5 Study Habits for Managing Everyday Life
Senior year of high school is an absolute whirlwind, to say the least. From completing college applications to managing tougher course loads, it might seem like the academic suffering just never seems to end. Matters can be further complicated by other commitments, such as babysitting siblings, keeping up with chores and errands, and maybe even managing a part-time job. With all those extra tasks, it can be easy to lose energy for schoolwork in general. So to alleviate some of that stress and exhaustion, consider trying out the following tips and study habits.
1. Learn to multitask.
Multitasking is the cardinal rule to getting everything done in a timely fashion. For example, if you are responsible for looking after siblings, it can be especially hard to find a large chunk of time solely to yourself. However, a lot of the responsibilities a student might have at home won’t always go on for consecutive hours. Whether you’re meal-prepping in advance or helping your younger brother or sister with their homework, you can always find time in between to squeeze in a couple of assignments. For example, you might want to consider doing homework at the same time as your sibling. In the past, my brother and I would work on assignments for the same subject; that way, when he needed any specific help with homework, I would be able to help him without shifting mental gears entirely when returning to my own homework.
As another example, when it comes to doing physical chores around the house, I found it more helpful to switch to other forms of studying, particularly auditory methods. That is, I would just play a review video in the background as I swept the floors and went over a bulk of my study material then. Not only was I killing two birds with one stone, but the shift in study methods always kept me engaged with the material. Building the habits for multitasking will inevitably take a while, but it is such an essential skill for all high schoolers to learn if they want to save time for other daily commitments, like self-care and socializing.
2. Adapt to multiple workspaces.
In much the same way, being flexible with where you study will boost your productivity immensely. Nowadays, the average student’s weekday is far more packed, and additional commitments like extracurricular activities and jobs are stacked on top of their typical tasks, such as homework and chores. Ultimately, those regular commitments at home will tire out many students, which would leave them little time for long term assignments, whether they be exams or midterm papers. That’s why it’s so crucial for students to find time at school to work on these assignments bit by bit. Learning to work efficiently in any spot at school, or even on your commute to school, will certainly save time and energy spent at home. If possible, I would recommend just bringing your laptop to school so that you can mobilize anywhere in the building and pull out those essay drafts and online math problems. And while working on such a cumbersome device might be less feasible on the bus ride back home, having key mobile apps like Quizlet are incredibly helpful for studying quick facts and definitions in a short amount of time. It’s all about adaptability.
3. Use the Pomodoro method.
At the end of the day, a lot of high schoolers find themselves studying later in the evening, because that’s when they have the most time to themselves. While this situation isn’t ideal at all, there are still ways of making every minute count. One study method that I’ve found to be very helpful is the Pomodoro Technique. To quickly review what it is, the Pomodoro Technique trains students into solely focusing on a given task for blocks, or pomodoros, of 25 minutes. After each pomodoro, students can take a quick break for five minutes before moving on to the next block. After a round of four pomodoros, students are allowed a longer break of 10-15 minutes. What’s so amazing about the Pomodoro Technique is that it sets mini-goals for students to achieve so that every minute of studying is actually productive. It also builds a stronger sense of urgency to get the most work done by that 25-minute mark. This technique has helped me eliminate those endless hours of procrastination, whether it be during high school or college.
4. Squeeze in light studying during breaks at work.
When it comes to jobs, it’s not so easy to find multiple breaks to actually study. Of course, the amount of free time we actually find depends on the job itself. That is to say, it’s naturally more feasible to find time to study for a quiz if the job doesn’t demand you to be on your feet for most of the time. Regardless of your job, students are generally allowed to clock out for 30-minute lunch breaks (if they’re working a full-day). During those breaks, I would find it helpful to do some brief review through flashcards or online study guides I’d have saved on Google drive beforehand. Of course, you don’t want to overdo all that studying, because you’ve been working very hard at your job and certainly deserve this bit of time to yourself! That’s why I would recommend using breaks to study for quizzes only if you’ve studied all the material and are mostly confident with your knowledge on the subject matter beforehand. Even ten minutes of quick review can make a huge difference in your recall abilities.
5. Work on smaller chunks of work from multiple classes.
To avoid complete mental exhaustion from having to balance so many things on your plate, I would recommend breaking your assignments up into smaller chunks. There are a lot of perks to this method, especially in regard to building better time management skills. The most important benefit that I found from doing this was that it helped with maintaining a longer attention span. When it came to looking after my sibling or running errands for my parents, it would be hard to snap back into focus on the assignment I was working on beforehand. This was especially true of the essay drafts and chapter outlines I’d have the tendency of doing in one sitting—every time I’d return to my desk to finish those assignments, I’d lose my place completely and end up rereading the same pages. But with smaller chunks, like outlining sections at a time instead, I would be able to follow through with my train of thought before tending to my other everyday tasks. At the end of the day, quality matters more than quantity, and there’s no better way to achieve that than by setting smaller goals to get the job done. In this case, you might end up getting more done than you would’ve expected.
While managing everyday commitments aside from schoolwork is far from easy, you’ll only get better at it with time and patience! And to be very honest, these methods have saved me from a lot of stress and anxiety throughout my senior year of high school. Not only that, but these skills are transferable everywhere, especially to a college student living on campus. So, while things may be hectic now, know that you can certainly push through it!