They hear it from their parents, guardians, teachers, lecturers – focus, focus, focus…! I am of course referring to students and what people who care about them say at a time of challenge i.e. examinations, assessments, interview, presentation. So what should students focus on in this time of year when they are preparing for examinations and / or preparing to transition into a new year or indeed a new educational institution?

The five things students should be focusing on right now are:

  1. My immediate challenge at this moment time
  2. A plan to make it happen and complete it
  3. How I am going to spend my time in June, July and August
  4. Make a list of the three things I have been procrastinating on and plan to complete them
  5. An evaluation of what I am studying for with respect to a job / career/ further education

1. My immediate challenge at this moment time:

What are you focusing on right now that above everything and anything else needs to be done? Remember that most times it is a task or a project i.e. it won’t last ever, it is has a start and a finish. Accept it for what it is, grasp it with both hands and visualize it being complete and the benefits of seeing it completed. Focus and be challenged by the challenge, it will make you stronger in the long term.

2. A plan to make it happen and complete it:

Your immediate challenge needs a plan to make it happen and complete it. Real focus is required now. Sit down and put on paper how many hours you feel are required to complete it and how many hours are available to do it each day. Set up a timetable and if you do a minimum of 15 minutes per day on it, you will slowly and surely make progress and witness it finally complete.

3. How I am going to spend my time in June, July and August?:

Most students enjoy the months of June, July and August off. What are you doing for these months? If you are over the age of 16, do you plan to work and develop existing or new skills? If you are under 16, what new interests can you develop or can you improve on others? Less focus is required here, but do do something worthwhile and enjoyable that when you are asked by your friends / colleagues, ‘What did you do for the summer?’, you will be able to wow them and they will be envious.

4. Make a list of the three things I have been procrastinating on and plan to complete them:

What three important things have you been avoiding over the past number of days, weeks, months? They may be as simple as tidying your room, setting up a filing / organisation system to tackle your challenges or a task that long term will make your life easier. Focus on the top three, list them down and use the contents in 1. and 2. above to plan and complete them. You will feel so much better for it, even as early as writing them down.

5. An evaluation of what I am studying for with respect to a job / career/ further education:

Finally, take some time out to evaluate where you have been, where you are now and where you want to be in Autumn this year (say September). If you do not know where you want to be in the area of employment or further studies / education, you will end up somewhere else. Usually this somewhere else is not where you want to be! Of them all, this needs the most focus – don’t get left behind.