Vitamin MBA – Tips from the Happiness Project

In our blog, we provide news, tips and tools to help you navigate the MBA admissions process. Despite the high volume of information that gets printed every week, we do not regularly address the fact that many applicants face a set of challenges that are very different from GPA, GMAT and resume. I want to help applicants work through road blocks to success that may include self-doubt, anxiety, procrastination and generally feeling overwhelmed by this process. Hopefully with a bit of “Vitamin MBA” I can help you to overcome these challenges so that you can put our other resources to work and truly excel on your applications. I now present you with a dose of “Vitamin MBA”:

Every Wednesday is tip day on the The Happiness Project. Below I have reprinted a very relevant post on Tips to get some writing done. Since all of you applying to business school need to get some writing done (to say the least), I thought I would start you off with her very wise words: “One of the challenges of writing is…writing.”

Here are some tips for actually getting some work done:

1. Write every workday; don’t wait for inspiration to strike.

2. Write in brief chunks of time; taking frequent breaks keeps you fresh. And don’t mislead yourself with thoughts like, “If I don’t have five or six hours clear, there’s no point in starting.”

3. Don’t procrastinate and don’t binge on writing. These habits lead to burn-out.

4. If you have trouble re-entering a project, stop working in mid-thought””even mid-sentence””so it’s easy to dive back in later.

5. Stay patient; don’t get distracted by how much you are or aren’t getting done.

6. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that creativity descends on you at random, or that by staying up all night you cultivate your muse. Creative thinking comes most easily when you’re writing regularly and frequently, when you’re constantly thinking about your project.

7. Remember that lots of good ideas and great writing come during the revision stage.

8. Develop a method of keeping track of thoughts, ideas, articles, or anything that catches your attention. Combing through these materials helps stimulate your creativity.

9. Pay attention to your physical comfort. Do you have a decent desk and chair? Are you cramped? Is the light too dim or too bright? Make a salute””if you feel relief when your hand is shading your eyes, your desk is too brightly lit.

10. Check your body. Lower your shoulders, make sure your tongue isn’t pressed against the top of your mouth, don’t sit in a contorted way.

11. Try to eliminate interruptions””by other people, email, or poking around the Internet””but don’t tell yourself that you can only work with complete peace and quiet.

12. Over his writing desk, Franz Kafka had one word: “Wait.” My friend Tad Low, however, keeps a different word on his desk: “Now.”

I have written in other Vitamin MBA posts about taking the plunge and not getting yourself to psyched out about finding the perfect day to whip out your perfect essays. Point #2, above, rings true – it’s okay to sit down for 45 minutes before bed and crank out a couple of lines, or jot down some thoughts. If you do that every day, you just may have a paragraph at the end of the week! Of course you will need some longer writing sessions as well, but if you can get started and get some momentum going, it will all seem a lot less initimidating.


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