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I am in my early twenties. I work as an actuary so my job is hectic with long hours and almost no breaks. I am studying as well. I also have a lot of family responsibilities (especially in the weekends). My problem is that I have tried to balance my life between those 3 corners (work-studies-family) but no matter how organized I try to be and how planned I am; nothing sticks. I dont always follow through with my plans.

Motivation is there and I know my target, but during the weekdays and after almost 12 hours of work, I am not that motivated to study for another hour. I have put a plan to finish my studies before year end, it is an easy plan but I can sense now that things are slipping already.

My methods now include a lot of Android apps, calendars and the sort, but I just ignore my study sessions since I am too tired anyway. I guess the best way for me will be to wake up early before work and study for a bit. How can I put that into action?

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Welcome to Personal Productivity. You've asked a question for which there isn't a single good answer. All answers would be subjective because what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another. Could you refine your question? What exactly are you looking for? – THelper Feb 17 '14 at 9:39
To refine my question: - I am looking for the most effective way yo organize and balance work/family/study all together - How can I manage my time? And stay motivated and strong thru the whole time. thanks for ur previous answers. I refined it to make it more specific. – user7457 Feb 18 '14 at 4:22
Your question remains subjective. The most effective is impossible to determine and will depend on your personal situation. At the very least add details such as; what kind of job do you have, how many working hours, what are your professional and personal goals, do you have a wife and kids, are they ok with you being away a lot, what is and what isn't working currently? – THelper Feb 18 '14 at 6:27
I am in my early twenties, i work 5 days a week with a total number of 9 to 10 hours daily as an actuary, i am continuing my actuatial studies and have a lot of responsibilities towards my family. My problem is that with my work load and family responsibilities i cant focus on my studies, so i needed a productivity tool or method that can help sm1 in such circumstances to b organized and manage her time effectively. I tried to sleep early at 11 pm max and wake up at 5 am everyday including the weekends, but it is not always possible and it affects my day at work, can u help plz? Thanks – user7457 Feb 18 '14 at 6:45
Please edit your post with the more specific question rather than just adding more comments. – Jeanne Boyarsky Feb 23 '14 at 23:28
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I recommend an iPhone app called 'Walker' that uses 'Dave Allens Getting Things Done' Methodology. This combined with a notebook and some energy devoted to cultivating your own self-awareness and where your attention is going should be a good start.

I want to add that there are actually many new GTD apps for iphone with better ratings - a couple to try: ANY.DO and IQTELL.

Good luck and always come back to the notebook if the app becomes overwhelming.

Another edit: I now use only Evernote but organised with GTD methodology- it takes some time to set up but notes can be tasks, you can set a date on notes, and you can mark them as done, you can tag notes, put them in notebooks, create archive notebooks etc. Its a fluid system and allows for growth.

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Do you know of an Android alternative that is similar to Walker? – Gaʀʀʏ Mar 17 '14 at 17:40
I don't. I have an iPhone. As I mentioned, I now use Evernote with a GTD inspired methodology. If there is interest, I can write up my technique for this as a blog post somewhere. – Andrew Welch Mar 17 '14 at 17:58
@Gaʀʀʏ ANY.DO works across all platforms.I use it on Chrome and my nexus 4 everyday. – stackErr Mar 21 '14 at 3:52

I would recommend against diving into apps at the beginning. If you aren't familiar with the basic principle you'll get distracted. Its not about the apps its about what you do with them.

Staying organized is a discipline. There is a fairly well established body of literature.'Getting things done' is a great place to start as is Stephen Covey's 'Seven Habits of Highly Effective People'

The following components make up the basic framework for most advice on being productive.

1 Capturing Things and Ideas. A key skill is to listen and to observe effectively. so that you will clearly know when something important has entered into your life. Once this happens you need to write it down somewhere you trust you will not lose it.

2 Process Things and Ideas The key skill here is asking yourself a few questions such as. "What is this thing really?" "Whats the successful outcome stemming from this?" and "What should i do about it?".

3 Organize your Things and Ideas The key skill is distribute the things and ideas you capture into lists, calendars or files. The idea is to be able to trust you will find them where you need them, when you need them

4 Understand Yourself The key skills are understanding your guiding principles, your standards of behavior, your goals and your purpose in life. These are the higher level abstract values that drive your decisions.

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Besides the possibility to be able to capture ideas (app or notebook) and processing them, I found Julie Morgenstern's Organizing from the Inside Out a simple way for organization.

The basic idea is to structure your environment, e.g. your desk, in functional areas oder spaces. For me this are working spaces like study, development, Bible etc., that I manage with containers.

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