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Getting Back on Track

Updated By: Katelyn Fahrenbruck Weston on 6/19/2023

Have you ever felt that in the process of dealing with everyday life your studies have been derailed? You didn’t plan it that way but school has been placed on the back-burner. This is what happened to me.

I am really enjoying my Medical Coding & Billing course at U.S. Career Institute. I am doing well. However, recently, I had lost momentum. I was not getting very much accomplished. The lack of progress was not due to difficulty with my lessons. Rather, it was due to being sidetracked by other things. These responsibilities are important, too. So is my free time. Everybody needs to relax and unwind now and then. That’s okay as long as you don’t overdo it. But where do you draw the line? How do you bring balance back into your life, and in the process, eliminate the chaos?

Recognizing that a problem exists is not enough. You need to identify the problem and address it. Oftentimes, it is necessary to act. In my case, I needed to get back on track with my studies. I decided to address the situation by drawing up a blueprint to help turn things around. Some of the steps I planned to implement to help with this undertaking are listed below:

Eat right and get enough sleep—It’s important to refuel. You have to take care of yourself in order to stay healthy. If you don’t, you will get sick. I found that I get more done in the long run when I get more sleep.

Keep focused on my goals—Some of my goals have deadlines, so it is important to keep track of the time frame. It’s too easy to put things off for another day. I also have less stress when I don’t leave things until the last minute.

Going back to what was working before—When I first started my Medical Coding & Billing program, I set the goal of doing something every day even if that meant just reading one page or one paragraph. I reasoned that some progress was better than none. Somehow, over time, I strayed from this practice. I decided to return to it.

Eliminate distractions—This one requires discipline. It’s too easy to opt for TV or other things over work.

Replace bad study habits with good ones—I started to put my studies off until everybody turned in for the night. But when the time came to study, I was too exhausted to do so. I could not do my best work when I was not fully alert, so I would retire for the night instead. The end result was that nothing was getting done. The solution? I had to find the time to work on my lessons during the day. This entailed making some changes in my schedule by reevaluating my priorities. For example, suppose you watch television for four hours a day. If you cut your TV viewing down to two hours daily, that would free up two hours for other things. In my case, that would give me two extra hours during the day to devote to my studies.

I realize that it is not always that easy. It seems as though I finish the clean-up for one meal and it is already time to start preparations for the next one. And you do need some down time to just relax and catch your breath, and hopefully, a second wind! However, usually it is possible to find extra time if you look at your day and see how you are currently spending it.

Tackle difficult material as it comes—There were times I had a tendency to work ahead in the next lesson and put off the more time consuming stuff for later. I have found that this does not always work well for me as it is more difficult to return to previous lessons when I have yet to complete them. I don’t mind reviewing previous material. I think it is the idea of moving backwards that lacks appeal for me. Now I work on the lessons in the order they come even if I have to work on some parts a little bit at a time.

Schedule daily study time—Most of us know that we have to prioritize tasks and thereby get the most pressing ones done first. But knowing this and actually doing it are two different things. I knew that in order for me to get back on track I had to schedule a block of time daily to be used exclusively for my studies and stick to it.

Allow for flexibility when it’s needed—It’s okay if you don’t always stick to your schedule. Don’t beat yourself up when unavoidable interruptions occur. Allow for flexibility in your plan and return to your regular schedule as soon as possible. To cite an example, earlier this year I received a notice in the mail informing me that I had been selected for jury duty for a three month period. I did not anticipate this. So I had to prepare to work this unexpected role into my busy schedule. Having a back-up plan will prevent problems—and delays—when something does turn up.

There are four key steps that I used to get back on track with my studies:

(1) Identify the problem
(2) Formulate a plan
(3) Execute the plan or take action
(4) Reevaluate and Make Changes (If Necessary)

Identify the problem—I was falling behind in my studies.

Formulate a plan—For me, this meant eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep as well as finding the time to study on a daily basis.

Execute the plan or take action—Follow through with step two.

Reevaluate and Make Changes (If Necessary)–Ask yourself if you are making progress. If so, great! If not, see if you can make some adjustments to your plan and reevaluate how things are going in a few days or a few weeks. Have you made any progress? If so, wonderful! If not, perhaps it might be time to seek outside help for input regarding the problem. This could be a family member, a friend, or someone else. For example, U.S. Career Institute has a student support system.

Getting back on track

It’s not always easy to establish new routines and stick to them. But with self-discipline and practice, it can be done. Eventually, you will start to see progress, and, with that, comes a great sense of satisfaction. Your efforts will reap the reward you seek.

U.S. Career Institute also offers online training for many other great careers
Do you focus your energies on wellness for yourself and others? You might find satsifaction with a career as a massage therapist. Take a look at our online massage therapy program. If other types of service careers hold more interest for you, you should investigate our online wedding and event planner course, our online home inspector course, our online child daycare specialist course, or our online caregiver course.

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