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Happy beginning of the school year, everyone! 🙂 Now is the time to set up some new habits and routines that will set you up for success for the rest of the school year. Want a tried-and-true roadmap? You’ve come to the right place. Here is a list of life-hacks guaranteed to make you feel like a superhero at school and beyond
It is proven that a daily routine will increase your productivity and reduce stress. What a better way to start off the day than with your own personally crafted AM Recipe for Success? Perhaps you begin the day with a stretch and a 10 minute meditation, followed by enjoying your favorite warm beverage. Or maybe you wouldlike to start the day off with 10 minutes of free-form writing to clear the cobwebs from your brain then a 7 minute workout to get the blood flowing!
Whatever your morning routine, keep it personal and enjoyable. Ease into the day happy and light!
Pro tip: Don’t impulsively turn to your phone when you first gain consciousness. Allow your body and mind to wake up naturally. Challenge yourself to make the first 30 minutes of your morning screen-free.
Do you own a planner? Do you know how to use it? (Spoiler alert: in order to get that planner to really work for you, you have to do more than just write due-dates in it!)
So. Let’s level-up your planner game.
First, pull out your syllabus for each class. Start by writing the due dates on the corresponding days in your calendar.
Next, estimate how long each assignment, project, and paper will take. Break down that budgeted time into how much time you want to spend on each assignment by week, and then by day. (For example: “My chemistry project will take me about 12 hours to complete. I have four weeks to complete this project. That means I should spend at least 3 hours a week working on this project. I choose to spend at least an hour on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday of each week working on this project until it is complete.”)
Now, write down each budgeted increment of work into your planner on the corresponding days. (For example: “On Monday the 11th, I will work on my chem project for one hour.”)
Remember to also budget the time you plan to spend studying for midterm and final exams!
Each day, preferably in the morning, make a list of everything that needs to get done in school, in your extracurriculars, and in your personal life. If it is occupying space in your brain, write it down! Think of this as an exercise to make extra space in your brain. Don’t stop writing until you truly cannot think of any other obligations you need to take care of.
Now, review your list. Circle the top three priority items on the list. These could be the things that are the most time-sensitive, or perhaps are the items that are causing you the most stress. Whatever those top three items are, make them a priority to do today. Take steps to be able to cross them off of your list for good!
Yes, you read that right! Want to take that trip to Six Flags with your friends? Go prom dress shopping? Watch an episode or two of Brooklyn 99? That’s right, schedule it in! Allowing yourself some good non-academic fun time is important! And scheduling it in as part of your agenda not only makes your valuable “you time” official, but it also helps keep your productivity in-check outside of that time, too!
Whether it is the desk in your room or the reading nook in the study, make sure you build a place where you can focus distraction-free from the television, siblings, and other interruptions.
Almost as important as keeping your space distraction-free is to personalize this space as yours. More specifically: make it YOUR workplace. Put things on your desk or up on the walls that inspire you, keep you focused, and motivate you. This is your fortress, your sanctuary. Decorate or set-up this space to be uniquely yours. Set yourself up to get in the zone and stay in the zone!
Listen to Mom! Watch your sugar intake, eat your fruits and veggies, and pack healthy snacks for in-between classes at school. Drink a glass of water when you wake up in the morning. Hydration has a major effect on your energy levels and brain function. That’s right, whether or not you drink sufficient water daily will have a direct impact on how much energy you have and how easily you will be able to learn and retain information in class. Take your water bottle with you to school and drink the whole thing. Then refill it and drink the whole thing again!
Pro-Tip: An easy way to cut out some major sugar out of your diet is to stop or curb your soda drinking habits. Substitute your lunchtime Coca Cola with a bottle of water instead! Sugar-crash no more.
Regular exercise will increase the oxygen supply to your brain, release endorphins, and make you more happy and energetic! Find time to get the blood flowing each day. And yes, a brisk fifteen minute walk around the neighborhood counts. 🙂
Just like in the morning, treat yourself to a relaxing 10 – 30 minute wind-down ritual before you go to sleep. This may look like a hot cup of camomile tea while reading in bed, or perhaps stretching or doing yoga while listening to your favorite chill music. Whatever your ritual is, make sure it is a calm activity that you will look forward to doing each night before you go to bed.
Pro-tip deja-vu: Challenge yourself to put away your phone 30 minutes before your head hits the pillow. That fluorescent light makes it difficult for your brain to shut down when your body wants to!
According to the National Sleep Foundation, teens need about 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night to function at their best. However, according to this NSF study, only 15% of teens reported sleeping 8.5 hours or more on school nights. (Let’s hope that’s because the other 85% of you were sleeping 8 hours a night…? Right?)
So there you have it: nine tried-and-true tips to start your new school year off on the right foot! After you implement these new routines into your life, you will begin to feel refreshed, energized and motivated… superhero status, guaranteed. 🙂