Having trouble kicking goals?

So the first thing that you probably thought upon reading the title was, “I don’t play football!” But let me assure you, this about kicking your own goals.

On my way home from University games, I bought a little book called “The Decision Book” by Mikael Krogerus and Roman Tschäppeler, which is packed of really handy strategies and models for strategic thinking, and it reminded me of a handy little goal setting strategy that I learned a few years ago, it’s quite popular so you’re likely already familiar with it.

It’s called SMARTER goal setting.

Writing
SMARTER is an acronym for a series of tasks involved in setting, planning and completing goals, and here’s what they are:

Specific – The goal must be specific. Having an ambiguous or generalised goal, which is important for refining and outlining exactly what you hope to achieve, and the things are involved in completing it, e.g. “I will eat healthier” is too open ended, instead, try for “I will create a weekly meal-plan full of nutritious and healthy food” or something similar.

Measurable – Goals are quantifiable, and should be able to have their progress measured. Having a measurable goal is important for understanding your progress: How far have I come? How far have I got to go? What things do I need to do in order to maintain my progress? What things need to be adjusted to improve my progress?

Achievable – This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Is your goal achievable? What things do you need to change in your behaviour or attitude to help you achieve your goal? What skills, financial capacity, attitudes and abilities do I need to complete my goal? Naturally, the length of your goal will impact on how achievable it is, but we’ll get to that later.

Realistic – This is where you need to have some honest reflection. On my wall I have a piece of paper that reads: “Long-shot goal: 2020 Olympics”. Yeah, I’ve considered trying to make the path into the 2020 Australian Olympics Baseball team, but if I sit down and have an honest reflection, it isn’t realistic for me. But that being said, almost anything is accomplishable if you give enough hustle and work towards completing it done.

Time-bound – Set a time limit. Mark a date on your calendar, when must you complete your goal by? Naturally, different goals will have different lengths of time to be completed, e.g. short and long-term goals. A short-term goal is something that can be completed soon, and with (perhaps) quite little effort. Long-term goals are usually more difficult, have more variables that require time to be completed; but this is entirely dependant on what you want to achieve.

Evaluate – Pretty straight forward. Evaluate your progress and barriers that are in your way, taking the time to adjust to those barriers to ensure that you can keep progressing with your goal.

Re-do – If you didn’t complete your goal, or perhaps didn’t complete it to the standard that you would have liked, sit down and put your goal through the SMARTER process again!

So, hopefully with this strategy in mind, you can apply it to goals of all kinds, sporting, personal, professional, academic, you name it!

Tyler Trevaskis

Super handy productivity tips!

Hey, How are you? Good? Oh… You’re feeling swamped under all this work you have to do? Trust me. I know how that feels, I’ve always got homework or an assignment and I always procrastinate and never feel productive, but, if you’d like, I can give you a few tips that really helped me get things done? Awesome.
 
 
For starts, have you thought about cleaning your desk?
 
Your place of work is really important, so you have to make sure it’s tidy, organised and ready to go. Take some time to organise your desk, so that you know exactly where everything is when you need it, no time is wasted on digging through piles of paper and junk, which can really help when you’re under pressure or in the zone, plus, there will be less to distract you.
 
 
Have you tried writing a To-Do list?
 
As part of each morning routine I make a To-Do list, putting the most crucial or loathsome items at the top, and work my way down in order of importance, with the least important task at the bottom. As you complete a task, just cross it off the list.
 
If you don’t like the idea of wasting paper each day on a physical list, Evernote is a really handy app that lets you make notes or lists and share them between any number of devices; and the best thing it, it’s paper free! It will even send you notifications if you’re forgetful like me.
 
 
How much exercise do you do?
 
Exercise is one of the most underrated productivity hacks. Not only is exercise crucial for your health and wellbeing, it helps your productivity too!
 
One thing I’ve found from making exercise a part of my daily routine is that I’m so much more focused when I sit down to work, I’m consistently more productive. By exercising, it increases blood-flow to your brain, helping awareness and processing, as well as gives you more energy. Exercise it an all-round life essential, for your physical and mental health, alertness and sleeping habits. 30 minutes a day of physical activity is recommended.
 
