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TIP: Time Management

Howdy, students and parents and to whomever it may concern:

Time management is a great skill to have. No, seriously. You think you've got it? Really? Perhaps you do possess the talent to manage your time efficiently. This article is for those who are like me: we suck with time management.

Throughout high school, I have just done so many things, one after another. Assignments. Projects. Homework. Extracurriculars. Planning. Piano. Golf. Track and field. Volunteering. The list goes on and on - as I am sure is the same for many of you.

You get home around 3:30, assuming school ends around 3:05. And then from 3:30 until 10, 11, or 12, you have at least 6 solid hours of homework. But ... only 6? 1 hour to eat ... 1 hour for miscellaneous things ... 1 hour to unload the stress when you get home plus to get ready for bed .. and you're left with 3 hours.

If you're lucky, that is.

On many days, I had only a few hours to prepare for the next day's due work. That meant I often stayed up late to finish assignments or to put finishing touches on projects. And then I would get very little sleep - bad behavior, I know. But what is life without constantly feeling like you will get devoured by the void that is S T R E S S ?

Oh - life is fun without Stress. But Stress is actually good for you, it forces you to make decisions about your time and what you could be doing (opportunity cost, in a way).

So here's how I manage my time, and although it might not work perfectly for everyone, there are some tips that could possibly help you get some more shuteye.

1. Do your work AS SOON AS YOU GET HOME. No buts. No "but I want to go onto Instagram ... I want to maintain my social media presence ... Reddit ..." Absolutely NO BUTS. You go home and you do your work (maybe after going to the bathroom if you need to.) But really: do your work as soon as you can.

2. Track all of your upcoming assignments, projects, and deadlines using a planner or calendar of some sort. I remember one summer I printed out all the months from June to September and I just filled in the little rectangles. In a way, it de-stresses you. It also gives you an idea of how you should be planning your time around these deadlines. You see the Big Picture, which is very important when it comes to time management. Use highlighters, use pens, draw icons. Make the dates stick in your brain.

3. Use a to-do list to get an extra incentive as you get each assignment done. I use Todoist because I personally like how I can mark items as complete. It's an innate thing that I feel - a sense of accomplishment, you could say. Perhaps even write your assignments down on a legal pad and then physically cross out the items. Feel proud of yourself!

4. No distractions. Don't pick up your phone. Don't do it don't do it don't do it. I know you want to check that notification, but Snapchat can wait. Your Instagram DM won't go anywhere. I downloaded an extension for Chrome called Forest. You can set a timer and it would stop you from, essentially, using your laptop for non-work related websites.

5. Keep your eye on the time. If you are getting nowhere with one thing, drop it. Take a break from it. Start another thing. And alternate back and forth, as long as it keeps you MOVING and you are doing something productive. Sometimes I cannot handle doing another problem. That's fine. My body wants me to move onto something else - something more exciting, something new. And after I finish with that, I will return to my old task, and hopefully, I will be inspired and motivated once more.

6. Give yourself rewards. Take a break every fifteen minutes or so. Eat some snacks. But remember tip #1: get your work done as soon as you can even with little breaks in between.

7. Drop some things if you can't handle all of it. This applies to the bigger picture - I am not talking about your daily work. Don't drop your daily work especially if it is due the next day! Instead, I will tell you something: in tenth grade, I was juggling a bunch of clubs, two sports, and constant volunteering. I enjoyed everything I did, but it was too much. I only had twenty-four hours in one day. Some people can do a lot of amazing things - but I knew my limits when I saw them. Eventually, I dropped a few activities to make more time for homework and my favorite activities. Sometimes you have to relax and let go of somethings, especially if they are only weighing you down.

These are all the tips I have so far. I will upload more tips later when I do think of them. Good luck with your time management, and remember, it IS something that you have to constantly work on!

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