A Student’s Guide to Time Management

Last school year, I was a fairly average example of a high school student: if something was due Monday, I was sure to get it done by Sunday night. I might need to stay up until 1 AM and consume some sort of caffeinated beverage, but I’d get it done. Almost all of my student friends follow this same model of procrastination. Some say it works best for them, that their best work is done under pressure, and/or they can’t focus during the week. This school year, though, things changed for me in some major ways, and I think most students would appreciate this shift taking placing in their own life, even if it seems ridiculously impossible at this point. (Before I go on, I must clarify that I am homeschooled and basically attend a one-day school/co-op, but some of my methods will benefit students of all sorts.)

Since the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year in September, I have not done homework on a weekend. Sounds great, right? Since mid-October, however, I have not done homework on a Friday. And since early December, homework on Thursday has actually been a bit of a rarity.

Let me calm your fears before I go on. Yes, I do my homework, I study well, and none of my grades are lower than an 85% (which, particularly in a class like chemistry, is fine by me). I don’t skip more homework than most kids already do, and I’m learning thoroughly; yet, homework doesn’t loom over me constantly.

How is this possible? I’m honestly not too sure. It started as an accountability plan with one of my best friends, but at this point, it has grown way beyond what I hoped for, and he and I don’t really talk about it anymore. (I’ll also add that accountability partners have never been much of a help to me, but teachers as a form of accountability have majorly kept me on track during my high school years so far.)

As much of a mystery this is to me, there are still a few things that I know helped. I will explain them as Realization, Boxing (because I dislike the word ‘clump’), and Momentum. Parts of these methods will mostly be helpful to students attending the same style school that I do, but even if you’re attending a basic five-day school system, or even university, there will be something for you. And of course, if you’re expecting any success, you must have a good reason, a thought-out why.


Before you can work up the motivation to attack your homework with Tuesday Gusto, you might have to do some math. Write down your subjects, and think through the weekly workload. How much time per week do you usually spend on the homework for this class? Does the workload vary, stay fairly constant, or diambiate [I’m leaving this word here because my brain thought it meant something, I wanted to say a word that meant ‘ebb and flow,’ but that came out…] between twenty minutes and two hours? It’s okay to make liberal estimates; even these will likely encourage you and give you a dose of reality.

Now that you have your time estimates for each class, add it all together and divide by the number of homework days you have available, excluding the weekend because you should get your rest and sleep is not a mythical concept. For me, I have four days. Once you divide this number and realize that you really only need to work on school stuff for two to three hours a day, four or five days a week, (–it’ll be different for everyone–) you might just decide voluntarily to clump box this into three days instead of four.


Draw up a schedule of your school days, take your weekly time estimate, and distribute it. If you’re feeling adventurous, cut out Friday and see what your week would look like if you did just an hour or so more the other days of the week, to make Friday part of a three-day weekend. Simply looking at this on paper can change your work habits overnight.

For me, this looks like packing American history into Tuesday morning and (late) evening, chemistry into Tuesday (early) afternoon, geometry into Wednesday (mostly the afternoon, because the later hours work best for me) and British literature wherever it will fit. Sure, I’m pretty much eating/sleeping/doing homework/going to a church group/working 24/7 (24/2?) those two days, but I like it.


If you had four construction projects to work on of a given week, and you knew that each one took about four hours, would you visit each site every day of the week and work on it for an hour? [Not a story problem.] You probably wouldn’t. Okay, so why do we cut our homework up into chunks, then proceed to go after one project, then *hours of Instagram or Facebook scrolling later* to the next project, and then to the next? There’s an argument that this is helpful to keep the information in your head, particularly for math, but I honestly think that idea is for elementary school. Choose a day to do all or most of the homework for a certain class, and power through it in one sitting (with maybe a twenty-minute snack-and-YouTube break). If you need to study it a bit to refresh your memory before a test coming up, the good news is that you’re basically an adult now and you can do things like setting reminders for yourself and, like, have some semblance of organization. Would you like a badge?