If you don’t have time for a chunk of 30 minutes, do three 10 minute routines instead, or incorporate using the stairs instead of the elevator? Park your car a few blocks from the office and walk the rest of the way, whatever you do, make physical activity a part of your daily routine and you’ll see improvement in every facet of your life.
 
 
Are you getting enough sleep?
 
Sleep is key, absolute key, to being productive and healthy.
 
Ditch the technology for at least an hour before you go to bed to make sure you get a decent amount of sleep. Sign off, you can text your pals tomorrow, because the light emitted from your phone or laptop inhibits the release of melatonin, a key chemical involved in preparing our bodies for sleep, so if you’re having trouble getting to sleep, maybe try logging off and reading a book for a while, you might learn yourself a thing or two.
 
 
Follow the Pareto Principle, man.
 
The Pareto Principle is simple: 80% of your desired results will come from 20% of your activity.
 
Find the things that are your priority, the tasks that will offer you the most progress and results and do them first. Pretty simple, huh?
 
 
 
This list isn’t comprehensive, but it’s a neat little start. Super simple to incorporate into a busy schedule with little effort, and you’ll start seeing yourself complete tasks in no time.

Looking for a way to de-stress this Uni break?

Fellow bloggers,
Holidays are almost upon us, and that means a time for some much needed R&R. After all the stress of exams, getting assignments in and lacking some serious sleep, we all need to treat ourselves to a little bit of fun and R&R these holidays.

I have combined a great list of ways to de-stress from home or your room on res! All of these are super easy and cost free!

  • Read a book. For all those book lovers out there, there is no better feeling then sitting down a reading a book you ACTUALLY want to read. Take some time out from those strenuous text books and treat yourself to a good old novel.
  • Have some quiet time to yourself. After running around like busy bees for 4 months, its time to treat yourself to a little ‘me’ time. Nothing helps a person de-stress more than being alone in a quiet area doing whatever it is you want.
  • Treat yourself. After all that hard work you put in to your assignments, you deserve to spend a little bit extra on yourself. There is no better motivation to continue doing well than splurging on yourself as a reward. Also, shopping has been proven to help de-stress! It’s a win-win really.
  • Hang out with old friends. For those who live on Res, the holidays are a great time to head back home and catch up with everyone. Hanging with old friends is a great way to de-stress whilst catching up on all the lastest news.

Whilst some of this may not apply to you – as you may be doing one of La Trobe’s many winter courses – I hope you all have a great break. I’m sure you all need it and deserve it. Congratulations on making it through your first semester First Years, and may you continue to succeed!

Cheers,
Bianca !!

A LIST OF WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T DO

If you were to go on my Tumblr blog at the moment you’d notice I’ve been blogging a lot! This only means one thing. I have assignments I should be doing. I actually like to think my time management skills have gotten a lot better since I left high school, mainly due to the fact I have great friends who look at me disapprovingly whenever they see me procrastinating.

However, when it comes to study tips and advice on what you should be doing in relation to assessments, I’m honestly the worst person you could listen too. I’ve taken this negative and turned it in to a positive though. Instead of telling you what you should do, I’m going to tell you what you shouldn’t do. Below is a list of what not to do when you know those assignment dates are getting closer!

  • Do NOT write the title of your assessment then reward yourself with ‘five minutes’ free time. Before you know it, its 9pm, your study break has been going since 11am yesterday morning and your word count is still 5.
  • Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and funny cat videos on YouTube are not your friends. They are evil. You’ll realise this the night before your assignment is due and you’re curled up in a little ball crying of stress. The cat videos aren’t so cute at this point in time.
  • The sudden urge to clean also becomes strong around assessment time. STOP! Put down the duster! If your room has been filthy for the past month a few extra days won’t hurt. In fact it might be good for that mould in the corner to keep thriving!*
  • Boredom eating is a big one! Don’t do it, you’ll regret it! Unless the food is Tim Tams, in this case 5 packets in two hours are acceptable.
  • Oliver Queen or any extremely good looking TV show character will not help you pass your assessments. This is possibly the saddest and most disappointing thing I will ever write.

I really hope these tips help to cure your procrastination and will help you all get A’s!

