Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Planning For The Future


So, this post is pretty contradictory to my 'Dealing With Uncertainty' post but, let's be honest, i'm a sucker for planning everything I can! Plus, some things can be planned, even if you are not guaranteed your perfect outcome! This stands for many different aspects of life and i'm going to cover a few in this post... So let's get started!

Career stuff

So, one thing that many people plan for is their perfect career! There is are many steps that you can take towards your future jobs and these are just a few!

It's important to network! This is essential to get your foot in the door and LinkedIn is a great tool at your disposal! Just set up a profile and fill in your education and experience. Then, whenever you take part in anything relevant to your goal career, log it on LinkedIn. If you have an idea of where you want to work, have a search for connections you can make. It is so easy to use and can benefit you so much!

Another useful website for career planning is Prospects. This site has a wide variety of helpful resources including job profiles, a guide for what you can do with your degree, university application advice, job interview tips and CV advice! Honestly, this site is perfect to refer back to whenever thinking about your future career, it just holds so much information and support!

In terms of gaining experience, volunteering is a great way to build your resume if you have the time! You can find volunteer positions in just about any sector and it's a great way to show your enthusiasm and dedication to future employers! It is also incredibly fulfilling and a great way to support causes dear to your heart! I do a lot of volunteer peer support work within my university, as well as mental health and community work roles! In the UK, you can easily find volunteer positions through sites such as Do-it.

The near future

Making plans for the future can be daunting, so planning for the near future can be a good start! This can be as simple as making a to-do list every morning for the day ahead, or as creative as keeping a full bullet journal complete with daily spreads, habit trackers, etc.

Personally, I like to have different small notebooks for different purposes because I have so many different things going on at once and I don't like to muddle it all up! I have a blogging book in which I make all my blog post plans, mind maps and to-dos. It's such a scruffy notebook but it has so many plans in it so I love it! I also have a to-do list pad which I carry around with me because it's easy and compact! Additionally, I have essay planning sheets, a peer-support notebook and my phone notes! I'm a very messy and scattered person but I know many people who have a much more systematic method of organisation and planning. For example, if you search 'bullet journal' on Tumblr, you can see the most beautifully laid out to-do lists and diaries!

Education

Are you a student looking to pick your GCSE subjects, A Level subjects, uni course or any other further education course? Believe me, I know how stressful it can be! It feels like these subjects will determine your life and that this choice decides your whole future! First of all, there are many ways in which this isn't correct! I know so many people who have decided on their career paths later on and have been able to apply whatever they have studied to their careers, no matter how different the subject seems to the job!

One piece of advice that I have for you is to do what you want, not what your peers or family expect from you! At the end of the day, you are tailoring your own education and you are the one who will be taking the classes and sitting the exams! Do something you know you will enjoy and be passionate about and you are so much more likely to succeed! This goes for any level of education!

I also wanted to chat about choosing your university/college! It's a massively daunting choice and you can feel so overwhelmed by the number of courses and universities out there! This is what I did to choose my university!

  • Go to open days! As many as you can manage! I was dead set on one particular university until I went to an open day there and it completely changed my mind and set me on the path to a university which I absolutely love! If I had gone there, I would have hated it!
  • University league tables are a quick and easy reference which you can use to see how your prospective university compares to all the others! Most of them also show student satisfaction, which is something you should seriously consider when looking for your ideal university! In the UK, this table by the Complete University Guide is such a good resource!
  • When you are going to university, it's not just the course and university rankings you should take into consideration! You will be living and studying in a city and you should research the city just as much as the uni itself. Consider whether you would be more comfortable in a city or a quieter area, as I know many people who have dropped out due to being overwhelmed by living in a big city! Have a look at the music scene, culture, events and places you can visit in your downtime. Will you love your new home?
  • Prospectuses can also be so helpful! I wish I had known it when I was applying for uni, but WhatUni actually let you choose which prospectuses you want to read and actually ship them to you!

Money stuff

I need to get better at this, but planning and tracking your spending can really help you save up some money for the big things, or just to have a buffer for a rainy day! The first thing you should do if you're planning on saving some money is to go through your bank statements and look at how much you spend on a daily basis and what you can cut out of the equation! For me, unsurprisingly, I spend a massive amount on coffee! I have a couple of coffees out and about a day and this really adds up to a massive amount! What can I do? I can cut down my use of disposable cups to make a small saving, and I can cut down to one coffee a day and make it a more budget-friendly coffee. I can also eat fewer takeaways, eat out less and stop buying food in university when I can make it at home!

Apps are always a good and easy way to track your spending because you are logging everything and so have to think more about the purchases you make, rather than just running around and paying with contactless and telling the cashier that you don't want a receipt!

If you have a savings account, be stricter with it! Once you put your money in there, be restrained and don't let yourself take it straight back out again! Designate a spending period once a month to pick up non-essentials and to treat yourself! For me, i'm making this my payday weekend, but instead of spending my whole pay packet, I will be putting half of it straight into my savings!

Finally, I am a sucker for using my overdraft! While it is there for a reason, it is so stressful to get so deep into your overdraft that you feel like you will never be out of it! Try to limit your use of it and use it only as a buffer when you really need it for an essential like surprise costs or rent!

Goals

Have clear goals! I know you've probably read this a thousand times but having clear achievable goals so important to be able to plan and track your progress! In my post about Small Achievements and Why They Matter, I talked about how setting smaller goals can keep you on track and also make you feel better about your progress. Setting smaller goals on your way to large goals can really make a world of change and really help you to make your plans, structured around these goals.

While looking forward is important...

Focus on what you can do now. It's all well and good planning for the future but it is important that once you do that you take steps in the present with the future in mind. It's good to have goals and aspirations, but it is pointless if you do not start to work towards them in the present to prevent them from remaining just as goals.

I hope that you found this post helpful! I would love to know what you think! x

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