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Archive for the ‘time-management’ Category

Homework Stressing You Out? Here Are Some Time Management Tips

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

planner

Do you ever feel so overwhelmed with everything you have to get done that you don’t even know where to start? When you’re faced with a mountain of work, it can be tempting to crawl under the covers and hope it will go away. But a better solution is to start practicing some good time management habits.

Sure, some of these tips may not give you the adrenaline rush that comes from waiting ’til the last minute, but working under pressure really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Giving yourself a little structure and discipline will not only help you feel calm, even in your busiest times, but it will also give you a life skill to carry into adulthood when you have even greater responsibilities and commitments.

Get started with these useful time management tips:

  1. Remember, Academics Come First
    We’ve all been there. You have a huge English paper due next week, a science test on Monday, and your volleyball team has a tournament all weekend. While we don’t advocate quitting a team or dropping out of the school musical at the last minute, it is important to remember that schoolwork should come first. If you are absolutely at your wit’s end, or you have noticed that your grades have started to suffer because you’re over-committed, you might need to cut back on your extracurricular activities.
  2. Buy a Planner
    This may seem obvious, but you’re not going to be able to start planning anything if you don’t have a place to write it all down. Put everything in your calendar, including homework assignments, tests, social events, and family responsibilities.
  3. Plan Ahead
    Here’s the thing: Your volleyball team’s schedule was probably given to you at the beginning of the year. And most teachers give you a syllabus outlining when big papers and tests will be given throughout the semester. So busy weeks really don’t have to stress you out – if you plan ahead. When you know you have a busy week coming up, make sure to work ahead in the few weeks before so you can keep everything under control.
  4. Prioritize Your To-Do List
    If you’re feeling overwhelmed, one of the best places to start is just writing down everything you can think of that needs to get done. Include school and non-school related things – whatever is weighing on your mind. Next, go through your list and identify which items are most urgent and need to get done immediately. Then identify which tasks are important, but don’t necessarily need to get done today. Too often, students just deal with the urgent things, and once they’re done they slack off and do something fun. Instead, if you have any extra time, try to do at least one task that will help get you ahead – such as brainstorming for an upcoming paper – before you take a break.
  5. Estimate How Much Time Something Will Take
    When you’re trying to prioritize what homework to tackle first, one good method is to estimate how much time each task will take you. If you’re not sure, you can start by keeping track of how long each type of homework takes you each night. After a few weeks, average the times. Once you know how long something generally takes, use those estimates when planning what you’ll get done each day.
  6. Do the Worst Stuff First
    Do you love English but hate math? If so, it’s best to get your math homework done first. The more distasteful a task is, the more you should put it at the top of your to-do list. The sooner you get it over with, the more productive you’ll be with other tasks because the icky thing won’t be hanging over your head.
  7. Take Advantage of Study Hall and Travel Time
    If you have open blocks during the day, use them do get as much homework done as possible. You’ll be more awake during the day than if you try to cram late at night, and you’re probably less likely to get distracted at school than at home. Also, if you have a long commute to and from school, spend that time getting your reading done.
  8. Break Down Big Assignments
    If you have a big research paper due in two weeks, you don’t want to start writing it the night before, pull an all-nighter and turn in something half-baked. Instead, when you first get the assignment, spend a few minutes mapping out when you can tackle smaller parts of the project. Work backwards from the due date, giving yourself time to brainstorm, write an outline, write your first draft, revise, and proofread before it’s due.
  9. Use a Homework App
    One great way to stay on top of your assignments and manage your time is to use a homework app. One that gets great reviews is iStudiez Pro, which can manage your class schedule, teacher contacts and upcoming assignments and tests. Another popular one is MyHomework App, which lets you track your classes, homework, tests and assignments in an easy-to-read calendar display and gives you handy homework reminders.Whatever method you choose, remember this Educational Endeavor slogan: Structure equals freedom! By putting systems in place for handling your workload, you’ll gain freedom from worry and stress.

Do you know any other great time management strategies? Let us know in the comments section!

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6 Strategies to Complete Your Summer Reading On Time

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Summer reading strategies

It’s already the middle of the summer. Do you know where your summer reading books are?

