MamaBlogger365 – Back to College for Moms by Diane Lang

Question: How will I maintain my obligations at home as a mom and be able to commit 100% of my energy and enthusiasm to learn, study and perform well at the college level? Can you please give some tips on organization, time management and dealing with procrastination. I know I will need the help when I start college in the summer.

First, I want to congratulate you on your decision to go back to college. Returning to college after taking time off is scary and exciting. You will have a full plate between your family and school. You need to realize you will be starting a new chapter of your life, you’re making a transition from working at home to going back to college. To start off, you want to make a smooth transition.

Here are some tips:

1. Have a good support team. You want to have support from both your friends and family members. Having both emotional support as well as help for babysitting, running errands, etc., will be very helpful.

2. Look at the positive side. Going back to school and running a home is a HUGE accomplishment. Be proud of yourself.

3. Baby steps! Start slowly, you have many options. You can go back to school part-time (which is usually 6 credits) or you can start off with one class at a time. Most of my returning “Mom” students start off with one class and then work up to two classes. Get comfortable with going back to school, study time and running your home before you increase your school schedule.

4. Look at going back to college as more “adult” time. You get to meet other adults and moms who are feeling the same anxiety as you. It’s a good way to network, make new friends, do something for yourself, learn and grow. Most moms agreed going back to school raised their self-esteem. They felt they were doing something for themselves and taking control of their lives and future.

To answer the second part of your question, I will start off this week with procrastination and move on to time management tips for another column.

Procrastination

We are all guilty of procrastinating at one time or another. I hate to admit it but I find myself procrastinating especially when I’m feeling overwhelmed on a new project and don’t know where to begin. If you realize you are procrastinating more often then you are getting things done, then it is time to work on your procrastination problem. Procrastination is the avoidance of getting a task finished. Procrastination can lead to feelings of guilt, self doubt, depression and chronic procrastination. A lot of my students tell me they deal with chronic procrastination which makes them feel guilty.

Why do we procrastinate?

1. Poor time management skills. When you are feeling overwhelmed, not prioritizing, not managing your time correctly and afraid to say “NO” to others it becomes easy to put off tasks and start doing things that are not a top priority.

2. Losing focus. Do you find yourself having a hard time focusing? If you find you are spending more time daydreaming, falling asleep, watching TV, etc., instead of doing your important tasks then you will find procrastination to be part of your daily life.

3. Are you afraid of failure? Are you afraid of success? Fear and anxiety can cause procrastination.

4. Low self-esteem. Do you find yourself constantly thinking negative thoughts or putting yourself down? Negativity causes procrastination. Remember: negativity is contagious.

5. Personal issues. Are you having any personal problems such as: loss of a job, divorce/break-up, financial problems, etc.? Personal problems will make it harder for you to focus and concentrate on your tasks which can cause procrastination. Personal problems can also cause low self-esteem or depression. Be self-aware of how you are feeling and handling your issues.

6. Unrealistic expectations. We are not perfect so don’t try to be. Be realistic about what you can handle. Example: Taking too many classes at school while being a full-time mom with three kids at home.

How to overcome procrastination:

1. After reading through the reasons of why we procrastinate, be honest with yourself and recognize your reasons why so you can work on them.

2. Figure out your short-term goals – goals for the next 3-6 months.

3. Write down your short-term goals. Get a journal where you can write down your goals and an action plan for reaching them. When you have a journal you can see your accomplishments, check them off and move on to your next goals. You can write down your new goals and move on to your long-term goals when you are ready.

4. Have a list of your long-term goals – where do you see yourself in one year, two years?

5. Set priorities. Most students and moms say having a “To Do” list for each day that is prioritized works best for them.

6. Make sure your goals are realistic; if they are not, you are setting yourself up for failure.

7. Modify your environment. If you have kids, set time aside that your husband watches the kids or set up babysitting. You can’t watch your kids and study at the same time. You might want to change the environment from your home to the library or the college campus.

8. Eliminate noise distractions – shut off your phone, Blackberry, IM’s, TV and radios. Make sure you have plenty of light. Have the necessary items on hand like pens, paper, books ,etc. Don’t be too comfortable when studying – don’t study in bed. Study in a chair at a desk. Organize your area so next time you got to study or do work – you are prepared.

Bio: Diane Lang is an educator and Life Coach. Diane has dedicated her career to helping people turn their lives around and is now on a mission to help them develop a sustainable positive attitude that can actually turn one into an optimist, literally. A therapist and educator of Positive Psychology, she has seen that it can provide a strong foundation for finding great happiness and is gratified that it is becoming a mainstream method of treatment. As an expert in her fields of therapy, Diane has been featured in the Daily Record and Cookie Magazine, seen on NJ 12 TV and the national television program “Fox & Friends”. She has also participated in a reality based Internet show, ourprisoner.com, hosted Generation X-tinet and appeared in various educational videos. In addition Lang writes a bi-weekly column “The Balancing Act” at www.thealternativepress.com and sharing her expertise on parenting and living a positive lifestyle on The WTBQ Expat Show.

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Photo credit: alvimann|MorgueFile

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