Gabby

*Note: I do not have mould growing and my room is actually very clean! This was a made up example used for the purpose of this blog post!

How to conquer group assignments

In high school when a teacher announces group work is to be done, it is almost a guarantee that half of the students in the class will turn to their best friends and give them “the look”. The look that says without words “you’re my partner”or “you’re in my group.”

During one of my first tutorials at university, the class was faced with the prospect of a group assignment. I looked around – I knew NO ONE! In the end, I got into a group of three and the rest is history. I think the three of us did a pretty good job of working together BUT it is always difficult to find balance among different personalities and different work ethics. In my opinion, each person usually fits the mould of a certain type of team member.

The control-freak: This is the person who instantly takes control of the work. They know what they want to do and how they want to do it, and will do everything in their power to make it happen.

It is important to remind this person that it is a group assignment and everyone needs/wants to have an equal say in how it is done. They may have great ideas but a bad, controlling attitude – you must encourage the good side to make it shine!

The whatever-er: Whatever.” “I don’t mind.” “It’s up to you.” These three statements are likely to come out of the mouth of the whatever-er (yes, I made that label up). This person does some work but they aren’t willing to share their own opinions or ideas. This places more responsibility on other team members and makes it difficult for decisions to be made.

Give them RESPONSIBILITY. If they feel like everyone values their ideas and decision-making, they will give more to the group. By handing over responsibility to this person, they are forced into a situation where they must think for themselves. 

The lazy one: The person who does nothing, or appears to be doing something but in reality is not. It can be very frustrating to have a person like this in your group!

If it gets to the point where their laziness is affecting the group work and potentially your grades, you need to say something. Sternly tell them that if they do not get their act together, everyone is going to get a lower mark. If you also show or try to subtly remind this person how much work everyone else is putting in, they should feel pressured to also participate.

The overall good team member: If you’re lucky, everyone in your group will be a great team member. The work is shared out evenly; everyone puts in equal effort, listens to one another’s ideas and gets the assignment done!

You don’t need to do anything but be grateful you have a fantastic team!

A big part of university is learning how to work in a group. Do your best to be a team player, whatever the situation or whoever you are working with, and hopefully you will bring out the best attributes of your group members. It’s also a skill that will get you far in the workplace too!

Jemma

Say No to Stress

Nothing says welcome back to university more than assignments. My chest grows tighter and tighter as the tasks I will undertake are handed to me.

I’m just not sure how I am going to manage.

That lovely week off for Easter break just wasn’t long enough. Now, I find myself back to finish off this semester and already I’m counting down the days until the next set of holidays. (And my much needed trip to Hawaii.)

I always seem to focus on the overall set of tasks ahead of me, instead of just focusing on one at a time and let me tell you; it’s not healthy. Stress only leads to lack of sleep and appetite. For someone who loves their sleep, and is always hungry – this isn’t good.

So I’ve decided I need chill out.

University is supposed to be a fun and an enriching experience so I’ve decided I need to stop letting my stress get the best of me and just try and take this new stage in my life, one step at a time.

So I’ve decided to create a checklist:

  1. Create a table outlining the weeks my assignments are due for each of each of my classes so it is laid out in front of me. ✓
  2. Create cue cards as I progress in my marketing subject each week because this subject has an exam and that’s how I learn best for exams. ✓
  3. Possibly take up yoga or some form of meditation eg. get a stress ball (I’m still working on that).

By Adriana

S-T-U-D-Y-I-N-G, what does that spell? Procrastination.

Week six is here along with the glorious deadlines for assignments, if you haven’t freaked out yet I salute you.

To quote a very insightful wizard Albus Dumbledore

“It is our choices…that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities”.

So start making good choices right now and put down that phone and get writing.

If you’ve come straight from high school like myself – you’re most likely looking at these assignments and thinking how do I write this? The thing is its okay if you don’t know how to write it; all you have to do is ask for help.

Ask your tutors or your lectures and don’t forget about the first year advisers. These people are here to help you and make this transition as smooth as possible so ask their advice and clarify any queries you have.

