The new year brings resolutions, and organizational strategies often head the list. Often consigned to the academic realm, these suggestions often appear in study skills manuals. However, one effective method for accomplishing this end is useful in a wide variety of situations whether personal, professional, and academic. The basic concept is simple. Make a list, prioritize it, and perform the tasks. This organizational technique can result in more discretionary time. Its acronym is STING. Whether a child in elementary school, a parent with a seemingly overwhelming “to-do” list, or professional trying to manage a variety of responsibilities, anyone can utilize this method to alleviate some of the stress associated with getting things done.
After devising a list of tasks, prioritize and set about in the following way:
Select a task: Start with the one that you dread the most. This way, you finish it and go on to more pleasant things.
Time yourself: First estimate how much time you think the task will take. Time activation is very effective, so that the task doesn’t consume the entire day. Students should “chunk” their time into manageable segments, usually about 45 minutes each. The same method is appropriate for others as well.
Ignore everything else. This is the step that requires the most self discipline. Avoid telephone calls, television, electronics, and any other distraction that could detract from your mission. Just do it!
No breaks! Devote all of your energy to completing the assignment or chore.
Give yourself a reward. Now is the time to take a few moments to congratulate yourself on a job well done. But be careful that the reward doesn’t tempt you away from working on the next assignment on your list. Take a few moments for something you enjoy, and you’ll have a great feeling of satisfaction when you’ve finished everything. Ring in the new year with STINGing success!