day, like "Big paper due!" or "Conference Day!"
    • Time, 
    • Place, if applicable. 
      • Here are some examples:   
        • For a CEO of a company: December 20, 2013, Company Christmas Party at the Hilton Hotel Ballroom 8 - 11 pm
        • For a student: November 1, 2013, Annotated Bibliography for Child Psychology due at 9:00 am, online and in class.

Tip #3: Get a Small Notepad
    For this one, you can use your phone's notepad. Now, I know this does not sound interesting but it does help especially if you forget your planner. We all have those random moments where we think of something that we have to do.
  • The notepad will help you jot down any ideas or random "to do" list that you have
    • For example, you might be at Starbucks seating down chatting with your best friend and all of a sudden your conversation has reminded you that you had to do something for work or class and your planner is not with you. You can simply write it down. (Make sure you look at it late)


Sample Scenario:
Angelica Kim is undergraduate student in her second semester taking six classes (18 credits), taking part as a leader of three different students organization, interning in two different places, working part time, and tending to her loved ones' needs. She is also trying to get into graduate school so that she can start in the fall semester for the next academic year.
What will you do in this scenario?
What she did:
  • Bought a weekly/monthly planner which gave her an overview of the whole month as well as the whole week
  • Printed out one page versions of her course outlines and taped them to the pages of the weeks that has already passed
  • Wrote down:
    • Dates and times for work and internship
    • Due dates for her research projects, presentations, exams, assignment due dates, and what assignments are due at what day
  • In the back of her planner, she wrote down her required duties for each organizations, meeting times and dates. She also used this space to write out what she wanted to accomplish by the time she graduate, such as graduate sumo or magna cum laude (requiring her to have either a 3.95 or 3.754 GPA), getting scholarships, and getting into graduate school

What happened to her?
    Well, you will find out what happens to her after my "Organize Me" segment, so stand by and find out.


I hope my tips for getting organized had somehow encouraged you to use a planner and organize your schedule. It takes awhile to adapt organization into your everyday routine but this is beneficial for everyone. Organization allows people to stay on top of things especially those who have super busy schedule. I hope these tips will help you avoid those panic attacks when you forget to do something. If you know someone who may benefit from my tips, do not forget to point them to my blog. Spread the word :)
      

Friday, October 18, 2013

Exercise Activities to Help You Relax

Welcome back! I hope you survived your week just fine. This week, I decided to focus more on the importance of exercise, particularly yoga, which can help you unwind during stressful times. It is known that exercise can help you both in losing weight and reduce stress. In addition, it can help improve a person's mood and mental state; when you exercise with a friend, it is more ideal because not only does it help you bond with friends but also having people you like around can help lessen your stress. Below, I will be listing the different yoga positions that you can do to relieve stress and other exercises that may help you as well.

Yoga Positions
#1: Cat Pose: this pose is suppose to help you stretch and sooth your lower back while massaging your back which can help you relieve stress. While doing so, focus on your breathing.


#2: Puppy Pose: this pose is suppose to help you stretch and relax your shoulder especially when you have the tendency to slouch.


#3: Extended Triangle Pose: this pose is to help you stretch your whole body. According to Yoga Journal, it may help your digestive system improve and lessen your anxiety.


#4: Dolphin Pose: this pose is suppose to help quite your mind and reduce stress and anxiety; this also stretched your spine, neck, and shoulders.


#5: Legs-up-the-Wall Pose: this pose is suppose to help you reduce stress by renewing blood and lymph back into your heat.

#6: Corpse Pose: this pose is suppose to help you relax by putting your body at ease state. It lowers your blood pressure and breathing; the nervous system starts to calm down.


#7: Eagle Pose: this pose is suppose to help you with better concentration and balance which should help your ward off stress. 

#8: Bridge Pose: this pose is suppose to help you stretch your back and legs which can lessen stress and tension. It can reduce back pains, anxiety, and fatigue. 


For more information about yoga, below are some websites that contain more information for those of you who are interested.

http://www.yogajournal.com/
http://www.yogaoutlet.com/guides/relaxing-yoga-poses-for-beginners
http://www.yogalearningcenter.com/poses/relaxation_pose

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Survival of the fittest during midterms week

It is that time of the the semester. It is Midterms week! You know what that means. Do not stress for this week, I decided to give you guys some tips on how to survive this week. These tips should prepare you tackle those exams and come out of that room confident that you did your best or even better knowing that you aced it! I will break my tips into several parts:) 


           These tip are for those of you who may have a week or more before you midterm exams:
Tip One: Study days in advanced

    I know that this is a common sense kind of tip but let's face it. We have other responsibilities in life, like work, family, and so forth or some just love to procrastinate. Getting caught in this web of having to tend to our other responsibilities outside school can really affect our academic performance. As for studying days in advance, instead of having that voice inside your head say, "Ugh. I have to study," make studying a habit. Make it part of your daily routine and before you know it, you are getting "A"s in your classes and that voice will be say, "Hey. I just studied that. I know that!"  

Tip Two: Find a study group of your own

If you are taking a course that you do not either like or just find difficult to understand, find people in your class whom you can study with, but make sure at least one of your group member understands what is going in class. Having a study group can help you better understand the material that you are having trouble with. If you are having trouble with a concept, there is bound to be another student who do not understand the same thing. You are also able to hear other students' understanding of a certain topic. For example, if I was a studying psychology and I do not understand what are the stages of moral development, I can turn to my group for help for a better understanding of what it is. Work together and collaborate. Team work!


The following tips are for those of you who might have less than a week to study:

Tip One: DO NOT CRAM Before and exam

I know that it is tempting to put aside studying the night before you take your exam. Trust me this is not a fool proof method. If you have less than a week, schedule in those study time in your daily schedule. Below is a sample of a student's schedule. You do not necessarily have to be like this. The purpose is not to follow your exact schedule, but to give you an idea of what you do with your time throughout the week. Just be flexible and stay on top of things.  



Tip Two: Organize any notes or study materials that you have for class

For each class, you have to do some form of note taking. Now, what you can do to formulate effective notes is to rewrite them. I know this is not ideal, but rewriting your notes in an organized way, meaning you use things like bullet points to avoid long paragraphs where I will show you below, will help you with remembering the information that you need. Also, if you have an exam that is mainly terminology, you can use flashcards where the term is on one side and the meaning is on the other side; this should help you memorize them.

  • Keep the following in mind:
    • Rewriting allows you to jog your memory to help you remember what you covered in class.
    • Using bullet notes is easier to read than long paragraphs 
      • Outlining works too
    • Using flashcards can also be beneficial  



Note: If you can fill in missing information in your notes from simply looking at terms, then you are starting to store information in your brain.

The overall massage here is to try to take any unnecessary stress off your life, such as procrastination or last minute studying, because they will only cost you a hard time. Stay on top of things, keep yourself organized, and stay calm. I hope my tips come in handy for your. Feel free to give me feedback. Good luck:)