Why finish your homework on Thursday? Because you have something better to do Friday/Saturday/Sunday. My goal is to use my extended weekend for writing, running, practicing piano/ukulele, activities with friends, and reading. Sadly, many weeks, this extra time has mostly been utilized to sleep in, consume entertainment, burn up time on social media; the generation Z usual. There is much room for improvement, but I’m getting there.

Every situation is different, and I know some students are functioning at a level wherein there isn’t even an hour of free time, and this would be an impossible goal. Wherever you are, work to become master over your time, but be content with what you have if that is the best you can do. That’s okay.

A Note on Procrastination

Planning always beats procrastinating. It gives the fulfilling feeling of getting work done, while basically just being a better form of procrastination. However, knowing what you have to get done and how you’ll get it done will easily knock out the ambiguity that keeps us from starting. Have a paper coming up? Outline the steps you’ll have to take to finish it, and you might just find in yourself the motivation to begin. Need to study for a test? Get some index cards and do some color-coding before you write out what you need to remember.

Questions? Comments? Wild success stories? Email me using the form below.





Go Take a Walk!

If it is possible for you to go take a walk right now and forget this post, go do that! Now onto the post.

There are tons of benefits to taking walks. Here are a few I found via Google Search:

  1. Walking helps your heart.
  2. Walking helps you lose weight. (duh)
  3. Walking makes you happier.
  4. Walking gives you energy.
  5. Walking helps your brain.
  6. Walking improves your sleep.
  7. Walking helps you be more creative.

Obviously, walking is better than… let me think… lots of things. Including sliced bread.

Here are some tips to building a walking habit into your life:

Start Walking

Once you start, you’ll enjoy it, and then it will be a lot easier to get yourself to go on a walk.

Have a Designated Time

Every day at a certain time, take a walk. Pretty simple, I know.

Just Walk for a Few Minutes

Fairly self-explantatory. Don’t insist that you walk for an hour or even ten minutes. Just be content with walking for five minutes. If at all possible, keep all the intentional walking out-of-doors.

Simply Walk

Don’t listen to podcasts. (Yeah, I listen to podcasts every time. But I’m trying to stop.) Don’t listen to music. Don’t read. (Yes, I have read while walking before. It’s not really that hard. But don’t do it.) Just walk.

Now go take a walk! Or set a reminder on your device to tell you when you can. See you next time!

How You Can Create a Space to Get Things Done

(The image above was taken from UnrealisticHipsterPictures.com) (Just kidding.)

Today, I want to share a fairly simple secret to getting more things done. (It’s a super big secret, and for that reason, I’m sharing it for everyone to see online.)

I am a firm believer in the power of the environment.

Here’s what I mean: When I’m having trouble getting things done, I usually know why. Most of the time, it’s because my environment is not conducive to a healthy thought process.

Sometimes it’s just because the area I’m in isn’t tidy. Sometimes it’s because there’s not enough light. Other times there are just too many distractions.

So, when I really want to get things done, I change my environment.

I light a candle to get the room smelling nice. (You can also use essential oils, or clean all the surfaces.)

I tidy up so that I’m not working around other things.

I turn on lights or open the blinds, to ensure I have enough light.

I play quiet music with no lyrics (or lyrics in another language, at times) or nature noises, to cover up the silence or quiet sounds of the area I’m in.

I make myself warm, either by getting a blanket or wearing more layers.

And that’s how I focus.

You don’t need to buckle down and force yourself to work when you’re ‘spinning your wheels’. You just need to make the work more peaceful and enjoyable.

Obviously, there are some types of work that this doesn’t apply to, but if you’re talking about writing or doing homework or emailing, this little method helps a lot. Reading, for that matter, often requires making a better environment.

If you know a student or a writer or a reader who might appreciate this secret, send this article to ’em.

Do you ever improve your environment to improve your focus? How do you do it?




