1. Education
Tara Kuther, Ph.D.

Take Stock

By December 27, 2013

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The Fall semester is over. If you're like most academics you're relieved but also exhausted. You're probably also feeling unorganized. I am! Add in holiday tasks, commitments, and plans for the winter break and even the most easygoing folks can feel stressed. What do you do? Take stock. Perform a mental dump.

Set aside a small chunk of time - half an hour to an hour - and write down every task or obligation that you think of. It doesn't matter when the task is due. It might be a holiday-related task, something to do over break, or a goal for the next semester.

Use index cards, sticky notes, or a sheet of paper cut into 4 or 6 pages. Write 1 task per page. Nothing more. Write anything and everything that comes to mind, without censoring - even if items are repeated. Keep going until you can think of nothing more. Then sort your items to organize your tasks into categories. Then determine priorities. What has to be done now? What can wait? A mind dump is a great way to clear your head of those nagging thoughts and worries - and lets you take control of your tasks, set a plan, rather than feel overwhelmed with a unwieldy list.

Also see: Manage Your Holiday Stress
The To-Do List

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