So after opening your word document to begin writing you won’t feel confused. You wont feel the need to begin skimming through Facebook. Instead, you will be able to look at that empty word document and have the words flow through your fingertips.

So make good choices and don’t put that studying off.

Start writing your assignments because at the end of the day it’s your future which will benefit from it.

By Adriana

 

Assignment madness and daunting deadlines

Feeling overwhelmed with class assignments? Not sure how to get started or don’t understand what to do? Everyone has there own way of approaching assignments but here are some general tips on how to deal with those tough assignments.

Try not to leave your assignments till the last minute, this will most probably cause you unnecessary stress and anxiety, and will leave you feeling like you didn’t do your best. It’s a good idea to break down the assignment into key sections and write a couple of hundred words each day so that you can develop and expand on your ideas over a period of time, and reflect on what ideas work or don’t work. Remember it is okay if what your writing doesn’t make sense at first or seems NQR because you’re just getting started. Start off with a draft, and keep working on it till you’re 100% happy.

Completing assignments can be difficult especially when you have a few due around the same time, that’s why it’s vital to manage your time and spread out the work load. Learn how to develop time management skills at our Time Management section. If you still feel stuck, why not check out The Academic Language & Learning website, here you can find loads of helpful resources to assist you in your studies, and best of all they’re just a click away! Also check out the Library site for advice on referencing and planning your assignments. This is a great resource especially if you’re struggling with getting started on an assignment.

IMPORTANT REMINDER 1: The census date for semester one is 31st MARCH 2014. This date is important because this is when you’re financially liable for all the subjects you’re enrolled in. It is your responsibility to make sure your enrolment is correct. You can view your current enrolment at StudentOnLine. If your enrolment doesn’t reflect what you think it should then contact your Faculty or Student Administration Office ASAP, otherwise this will cause you grief in the future. For more information about census dates head to http://www.latrobe.edu.au/calendar/all-students/census-dates.

IMPORTANT REMINDER 2: We are still recruiting first years to join our exciting First Year @ La Trobe blogger team! Don’t miss out on getting involved in this year’s blogging fun! We are on the prowl for diverse, passionate and enthusiastic students who enjoy writing or even videoing. It doesn’t matter what faculty you’re from or which campus you attend, we want to hear your thoughts, but more accurately, your words! In 300 words or less let us know what excites you about your first year at La Trobe. Alternatively, send us a video of yourself, no longer than 2 minutes, explaining what you find exciting about first year university life at La Trobe. Email your entry along with your name and course to newstudents@latrobe.edu.au by Tuesday 1 April (that’s this Tuesday people!) We look forward to hearing from you soon! If you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch at newstudents@latrobe.edu.au.

Happy writing/videoing 🙂

Stay connected with UCROO

UU UCROO stands for ‘University Crew’ and is the University’s private social network. Think Facebook, but with an academic twist. It allows you to connect with other students and staff at La Trobe, through an online community.

This is a user-friendly virtual space where you can ask questions; especially those urgent ones you have just before that final exam or assessment. You can also join or form groups that interest you, create study groups and collaborate on coursework with classmates.

For new students in particular, you can use UCROO to get to know the people in your course and year level. The Mentor Program available through UCROO is an excellent resource, as uni mentors post frequently and can steer you in the right direction, especially if you’re stuck with an essay or just want to have a chat/rant about uni.

Ucroo photo

You can also keep up to date with what’s happening around campus through the UCROO university feed. Staff and students provide you with information on the latest events, resources, services and support programs for students.

There is also a feed that specifically relates to your year level, for example ‘the first years feed’ will only post about first year events or relevant information related to first years. This is really useful; so make sure you regularly check this resource.

One of the most popular features on UCROO is the timetable sharing function. This allows you to enter your timetable and match up classes or breaks with other students, making it 10 times easier to organise lunch dates and study sessions with your mates!

Whatever way you choose to use UCROO, have fun with it. It’s a unique university support network, so make the most of it, and stay connected to your university campus.

Connect with UCROO http://www.ucroo.com.au/  

Download the app for iPhones (Android app is coming soon).

If you need help logging in or would like more information contact team@ucroo.com.

Don’t forget to ‘Like’ UCROO on Facebook for regular tips and advice!