One Simple Tip for Those Building Habits or Working on Goals

A few days ago, I was trying to figure out why I succeeded at building some habits and failed at building others. Why had some goals been practically effortless and others excruciatingly difficult until I gave up? Read More

Addressing the Vague Goals: How to Exercise More

Last week I wrote about the first “vague goal” on my list, “how to read more.” This week, I will be giving my advice on how to exercise more. Read More

Addressing the Vague Goals: How to Read More

If you’ve read my old blog posts about setting goals (here and here), you’ve probably heard me talk about vague goals. These are goals like “run more,” “eat less,” “read more,” or “become a nicer person.” You usually won’t get very far with these types of goals. Read More

Drink More Water; Solve 5+ Problems

With one simple change, you can solve scores of problems! Including…

  • dry mouth
  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • dry skin
  • dizziness

If you have any of the above problems, you are probably not drinking enough water. Water will help you more than you know! Take me for example. For a long time, I had a lot of headaches that were pretty painful, and sometimes they got bad enough that I couldn’t do my usual activities of the day. Formerly, I tried to cure them with medicine or caffeine, but I have a found a much better answer. About two weeks ago, I started trying to drink about 10 cups of water every day, and since then, I have seen so many benefits.

A lot of the water you take in is from the food you eat, but that does not eliminate the necessity of drinking water. Experiment with the volume of water, and see what is right for you. Here are some signs to look for that might pop up when you are properly hydrated:

  • -You will be more energized.
  • -You will be more mentally fit.
  • -Your “output” should be very light.
  • -You will need to use the restroom often. (as much as once every hour, sometimes more)
  • -Migraines will go away (only those caused by dehydration, of course).
  • -Your skin will start to clear. (There was an article going around on FaceBook awhile back specifically about this type of thing.)
  • -You will feel little to no urge to snack.
  • -You will eat less at meals.
  • -You will not want pop/soda as much.
  • -You will start to like drinking water.

Don’t worry if you don’t experience all of these; they are just things that happened to me as I drank more water, and correlation does not necessarily equal causation.

How You Start

Now that I have told you that you should drink more water and most of the side effects that I’ve listed above are very motivating, you might wonder how to go about doing this. Here’s what I do: Each morning I fill my gallon jug with water and throughout the day I keep it nearby. This at least doubles my water intake without really trying, and it cuts the preparation time- yes, there is a prep time for filling a glass of water- in half.

Hope it helps!
P.S. Share & Subscribe!

5 Tips For Reading For All It’s Worth

Most of us would like to read more, but sometimes it’s a struggle to stay awake, or we just want to do something else with our free time.

Hopefully I can give you some new ideas on reading more and reading for all it’s worth.

1. Choose a time each day that you regularly read. I read at 7 am most of the time or if I’m particularly enjoying a book I’ll read whenever I have time. Choose a time that most days you can spend that time reading. Don’t choose a time when you usually feel too tired to read.

2. Plan how long you will read. I read for twenty minutes, but you may feel more or less is better suited to you.

3. Don’t force yourself to read whole books. Read some of it, and if you start to get bored of it, stop reading and go on to learn from other books. If you saw a chapter you thought earlier would be interesting, skip to it, but otherwise, give up wading through boredom to get to what might be good content. (I got this tip from a blogger named Michael Hyatt at http://www.michaelhyatt.com, but I have found this to be super helpful.)

4. Read book reviews. Either from me, other bloggers, or the Amazon customer review system. Find trusted sources, and you will find good books.

5. Get a nice environment. Light a candle, get under a blanket, only have the right amount of light, and make it quiet. Get a nice environment, and it will help your concentration a lot.

I hope these tips gave you some ideas or will help you in the future.

If you have a tip of your own (or one you discovered) please share it in the comments.

If you read a book you really enjoy, please send in a book review with your name and email, and it may get posted!

If you liked this post and want to tell somebody about it, please share it on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest. Thanks a bunch!