Maximizing Your Productivity

Megan Hutchings, A&E Editor

We’ve all had those crazy Sunday night homework marathons when we have a couple cans of our favorite caffeinated beverage, and our brains feel like they may explode. While sometimes these situations are absolutely unavoidable, most of the time, they can be by-passed through good time management and organization. The following are the top five ways to stay organized and manage your time this school year.

First, and probably the most important, don’t procrastinate! It’s what every teacher says before they hand out a big project. For some reason, many of us take the phrase “you can’t do this the night before” as a challenge and try to prove that we actually can do it in one night. This advice has been repeated so many times that it has the tendency to just go in one ear and out the other, but it really does work. Pretty much every person struggles with procrastination, but it is possible to overcome that annoying habit if you really want to.

Another important thing to do is to write things down. Looking at a visual list of what you have to do makes it a lot easier to estimate how much time you will be spending on things. Writing things down also helps you remember that last minute homework assignment that your 4th period teacher gives you as you are packing up your stuff. It is so easy to forget about a homework assignment if it isn’t written down. There are so many other things floating around in our heads that it is hard to remember everything we need to do. Writing things down really helps. It doesn’t really matter where you write things down, as long as it is on something you can keep track of. Some people like to have a special planner just for homework so that they can cross things off as they go, which is great. However, if you’re not the planner type of person, that is just fine too. A plain sheet of notebook paper works just as well, or even at the top of your notes. The most important thing is that it is in a place that you will see it and it won’t get lost in the huge mass of other papers you have.

Next is to prioritize. Prioritize! Prioritize! Prioritize! Do what is most important, or what is due the soonest first. Just because you are working on homework doesn’t necessarily mean that you are prioritizing right. It is much easier to start on that fun history assignment due in a month than it is to do your science homework due the next day. Getting the most important things done first is a good way to avoid stressing last minute to get things done. Doing the hardest assignment first also makes it easier to do them rather than trying to do it after a long day of doing other assignments. By the end of the night, you’re brain is barely even thinking any more.

Put down your phone, or any type of entertainment that might distract you. This is probably one of the hardest, yet most important rules of them all. Once you get sucked into the black hole of social media, it is so hard to get back out to work on things like homework. It is so difficult to get things done when you keep hearing the buzzing of your phone. Most of us just don’t have the self control to ignore a new text message or to not look at who just liked our Instagram photo. If possible, find a quiet, distraction-free location where you can work on your homework. This can really be anywhere you want, your room, the backyard, the kitchen, the tree house you used to play in when you were little, or even your car. The fewer distractions you have around you the more that you will be able to get done. This makes it so that you don’t waste valuable time doing things that aren’t really important.

Finally, it is also important to reward yourself. Having a goal to work towards and achieving it is one of the best feelings in the world. When you get an A on a history test because you spent a good chunk of time studying, it is ok to do something to reward yourself. This could make you want to do well again. Pretty much anything can be a reward. Extra social media time, a drink from Fizz, a new cute dress or pair of shoes, or even movie tickets to that new movie that you have been wanting to see. Having a reward to work towards is a great motivator to get things done.

While it is sometimes so hard to stay organized and get everything done, it is worth it in the end. It is important to remember why you are doing the homework and trying so hard to do well in school. Maybe getting that good grade is what stands between you and admission to the college of your choice, or you and that sports scholarship that you have had your heart set on since your first little league practice. All of this hard work is worth it, even though it might not always seem like it. If you are already great at prioritizing and staying organized, keep it up, but if not, start now to keep up so that when third quarter hits you don’t have a mental breakdown trying to keep track of everything.