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How To Boost Your Grades – Now!

How To Boost Your Grades – Now!

The school year has started, and this means new textbooks are being opened; new ideas are being taught all around the globe. It also marks (pun intended!) the beginning of a long-term partnership with studying and absorbing information. According to Newton’s third law of motion, it is easier for one’s grades to fall freely, than to have to manually pull them upwards – which requires both work and energy. Fret not. There are many more ways than one to boost them. It is not a simple positive correlation between the number of hours spent reviewing and achievement. Take traditional advice with a grain of salt – we are now in the 21st century, thus learning has doubtingly changed.

Ask Yourself, “Why?”

The courses you have on your schedule – why did you take them? Have a good, long moment to reflect upon your choices. Everybody has goals and career directions, and yes, that means that the subjects selected should be of meaning or direct use to fulfill that. If not, maybe it stems from pure interest. If you find yourself losing motivation somewhere during the year, refocus on those aims and think long-term. Do they genuinely bring happiness? Are you emotionally satisfied and energized?

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Procrastinate Wisely

Easier said than done: to not procrastinate is virtually impossible, as stress gets to the best of us sometimes. However, there are manageable techniques to beat the monkey and control your procrastination than letting it control you. To begin, it is all in the mind. Every burst of procrastination begins with a choice. Social media, prolonged periods of eating, digital games and being stuck in the never-ending realm of YouTube are just a few examples of that. The trick is to limit the time spent on each burst using a timing method. The popular Pomodoro technique is an excellent example to increase productivity, and in the end, your grades!

Ask, Ask, Ask!

Don’t be afraid to approach the teacher or professor when there is a point or two that need to be clarified. They will notice the effort you put in and will keep a mental note in the back of their minds. It does not demonstrate a lack of intelligence or inability to listen attentively in class. In reality, it demonstrates the very opposite – a keen, responsible student.

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Set Goals Early

Goals are absolutely crucial in the maintenance of high-soaring grades. They keep us grounded and push us to be hard-working. Although it is not compulsory in school, it does help give meaning to every assignment being completed as opposed to an empty feeling of “Why am I doing this?”. Take out a piece of paper, pen – and get writing. It is never too late to set, modify, or discontinue personal goals.

Be Confident

It is near impossible to find success with your head down. There lies a continuum of hope and ambition, whenever anyone raises their head high. There’s no secret formula or routine to follow to promote confidence is your life – it is learned by repeating positive affirmations throughout the day. There may be times bombarded with countless tasks, making stress levels at and all-time high. Do not panic. It’s alright to cry and let those emotions out once in a while. Stress is what you make of it; nobody has the power to create stress in your life, unless you make the very decision to dwell on it.

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At the end of the day, grades are just numbers, and always remember that your potential is far greater. The sky’s the limit to growth and development – as Einstein once said, “The man who never made a mistake, never learned anything new.” Head up, chin up!

Featured photo credit: www.flrtib.org via flrtib.org

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Lily Yuan

Full-Time Student

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Last Updated on April 8, 2019

22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

Unless you’re infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your income. Setting limits on how much you are willing to spend helps control expenses. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

Deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work:

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  1. Use Parkinson’s Law – Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on what is most important.
  2. Timebox – Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on a specific task. After the time is up you finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your time wisely.
  3. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to projects to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time.
  4. Project VS Deadline – The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
  5. Break it Down – Any deadline over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren’t applied to manageable units.
  6. Hofstadter’s Law – Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I’ve heard in software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
  7. Backwards Planning – Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely.
  8. Prototype – If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. Write a 10 page e-book before your 300 page novel or try to increase your income by 10% before aiming to double it.
  9. Find the Weak Link – Figure out what could ruin your plans and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your deadlines.
  10. No Robot Deadlines – Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren’t a robot. Don’t schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmarches aren’t healthy.
  11. Get Feedback – Get a realistic picture from people working with you. Giving impossible deadlines to contractors or employees will only build resentment.
  12. Continuous Planning – If you use a backwards planning model, you need to constantly be updating plans to fit your deadline. This means making cuts, additions or refinements so the project will fit into the expected timeframe.
  13. Mark Excess Baggage – Identify areas of a task or project that will be ignored if time grows short. What e-mails will you have to delete if it takes too long to empty your inbox? What features will your product lack if you need a rapid finish?
  14. Review – For deadlines over a month long take a weekly review to track your progress. This will help you identify methods you can use to speed up work and help you plan more efficiently for the future.
  15. Find Shortcuts – Almost any task or project has shortcuts you can use to save time. Is there a premade library you can use instead of building your own functions? An autoresponder to answer similar e-mails? An expert you can call to help solve a problem?
  16. Churn then Polish – Set a strict deadline for basic completion and then set a more comfortable deadline to enhance and polish afterwards. Often churning out the basics of a task quickly will require no more polishing afterwards than doing it slowly.
  17. Reminders – Post reminders of your deadlines everywhere. Creating a sense of urgency with your deadlines is necessary to keep them from getting pushed aside by distractions.
  18. Forward Planning – Not mutually exclusive with backwards planning, this involves planning the details of a project out before setting a deadline. Great for achieving clarity about what you are trying to accomplish before making arbitrary time limits.
  19. Set a Timer – Get one that beeps. Somehow the countdown of a timer appears more realistic for a ninety minute timebox than just glancing at your clock.
  20. Write them Down – Any deadline over a few hours needs to be written down. Otherwise it is an inclination not a goal. Having written deadlines makes them more tangible than internal decisions alone.
  21. Cheap/Fast/Good – Ben Casnocha in My Start Up Life mentions that you can have only have two of the three. Pick two of the cheap/fast/good dimensions before starting a project to help you prioritize.
  22. Be Patient – Using a deadline may seem to be the complete opposite of patience. But being patient with inflexible tasks is necessary to focus on their completion. The paradox is that the more patient you are, the more you can focus. The more you can focus the quicker the results will come!

Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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