5 Ways to Stay Focused Between Now and Graduation

5 ways to stay focused between now and graduation

Graduation is just around the corner and staying focused is becoming increasingly challenging! There is so much to do and so much to cram in before you don the cap and gown. How will you ever get it all done? You tell yourself you’re going to have a productive day and then before you know it, you’re climbing into bed with an unfinished to-do list.

It might seem impossible to ignore distractions and accomplish your goals. Not to worry – you can do it!

Here are 5 ways to stay focused between now and graduation.

  1. Break down your work into segments.

You’ve probably heard that humans can only focus for so long and it’s true. Your brain needs a break to avoid becoming overwhelmed and fatigued. Therefore, if you schedule breaks, which seems a little counter-intuitive, you’ll actually be more productive in the long run.

  1. Reward yourself for working hard.

If you have something to look forward to, you’ll find yourself staying focused because you know something “good” is going to happen. This doesn’t mean a Starbucks mocha frappe every time you cross off a line item on your to-do list, but it might mean you take five minutes to text your best friend or 30 minutes to play ultimate Frisbee in the quad.

  1. Find the right background noise.

Noise meaning music, television, people talking, coffee mugs clinking, or nothing at all. Everyone has a background noise that works for them when trying to concentrate and it’s important that you find the one that works for you. If there is a certain kind of music that really gets you working, then turn up the volume and have at it. But, if you work better with the sound of silence, find a quiet space pronto and hunker down.

  1. Go incognito or (gasp!) leave your phone at home.

In other words, stay away from social media and social settings. Hide out in the basement of the library or study somewhere new for you. Unfortunately, Snapchat (or any social media platform) and our own friends can be the biggest distraction. Love them as you will, but staying focused sometimes means being anti-social for a short time. If you are concerned about your ability to stay unplugged and focused, refer to # 2 above.

  1. Remind yourself of the bigger picture.

While it might be tempting to put your to-do list aside, don’t forget how that might impact your life after graduation. Whether it’s simply making the most of the last few weeks of your college experience or buckling down for an important exam, everything you’re doing now is part of the end game. Let that motivate you so that you stay focused and stay on track!

Good luck! And, by the way, if you need help focusing on your resume and cover letter, let’s connect so it’s one less thing you have to worry about. I offer a free 30-minute consultation to get you going on your next chapter – life after graduation. Contact me today to get started!

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14 Tips to Ace your Second Interview

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Congratulations, you made it to the second interview. Now what? Getting to a second interview is confirmation that the company generally feels that you have the qualifications to do the job. You should be pleased that you made it to the next round. That does not mean, however, that the job is yours. Most likely you are competing with two to three other finalists, candidates about whom you know nothing. They may even be more qualified than you, at least on paper. Now most definitely is not the time to sit back and coast. These 14 tips will help you prepare for and ace your second interview. Continue reading

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How to Learn the Skill (& Art) of Good Decision-Making

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Good decision-making is a critical skill that has an enormous impact on your life. Whether they are decisions about your career, relationships or everyday life, developing skill and confidence in your decision-making will pay huge dividends. Good decision-making is learned – learned from practice, from trial and error, from taking risks and by (gulp) making mistakes.

As a career coach working with college students, recent graduates and young professionals, I see the anxiety many of my clients face when making a big decision. The first major decision most undergraduate students have made is where to attend college.

For a significant percentage of college freshmen, that decision will have been a poor one. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, of those attending four-year public universities, nearly 30 percent will transfer after freshman year, compared with a 25 percent freshman transfer rate at four-year private colleges. Either way, those numbers are high and can be costly.

An article in the Graziodo Business Review (Pepperdine’s School of Business and Management), cites decisiveness and the ability to make challenging decisions as a critical trait of great leaders. Developing strong decision-making skills requires emotional intelligence, the ability to manage uncertainty and limit choices, and good intuition.

So, how do you develop better decision-making skills and reduce the associated stress and anxiety? Continue reading

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6 Ways to help you determine whether to say “yes” to the job offer

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When job searching, there are many things to concentrate on from writing the perfect cover letter to nailing the job interview. Many job searchers focus too much just on getting the job offer. Equally, if not more important, is to determine if the job is a good fit for you.

Here are 6 ways to help you determine whether to say “yes” to the job offer. Continue reading

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How to Survive College Acceptance Season


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Photo by College Humor

December 15th  is a date that inspires both hope and fear in students and parents alike, along with February 15th and April 15th (the latter not just because it is tax day). Why? It’s round one of college acceptance season. For some it will be merry, for others, it may come with a dose of bah humbug and coal. Here are 8 tips to help you survive college acceptance season. Continue reading

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15 Things to Do on Winter Break

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There’s nothing quite like endless papers to write and final exams to set you dreaming about winter break. That said, sleeping in late and lounging on the couch binge watching Netflix is not the best use of your time off. Nor is it likely to impress your parents.

Ramping up your job search over winter break will help you make the most of your senior year. Having a job lined up before graduation or better yet, by spring break, is the best way to really enjoy your final time on campus.

Here are 15 things to do on winter break to make the most of your senior year. Continue reading

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My Favorite Holiday

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For a host of reasons, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Coming from a large, blended family, Thanksgiving was my family’s “anchor” holiday. We prioritized getting home from wherever we lived, whether it meant flying cross-country or driving through an early snowstorm.

The holiday always focused on spending quality time together, with cousins, aunts, uncles, great aunts, grandparents, and family friends. We numbered so many that the kids’ table stayed a kids’ table well into our twenties. Continue reading

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13 Tips for Crafting Killer Cover Letters

Crafting killer cover letters is one of the greatest challenges job searchers face. Too many cover letters miss the mark by failing to focus on the critical key words. The worst ones, by far, are the ones that go on and on. Here are 13 tips for crafting killer cover letters that hiring managers will want to read. Following these tips will help you to get that coveted interview instead of the dreaded rejection letter. Continue reading

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7 Tips For Acing a Phone Interview

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A phone interview is the gateway to a face-to-face interview so why do so many people fail to prepare properly for them? You might be thinking that you are merely interested in finding out more about the job opportunity, having submitted an application and possibly a cover letter. Or perhaps a recruiter contacted you via LinkedIn.

The good news is that you made it past the interview gatekeeper and to a phone interview. The bad news is that the phone interview is a real interview so you need to treat it as such. That means following all the same steps for preparing for a face to face interview. Continue reading

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5 Tips to Get Hired With No Internship Experience


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It is still true in today’s economy that if you have graduated without one, ideally two, internships that your likelihood of getting a good job, quickly, is much, much lower. According to Forbes, “66% of employers view interview performance and relevant experience” as the most critical factors in making a hiring decision. So what should you do if you’ve graduated and your resume is seriously lacking in pertinent experience? Here are 5 tips for getting hired with no internship experience. Continue reading

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