It never hurts to do some intentional planning and mapping out of the most important tasks and goals that lie ahead of you. This is especially true for Spring Quarter as we know that many of you will be graduating, seeking internships, taking the next step in your program, and transitioning into a variety of career paths. So why not welcome spring with some intentionality, and start out the quarter on the right foot? Here are some tips to help you do just that:
Set goals. You can’t do (and be) your best while attempting to do everything at once. Your first step? Take a step back. What? We know this is really hard to do in the midst of a tsunami of work, but it really does make moving forward possible. Make a list of short-term goals that will help your reach long term goals—for the coming week, month, the end of the quarter. Identify time constraints that are out of your control versus deadlines that you can manage and set for yourself—you’ll have a more accurate picture of a schedule that is actually yours. Try out the following resources and see what works for you: individual development plan, decision making, and SMARTER.
Be resourceful. It’s true—in many instances, completing goals and projects are ultimately down to you. They run the gamut from writing a thesis or dissertation to gearing up for multiple job searches. But this doesn’t mean you have to do this work in isolation, nor should you. Create opportunities for you to get and/or give support. Co-organize a writing accountability group with peers, who are inside or outside of your field. The important thing is making a commitment to each other. Check out these guides for writing accountability and dissertation support groups. Seek out opportunities for networking, job shadows, or informational interviews. Schedule meetings with advisors or mentors (community, professional, academic) that you trust, so they can be your sounding board and help keep you on track.
Make commitments. Sometimes we need an extra push to move forward in our work, and creating external deadlines to participate in events that help us grow intellectually and professionally can help. We’ve had graduate students (Masters and Doctoral) say that participating in Scholars’ Studio really helped them organize their thinking about their research in important ways. Just like taking a step back, it can help to pull yourself up from the weeds of your work and communicate with others about it. Whether in a rapid exchange with peers, a lightning or research talk, or ways to showcase your engagement with service and leadership, get inspired or refreshed by participating or attending UW events happening this quarter at all three campuses.
Stay present. We know what you’re thinking, “Yeah right!” Because it feels like crunch time, this can coincide with persistent worrying about the future. Taking time for yourself to slow down at several points throughout the quarter prioritizes your health and takes focus and energy away from anxious thoughts. This can look like doing only one task at a time (as multi-tasking never works), spacing out time between tasks and appointments (so you’re not rushing all the time), decompressing by going for a run or doing yoga following several hours of work-related tasks, or doing absolutely nothing for a few minutes (try focusing on the rhythm of your breath or visualize a soothing image). The purpose of these activities is to help re-ground you and bring you back to your intentions and the present moment.
Jaye Sablan, Kelly Edwards, Ziyan Bai
Core Programs Team