If you answered “no,” don’t worry. While you don’t want to put your summer reading off until the day before school starts, there is still enough time to not only get your reading done, but also really remember what you’ve read so you can be prepared to talk about the book on the first day of class.

Here are a few strategies you can try to get your summer reading finished and truly understand what the book is about:

  1. Set Weekly Reading Goals
    OK, let’s say you have a 300-page book you need to finish by Aug. 27. Instead of trying to read everything at the last minute, break the book up into manageable chunks. Divide up the number of pages by the number of weeks left in the summer and then mark your calendar with how many pages you’ll need to read each week in order to be finished by the due date. You can even set a reminder on your phone to alert you to when you need to start reading. Tackling a little bit at a time will make it so much easier!
  2. Read the Book with a Friend
    Instead of struggling through a book on your own, why not read it with a friend? You can either form a book club with a couple people and meet to talk about it when you’ve finished, or find one friend reading the same book and check in with them about it each week. Not only will this keep you accountable for reading, but you’ll have someone to discuss with when that one character does something really shocking.
  3. Tell Your Family About the Book
    While this might not be as much fun as talking with someone else who is also reading the book, telling your family about what you’ve read is a great way to make sure you have understood and remembered it. Give your family a summary of what is going on when you’re at dinner, or tell them some things that surprised you as you were reading.
  4. Annotate Your Book
    Struggling to remember what you just read? Try annotating your book — highlighting or underlining sentences, writing down notes in the margins or using Post-it notes to mark interesting passages. Be sure to mark down any places where you have a question or read something that surprised or interested you, as well as passages that reminded you of something in your own life, in another book or in society. Sure, it may seem like a chore, but learning how to take notes effectively is essential as you tackle more and more difficult books.
  5. Make Up Study Questions
    Want to really impress your teacher when you get back from summer break? Think about some study questions that your teacher might ask about the book, such as ones that might spark a debate or lead to further discussion. It’s a great way of getting yourself to think more deeply about the book and get yourself prepared for an in-class discussion.
  6. Keep a Vocabulary Journal
    When you come across a word you don’t know as you’re reading, jot it down in a notebook or on your phone. Then when you’re finished with the chapter, go back and look up the definition of each word. Not only will this give you a better understanding of the text, but you’ll also be strengthening your vocabulary, which will be a big benefit when it comes to taking standardized tests.

 

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Trade in your post-its for a 3-part to do list

Monday, May 15th, 2017

Life gets overwhelming when you have a whole bunch of tasks you could be doing or “should” be doing. This mental to do list takes up a lot of brain space that could be devoted to actually getting stuff done.

A long to do list can also be stressful because it’s hard to decide where to focus. By choosing to do one thing, you are automatically choosing not to do the other things, which creates stress about whether those other things will ever get done.

And as the cartoon below illustrates, Post-its are great, but they’re probably not gonna get the job done.

Strategy: a new kind of to do list

The folks at Mission Control Productivity have a method of making to do lists that could be life-changing. Just follow these steps:

Step One: Brain dump. Just write down everything you have to do or want to do, from the little nit-picky tasks to big lifelong goals.

Step Two: Rewrite the items from the brain dump, putting them into one of three lists:

  • List A: Things you will do in the next 2 weeks.
  • List B: Things you will do between 2 weeks and 6 months from now.
  • List C: Things you will not do until 6 months from now or beyond.

Step Three: Put the items from List A into existence. That means write in your calendar or assignment notebook when you will actually do each and every thing on that list.

Step Four: Any time a new task or goal comes to mind, write it on the appropriate list.

Step Five: Every two weeks, revisit the lists. Move things from list B over to List A.

Why it works

This system is powerful because you can rest easy knowing everything has been addressed and everything will get done. All you have to do is follow what your calendar says to do.

You can stay focused and stop wasting precious energy trying to remember things that you are not working on right now.

Tip: include everything

Don’t be shy about the brain dump in step one. Include everything, from all aspects of your life: academic, personal, and social. Include conversations you need to have, chores you need to do, steps you need to take toward your goals.

Everything from cleaning your room, to thanking your aunt for the birthday gift she sent in the mail, to writing an outline of an essay due in English, to going in to see your math teacher for extra help; all of it should be included.

Recommended Viewing

Check out this quick video from ASAP Science about scientifically researched techniques for improving productivity.

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