Donald Luke Kopp

“Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance”

Leadership Advice: Lately, as some of our students are preparing for the next stage of their life, life after college, I've been getting students asking me for some tips. I often find myself defaulting to the quote of "Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance."

Some people believe solely in the 9-5 time frame is the only time someone should work. Those who know me, know I do not believe that...at all. If we only worked on ourselves from the traditional 9-5, then we are failing ourselves; failing ourselves by gaining all that we can; failing ourselves by being ordinary. To be extraordinary, you have to do the "extra" work. But what if I told you, to be extra isn't that hard. What if I said to you that adding just 30-minutes, maximum, to the end of each day, you'll set yourself apart from the normal and will start accomplishing what you thought was impossible.

So getting back to those 30-minutes, where you use them is entirely up to you. For me, on personal preference, I tend to use those 30-minutes in the evening, before my usual nightly routine. Those 30-minutes I use to reflect on my day, reviewing what I accomplished that day, what I marked completed, rehash what didn't get done, and start making an attack plan for the next day. I also use those 30-minutes to quickly scan my email, deleting the irrelevant emails like the promo emails I get daily from various vendors and answering any quick and easy replies; this way, when I return to the office in the morning, my inbox is more focused on the emails that require additional timing, resources, or processing. So instead of walking into 60 unread messages, I am realistically looking around 20-30.

I am also a big fan of Google Keep, basically a digital version of Post-It notes. I have various To-Do Lists that help me track what I need to get done. It allows me to at least get my thoughts documented, where I can focus on re-organizing and figure out where it falls within my priority list. During these 30-minutes, I also make sure I place my laptop on the charger, and my work bag is packed and ready for me to walk out the door. Knowing what my day consists for the next day, I also plan on what appropriate work attire is needed.

Now I do my normal night routine and off to bed; my mind is at ease because I have an action plan ready to tackle in the morning; I can start the day off knowing exactly what I need to do.

So how does this apply to our students? The same concepts can be used for the daily lives of our students. If our students can adequately prepare themselves daily, coming up with an attack plan, they are already preventing themselves from poor performance. They are establishing short-term goals, knocking items off one task at a time, gaining a sense of accomplishment (and instant satisfaction, potentially). Having a focused mind, focused on what is truly relevant, will produce more efficient results in both your personal and professional lives.

Job applications, resume development, interview research, whatever the ultimate end goal is if you properly plan you will prevent poor performances. Let me know your thoughts, what routines help you!

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