The new school year is slowly but surely creeping upon all of us. It’s an exciting and daunting time of the year. For most, people are going to be rekindling old relationships, catching up, and talking to people they haven’t seen in a long time. For some (like myself), they’ll be walking through doors knowing absolutely no one, on a new campus where they can’t navigate, yet excited nonetheless to embrace change for all it has to offer. But school is not only for socialization. People have other responsibilities, part-time jobs, extracurriculars, and schoolwork to do. Here are some tips to increase productivity and make sure everything gets done in a timely manner.
Take advantage of study halls or breaks between classes. Use this time to get a head start on readings, projects, essays, or studying for upcoming tests and quizzes. Also utilize this time to meet up with teachers to elaborate concepts you do not understand or to clarify assignments. By meeting up with teachers, not only do you show you genuinely care about the work but you also can help other students who may have the same concerns or questions as you. It can also be used to make up tests if you were absent on the day it was given.
Make to-do lists. I found out that making to-do lists actually helped keep track of what I had to do and kept me accountable for what I had to complete. I usually make my to-do list every day in the morning or during one of my bigger breaks. To-do lists can also prioritize what you think is important.
Use a planner. Planners can be expensive, but you can find plenty of daily, weekly, or monthly templates online through Google Images. One time I lost my planner so I started using online printouts. I used the weekly ones to write out my homework and to-do lists, and then the monthly ones for my work schedule, extracurriculars, appointments, and important deadlines.
Back everything up. When you have big assignments, make sure you periodically save it in case your word document just decides to crash. Besides just saving your document, you should save it onto a flash drive or into a cloud. Whether iCloud, Dropbox, or Google Drive, these are free tools you can save, access or even edit assignments from almost any computer or even your phone. Another way to save your work is to just email it to yourself.
Think a week ahead. On Sunday I would write in my planner what obligations (volunteering, working) , responsibilities (tests, quizzes, deadlines), and other activities (extracurriculars, chill time) I had so I could gauge how busy I am during the week. Even though looking at how much you need to do can be stressful, it’s a nice feeling knowing you’re on top of everything.
Learn to say no. It’s one of the hardest yet most empowering things to say. Unfortunately, many people have trouble saying it. Use the power to say no sparingly. If you cannot work more hours or go to that party, say no. Explain why and hopefully your boss/friends can understand.
Relax. Take some time to yourself. Take an extra long shower or bath. Play some soothing music. Read the book you’ve never got to. Organize your room. Hang out with your family. Have a chill night with some friends or turn up with them (responsibly, of course). Even though you may have a hectic schedule, it does not mean you should just work, work, and do more work. If you just work, you’re eventually going to get burnt out and you could lose all motivation.
© 2015 Reef Magazine