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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Start Planning Now!

It’s never too early – or too late – to start planning. Yes, I know that God laughs at our plans sometimes because he controls our destiny, so that’s why you have a plan B. *SMILES* So, pipe down and listen up because this post is for any reader who’s in middle school, high school, college, or anywhere in between. Okay, pull out your pen and paper because you’ll literally need to write this down. First, at the top of the page, write down where you want to be when the show’s over, when the curtains fall, when everything is over and done with. Oh, and BE SPECIFIC! Don’t write I want to be happy OR I want to be prosperous. Now don’t get me wrong, being happy should be a goal; however, that’s way too broad for this assignment. So, write down your master plan. What is the finale? Who do you want to become? Next, draw a line straight down the middle of your paper and then another one across the middle. In the top left box, write RIGHT NOW. In the top right, 5 years from now. Bottom left, 10 years from now. Bottom right, 20 years from now. Now, fill in the boxes. Yes, it’s that simple. Write down where you want to be, as a person, given those time frames. Then, flip over the paper and write down what you’re doing to get there. You want to box off the page just as you did before, but now it’s time for you to start planning ways of getting there. That simple. So, as a finale to this post, I’ll answer the “What’s the moral to this post” question.

It’s time to stop blowing hot air around when talking about your future. It’s time to take control and take some initiative. It’s time to get moving. What’s the best way to get motivated? Well, by taking a good hard look at what you want out of life. And guess what? You can do that now by flipping over that sheet of paper and literally taking a look at what you want out of life. #thatisallfolks.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Don't Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

You may be a bit overwhelmed and a little nervous after getting this far through the book. Take a break and woo-sah for just a moment. College will be just as overwhelming, but sometimes, you need to take 10 minutes, an hour, or a half-day to have a woo-sah moment before your head explodes or you go postal on your roommate. Just relax, mama’s here. The key to college – and probably the rest of your life – is not to bite off more than you can chew. Sure, many of us want to save the world – na├»ve, yes I AM! No, but seriously, many of us want to be ideal children of God, standouts in the classroom, upstanding pillars of the community, burgeoning businesswomen, all the while remaining the twinkle of your familes’ and friends’ eyes. Well, let me be frank, Francine, and honest….there are NOT enough hours in the day, days in the week, or months in the year to do everything and be everything to everyone.

Yes, I advocate applying yourself in all aspects of life – first in the church, but specifically in college, right now – but, but, BUT, you have to know your limits. A week that consists of 18+ credit hours, 10 – 15 hours of work as a server, 3 hours of volunteering at the local Ronald McDonald House, 3 meetings with different organizations, all while being on line for a sorority and applying for summer internships…my sistah…you’re doing too much!

Now, don’t get me wrong. There is nothing more powerful than a young Black woman who can juggle her many responsibilities, stay on top of her game, all the while remaining absolutely fab-u-lous! But, when you have to start scheduling times to take showers or limiting your calls home because your Grandfather is long-winded, you are doing too much! This is a very bad habit that will not end when you graduate. It will only get worse once you become a wife, mother, and business exec. You will slowly but surely begin to lose sight of your own health and happiness and replace it with plaques, degrees, and accolades. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying quit your job, drop out of school, and live off your credit cards until you become some rapper or athlete’s baby momma (barf!). What I am saying – screaming, actually – is: “you have to manage your time wisely.” Don’t function on autopilot and forget to enjoy your life. Undoubtedly, success is a part of enjoying your life, but not at the expense of your health.

So, cut back on that course load by one class each quarter and budget appropriately so that you can take one or two classes in the summer to stay sharp and end the year on track. Step down from of your post as secretary of this or treasurer of that for a quarter. You can still be involved with that organization by acting as a liaison and attending meetings regularly. Ask your boss if you can cut your schedule by 3-5hrs. Sure, you’re losing out on a few bucks; but, if you budget properly, you can still manage to break even. Say no, once a week when friends are going out or go to library when friends head to the mall. Also, evaluate how you’re spending extra time. If you’re spending hours a day on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Ebay or any other social network, blog, or chat room, you are wasting your life. I’m not saying you cannot frequent these sites – heck, I do! What I am saying is that you’re wasting valuable time that could be used working out, reading the Bible, studying, cleaning up, or even NAPPING! (my personal fav). Any who, stop wasting precious moments checking folks’ statuses. After all, like my girl Ms. Cole once Facebooked, “just a hint, don’t spend too much time on this website, it doesn’t make you money or make you smarter.” Preach.

The moral of this longwinded story is, treat your time like you treat your wallet. Budget, budget, budget. You don’t want to look up and see that your bank account is empty or overdrawn, do you? Think of your time the same way. In the end, you can get more money. You can’t get more time!