Well-developed executive functioning skills are absolutely essential for academic and professional success. Without the consistent ability to start work, complete assignments, learn effectively and remain positive in spite of disappointments, the pace and quantity of work demanded in today’s universities and workplaces quickly overwhelms. College, in particular, presents risks as students often enter without fully-matured brains (the frontal cortex, site of many executive function processes, continues to develop up to age 25) and usually encounter a much less-structured lifestyle than during the high school years. The demands for organizational skills, time management, planning, scheduling and maintaining emotional balance are tremendous during this time and students without strong executive functioning struggle. According to the U.S. National Center for Education Statistics, more than 40% of college students fail to graduate after six years of full-time study. Most disheartening, one in three college freshmen fail to return after their first year. For those who don’t succeed, the repercussions are enormous in terms of lost earning potential and stalled career plans. In 2014, the Pew Research Center examined the economics of obtaining a college degree and had these findings:
- A college education is worth more today
- College benefits go beyond earnings
- College grads are more satisfied with their jobs
- The cost of not going to college has risen
- College grads say college is worth it
- College majors matter
Certainly money and lack of academic preparation are major factors in the poor retention and graduation rates but consistently the lack of time management and other executive function skills are noted by researchers and students themselves as barriers to success. Very few college students have not had some exposure to the topic of time management and have no doubt heard the warnings of how important organizing their time will be and yet still neglect to employ the techniques and practices associated with productivity and success.
Given that very few are motivated to fail and recognize the stakes at play for the future, why is it so difficult to pull it together and take control of time and lives?
While there exists a large amount of research and knowledge of time management principles, transferring this information to actionable habits and positive results has been lacking and for those dealing with significant distraction and lost focus, the stakes are high in terms of lost opportunity for a college education or professional achievement.
More about Anchored Focus’ innovative approach to building life-changing commitment and strategies to achieve personal productivity and success in my next post.