“Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance”

The question I get asked the most is, “How do you do it?” People will say to me, “You must be smart,” or, my personal favorite, “Can you teach me?” In high school, I found out I was the top of my class indirectly; it was third period and the bell had just rang for Biology. I was a freshman. All of these people I had never spoken to before were coming up to me, congratulating me, and looking at me with this almost scary respect in their eyes. When they told me what I had accomplished, I was surprised and more than a little frightened. Super smart people are looked at differently by teachers, peers, and even their parents. They were special and I was not. Every day I went home and lazed around until I felt like doing my homework or reviewing for a test (which was usually done twenty minutes before in the preceding class period), so how did I get there? How did I reach success?

Well I started by realizing a few things about myself and my work ethic:

1) I liked getting A’s, they’re just so nice to look at.

2) I’m addicted to YouTube and I watch it like it’s T.V.–something I don’t watch.

3) I work well under pressure and usually my best work is done at the last-minute.

4) I forget EVERYTHING.

Once I evaluated how I worked and what results that got me, I realized that either everyone else around me were the dullest Crayolas in the box or I, Kaevyn, Super Procrastinator, was actually quite intelligent…I’m going to go with the former. But seriously, it’s one thing getting to the top when you are a freshman and another thing actually staying there long enough to get me some serious university money, or even achieve in a higher education setting. The day when my peers began to look at me with that scary respect in their eyes was the day I decided to become more accountable with my time as well as my work ethic. However, as nice as that was, when sophomore year rolled around I was still at the same 1-3 that I mentioned before. But what about forgetting EVERYTHING? Apparently when you are the top of your class and seen as super smart, you have to sit through a lot of assemblies with college advisers. This was becoming a common occurrence when this particular speaker really struck a chord in my procrastinating heart with the 5 P’s:

“Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance”

Just say that aloud a few times as I had to. Really think about what it means because I promise it changed my education and how I went about learning and preparing for classes. And this is what helped me stay on top for the last few years and what will get me that serious university money. If this Super Procrastinator has realized anything, it is that being organized and prepared as well as having a plan goes a long way. My sophomore year I got a Filofax and was so much more productive. I had cheap planners before that and even one that my school had provided towards the middle-end of the year (real helpful guys), although they are not much help if you don’t actually use them. I noticed that my productivity increased and that having written down notes, to-dos, and reminders helped to keep myself on top of things. The best part is you don’t need a fancy Filofax or even a cheap planner to do this, you could use a simple notebook as long it was a single, central system where everything is kept in one place. Organization is only one part of the equation though; you have to apply your newfound organization skills to the formula. By writing down the due date of that research paper, I could break down what I needed to do in my calendar and get it finished sooner rather than later. Now the Super Procrastinator had more time to watch YouTube T.V. (yay!) The early bird gets the worm, and like most people I like to eat.

So how do I do it? By remembering the 5 P’s and remembering the fact that being organized will help me remember what I need but won’t actually make those tasks get done. If you want something, applying yourself to the situation in a timely manner will ensure success!