Planning for Success

“If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else.” -Yogi Berra

I was a freshman in college and I was NOT transitioning well from a small high school of 350 students to a large university of 35,000+. No one taught me how to study, how to take notes, how to say “no” to friends when they asked if I wanted to hang out, or how to plan ahead. Thankfully, midway through my first semester at college, my academic adviser, who also happened to manage the recreation program on my college campus, sat me down and changed the way I approached my academics and personal life. Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Certainly, I had failed to prepare and I was absolutely prepared to fail (just take a look at my transcript).

Now, entering my fifth year as a collegiate recreation professional, I have certainly developed my own way to plan for success. In the world of Max Miller, planning for success can be described in three different ways: Lists and Scribbles, Color Coding and Folders, and Being Proactive. Oh, I’m also a fan of outlines so I’ll break this all down in an outline.

  • Lists and Scribbles
    • Do yourself a favor and write everything down…
      • The worst thing that can happen is you cross it off your list
    • Always bring a pen and paper to a meeting
      • This is an employee expectation where I held my first job as a professional and it makes sense!
    • Rewrite your lists when things get too hard to read
      • Paper was invented to be written on and to be read from
        • If you can’t read your lists because there’s too much going on, simply rewrite it on a different piece of paper
  • Color Coding and Folders
    • Use your resources and stay organized
      • Oh my goodness, when I arrived at my current institution and found out that we operated using Gmail and Google Drive I was giddy.
      • Being such a stickler for good organization, using the resources available through the Google Drive to be able to access all of my files from anywhere has been incredible.
      • I have all of my files organized in various folders and I don’t need to worry about taking up space on my computer or organizational server.
    • Color Coding
      • Wow, where would I be without color coding? Color coding has helped me since I was a freshman in college. I have been using multiple colors of highlighters, pens, sticky-notes, etc. to stay ahead of the game when planning and preparing.
  • Being Proactive
    • John F. Kennedy said it best “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.”
    • Ask yourself these questions, “Is it better to have a carefree summer and be swamped during the school year? Or is it better to strategically work on projects during the summer to help you prepare for the school year?”
    • Late in this summer, I was offered the opportunity to triple the student staff I supervised in order to centralize the facility desk attendant staff of our department. I welcomed this challenge and saw it as an opportunity for growth. Luckily, I was actually practicing what I am preaching to you about and planned for the future but using my lists. Most of my summer projects were complete and the new transition of centralizing the staff under one umbrella was a very manageable new responsibility.Planning for success takeaways.png

Obviously, nothing I wrote about above is groundbreaking news to anyone reading this, but maybe you’ll think about planning ahead in different ways. Plan for success, prepare for the future, and always rewrite your lists!

Max Miller is the current Assistant Director of Athletics for Recreation & Wellness at Swarthmore College. He oversees the intramural and club sports programs, fitness and wellness programs, and facility staffing for the Department of Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation (DAPER).

Product Recommendations:

Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens, Medium Point, Limited Edition Tropical & Assorted Colors, 12-Count

Samsill Antique Classic Size Writing Notebook, Hardbound Cover, 5.25 Inch x 8.25 Inch, 100 Vintage Look Ruled Sheets (200 Pages), Dark Brown (Diary, Journal)

Marbled Composition 100 Sheets/200 Pages College Ruled Notebook 4-pack, Multi


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