Work just seems to pile on. Now that Sukkot and Rosh Hashanah have come and gone, teachers are becoming stricter and school is becoming more difficult. For most of us, it is a miracle how we maintain our social lives while doing multiple hours of homework each night. Dealing with assignments in nine classes, along with tests or quizzes almost every day is hard. Procrastination is not our friend, yet most of us are very well acquainted with it. On top of all our school work, even though it seems as if it just ended, applications and deadlines for applying for summer jobs and programs are already due. It feels as if the summer just ended and we already need to have next year’s planned. There are so many different things to do and paths to choose from. Israel program? Camp counselor? Job or internship? We try to handle all of our responsibilities, but as we get older, they get increasingly difficult and more important.
Sometimes it all can be just a tad bit overwhelming. Let’s face it, stress is unavoidable, and we are all going to feel it at one time or another. Thankfully, there are ways to help reduce it and manage it.
This year I took on a myriad of new responsibilities, including new extracurriculars and hobbies. In order to not get lost in all of them, I made my goal for this year to be “The Year of Efficiency.” My goal is to be able to maximize my time and waste the least amount of it possible, to be able to succeed in all of the areas of life and prioritize obligations. In order to do this, I needed to make some changes to my habits. No more binging on Netflix and less social media. I incorporated some other tools into my routine to help me achieve my goals as well:
- Personally, I find that making set times each night for doing a specific class’ homework is helpful. For example, if I know that I need to write my English essay one night, I will set a time in advance to do it at 7 p.m. Until then, I can procrastinate all I want (because we all know that is inevitable), but at that set time I sit down and do my work. This proves to be helpful because it adds a bit of organization and structure to my night with a schedule. Scheduling every hour of the night and dedicating each hour to one thing can be unreasonable, which is why you should start small with one dedicated time slot.
- During school is a great time to work. Whenever you have a free period or a moment of time available, sit down and open your books. If you arrive at school before classes start or have a long breakfast, these are also good times to work. Doing as much homework in school can give you a surplus of extra free time later in the night. Additionally, if you do the work during a free period in school and have questions, you can find the teacher and talk it out with them.
- Making a “to-do” list can prove to be very beneficial. I know this may sound silly and that no one actually does this, but it works. I used to be very against planners. I found it too annoying for me to be lugging them around and bringing them to all of my classes. I relied solely on memorization. But then I started making to-do lists. I wrote down all of my assignments and the due dates. This method of organization helps make it easier to prioritize all your responsibilities since all due dates are in one place. This helps you make sure that you do not forget anything important. You can also do this for a night when you have a lot of work; write down each thing you need to complete that night and check it off as you finish it.
- Study in advance. Plan out how many days you will need to study for a test. Some exams require more studying than others. For instance, you may need to study history an hour every night for three nights in a row, but English might only require one hour the night before the test. In my house, we use the “Two-day rule,” where we study for tests two days prior to the exam. Making review sheets also helps you remember the information. No one in my school has really made a review sheet since middle school, but I do. They prove to make studying much easier. Even if it is simply typing up written notes, this helps you subconsciously remember the information. Making review sheets are the first step in studying, getting yourself familiar with the information before diving straight into notes.
“Stressed” is commonly used by students to describe their feelings when it comes to their workload. But there are ways to decrease this feeling. You can get all of your work done and still find time to do other things that you are passionate about. Although the changes to make to your routine are small, their effects will be large. There are many more methods that I am sure you can come up with on your own. Think about it, what else can you do to help make this school year your very own “Year of Efficiency?”
Molly Feder is a junior at Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway. She is a Staff Writer for Fresh Ink for Teens.