Set up your environment for success
- Find a dedicated space – choose a location specific for working, even if it is just a section of your bedroom, and declutter to clear away distractions.
- Make sure everything you need is in one location – gather up supplies, such as a clock; paper; computer; headphones; note pads; different colored pens; highlighters; and a day planner.
- Experiment with what sounds help you focus – an open window to hear the outdoors; quiet music in the background; or headphones to block out all sounds.
- Make it appealing – make sure you have a comfortable chair, add a picture or a plant
- Keep your goals in mind – hang a calendar or a white board for an overview of your long-term and short-term goals.
Reflect on what you know about yourself
- Reflect on what has worked in the past – consider what types of work conditions and strategies have worked for you in the past.
- Re-read your last Psycho-educational report – refresh your understanding of your cognitive profile and the specific recommendations that were made.
- Use technology – consider what Assistive Technology might be beneficial to help you accommodate for your relative weaknesses https://www.atselect.org/
- Advocate for what you need – Make sure that you voice what you need in terms of accommodations for deadlines, supports, etc..
Maximize your effectiveness
- Be consistent – wake up at the same time every morning, and follow the same general routine in order to start work at the same time each day.
- Just get started – if you are struggling to focus, commit to 5 minutes of focused effort.
- Understand your assignments – record deadlines, as well as the main features of the expectations.
- Create sub-deadlines – make a list of all the steps that need to be taken before the work is completed. Then, figure out how long each step will take and set a deadline for each one. Make sure you have built in time to get editing feedback from others.
- Maximize your abilities – make sure you have scheduled breaks for hydration; healthy meals; and physical activities.
- Follow a five-day work week – keep your weekends separate from your weekday schedule.
- Break down your priorities for the day – start the day by chunking your goals for the day into smaller tasks with associated timeframes.
- Keep your work easy to access – ensure your online platform (such as Google Drive) is organized, (e.g. by subject and completed vs uncompleted projects) and delete unnecessary documents.
Keep yourself accountable
- Recruit a work partner – find a peer to discuss assignments, and share your goals with.
- Recognize when you have stopped being effective – take a “mini break”, e.g., make yourself a cup of tea; put on some music and stretch; reflect on an issue during a walk around the block; or go to a park and re-read your notes.
- Reward yourself – set a reasonable goal, and then do something you enjoy when it is done (e.g., call a friend; get outside for some fresh air; bake some muffins; or watch a show).
- End the day well – reflect on what you accomplished, consider what you could do differently in the future, and set your priorities for the next day.
- Plan for connection – ensure you have different kinds of connection with others (e.g. friends, family members) on a regular basis.
- Set up weekly rituals – make sure you have weekly events to look forward to.
- Give yourself credit – consider what you are proud of accomplishing, and how you persevered.
- Engage in self-care everyday – reflect on what brings you joy, and how you care for yourself.