1. Set boundaries
With the amount of work that high school course schedules demand of us, it can become easy to give our entire lives over to them. While the hope is that such studiousness will eventually lead to great success, working so hard all of the time can actually be harmful.
Therefore, it’s important to establish boundaries when it comes to our school work.
Boundaries help to ensure that we don’t give all of our time to studying, but that we also leave room for other activities that we enjoy. This “down time” refreshes our bodies and minds, actually allowing us to be more productive when we do return to our school work.
To begin working within boundaries, study diligently throughout the week, but (if possible) take at least one day off from school work per week to do the things you especially enjoy. If you’re not in a position to take an entire day off from school work, try to leave at least a portion of one day free for enjoyable activities. During these designated “times off,” allow yourself the luxury of not even thinking about your school work at all.
On days that you do work, be sure to schedule in breaks. Rather than take work breaks at random, utilize the Pomodoro Method, which is a great approach for ensuring productivity without burnout. In this method, a series of timers are set to track periods of work followed by shorter periods of rest. There are many free Pomodoro Method timers online, but this one is especially handy (and cute!).
2. Focus on time management by establishing priorities and setting goals
You likely won’t be able to finish your entire research project today (at least not well!). But, you can plan to finish the last chapter of your chosen novel today, research the author’s life tomorrow, and begin writing your introductory paragraph the next day.
The point here is that when you procrastinate and then set out to complete an entire task in one sitting, that task is often overwhelming. But when you pace yourself by setting manageable tasks that you can complete incrementally, that same project doesn’t feel so insurmountable.
To help with time management, create a to-do list, placing tasks of highest priority at the top of the list and working your way down to tasks of lowest priority. If you’re a visual person, write these individual tasks out on stickie notes that you can crumple up and throw away once each one has been completed. Physicalizing your accomplishments in this way brings a sense of accomplishment that simply crossing items out on a list does not.