Mastering Time Management
High school can be the most carefree and enjoyable time in a student’s academic career. This being said, it can also be the most academically demanding four years a student has ever experienced. Basic time management skills are essential to balancing wellbeing and academic success.
High school can feel overwhelming and stressful, especially when students get behind on their coursework. It is suggested that students begin working on their classwork sooner rather than later. This allows ample time to get any last minute questions answered, students to present top-quality work that has been checked-over multiple times, and flexibility in the event that any last minute work conflicts that may take up time closer to a deadline. A student’s assignments can build up over time, and this stress can be lifted by completing work in a timely (and early!) manner.
Take Study Breaks
Students often think that the longer they study, the better their studying is; however, this is simply untrue. Studies show that shorter, more concentrated periods of studying are actually more beneficial for information retention and recall than prolonged studying. We recommend setting a short timer (for example, 45 minutes) and then taking a small 5-10-minute break in between these sessions. Do not feel the need to study all day - in fact, we advise against it. Instead, studying should take up no more than three hours of the day with breaks in between! The longer the student’s study sessions are, the more likely the student is to get uninterested, distracted, and fatigued by the material.
Formulate a Plan
Whether students are acing classes or falling behind, devising a study plan is extremely beneficial! We recommend that students compile a list of tasks they must complete in order to effectively study for an exam, and then they may subsequently check off each task as they complete it. Being able to physically check off tasks on a list is not only motivating, but it lays the foundation for a lifetime of goal-setting, goal-achieving, and motivation.
This is why we recommend that every student creates study plans, independent of current academic achievement. What exactly does a study plan look like? A good, well-rounded study plan can have generic study tool steps, like “textbook reading” or “complete study guide,” but it may also have student-specific, actionable steps, like “redo homework 1.4” or “create biology flashcards.” Here is the goal: the longer students devise study plans and consistently study, they will discover what studying methods work best for them. Are they a visual learner? Do they retain information if it’s spoken aloud? Consistently studying and experimenting with various methods will truly help your student in the long-run! (If you’d like to hear more information regarding essential study skills, check out our ‘how to study’ blog post.)
Engage in Physical Activity
cannot possibly be time in the day to work out. After all, do pushups earn A’s? They actually might! Taking even a 30-minute exercise break is proven to increase brain function and help students focus better on their tasks at hand. In fact, student athletes are usually the best with time management! Exercise can not only reduce academic anxiety and stress by releasing endorphins, but it also boosts mood and later helps with concentration. By clearing the mind, energizing the body, and promoting more focused task completion, exercising leads to better physical and mental health.
Although it may seem appealing, “productive,” and perhaps impressive to spend all night studying for an exam, it is far more effective and healthy to instead study in small doses, get a good night’s rest, and eat a nutritious breakfast. Since cramming is proven to be ineffective for long-term information retention, we instead recommend students study for 30 minutes to an hour nightly for the week leading up to an exam. This gives students time to truly grasp information, ask questions if needed, and gain a full night’s rest prior to the big day.
Dream of Free Time
When close to the end of life, what is the single thing that people regret above anything else? They regret not doing what they loved when they could have. Time only runs forward, not backwards. So dream of free time. By learning to manage study time, exercise time, and free time, you may find yourself having more time for the latter. This means you can spend more time with friends, more time playing sports, and more time with family. You will have more time to do what you love, and who doesn’t love that?
Ironically, time management skills take time to master. We know that with patience and a bit of hard work, you’ll find yourself working efficiently.
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