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What’s the Elephant on Your Desk?

December 23, 2013

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As we all know, financial aid professionals juggle multiple tasks. The phone is ringing, rules are changing, students are at the front counter, and due to the piles of papers on your desk, you seriously have no idea if your desk is really under there.

Whether or not you believe that “a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind,” the bottom line is that there simply does not seem to be enough time in the day to accomplish you what you need to accomplish. Where does the time go? As I get older, I’m thinking it may be possible that clocks are running faster than when I was a kid.

One important step as you begin to implement time management strategies, or if you simply just want to accomplish more, is to begin with regaining your focus. What was I typing? My email just dinged…or was that a text message…or a tweet? You get the point: there can be a lot of distractions. Get out a piece of paper and write 25 times, “Distractions are my enemy.” Focusing on priorities is paramount. If you work in an environment that requires you to multitask, stay focused on those tasks and don’t become Pavlov’s dog and jump each time your email or text message dings.

To do or not to do, that is the problem. Create a list each day of what you want to accomplish. Creating a “To-Do List” either at the end of your day or the beginning will help guide you. There will probably be at least one project that has been nagging at you but that you continue to avoid. A colleague of mine calls this the Elephant and recommends that you begin with eating one bite of the Elephant at a time. Sounds disgusting, but think about it; you are able to break down your big project into smaller manageable bites. Begin with these. You will feel a sense of accomplishment checking nagging project off of your list.

Dan Dreves, Northeast Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Dan Dreves, Northeast Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

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