Advertising
Advertising

15 Habits to Develop for Back to School

15 Habits to Develop for Back to School


    Are you going back to school this year with the best intentions in mind?

    Advertising

    Or are you on the opposite end, dreading the year because of how much of a grind school can be?

    As a high school teacher and former teaching assistant for Queen’s University, I’ve seen and experienced both.

    Advertising

    However, school can be a great experience if you develop some habits that will make your life easier. Listed below are some habits that I’ve learned from some amazing teachers, professors, students and the invaluable wisdom of the contributing authors of Lifehack.

    These are all simple habits that require little time, but have a huge payoff.

    Advertising

    Getting Organized

    1. One Folder (or Binder) for Each Class– At the end of each day, put all your notes and handouts in one folder, or binder, for each class. This takes less than a minute to do and will save you endless headaches when you need to find course material.
    2. Plan Your Day the Night Before – Spend a few minutes to write your to-do list for the next day. When you wake up, you’ll know exactly what needs to get done.
    3. Use a Calendar – Doesn’t matter if it’s digital, wall-mounted or the one you get in your student agenda. Use it and refer to it!

    In the Classroom

    1. Show Up to Class (On Time) – Missing class requires you to put in twice the amount of effort to catch up. Even if you really don’t feel like it, show up.
    2. Take Useful Notes – Useful things to note: arguments, examples and answers to problems. Don’t get caught trying to make your notes look pretty. The more time you spend with different coloured pens and underlining, the less focused you are on the content of the class. This also applies to digital notes.
    3. Drop the Excuses – I assure you that teachers and professors have heard every excuse, numerous times. Stop spending time crafting excuses and just be honest.

    Finances

    1. Pack Your Lunch – Schools make it easy for you to buy your lunch every day. Packing your lunch will help you eat better (hopefully) and save you money (which will probably go towards your weekend adventures). Speaking of which…
    2. Leave your Plastic at Home – Learn to live on cash when you go out. It’s very easy to get carried away with the spending when you’re having a good time with your friends.
    3. Always Think Long Term – Money is typically abundant at the beginning of the year and super tight by the end. Figure out how much you need in a month and make sure you have that for the last month of school. I’ve seen too many students attempt the $50 challenge (making $50 last an entire month) because it’s all they have left.

    Assignments & Homework

    1. Plan Your Assignments and Work in Chunks – You do not work better the night before an assignment is due – that’s an excuse for your procrastination. Plan ahead and take on your assignments in pieces.
    2. Drink Lots of Water – Drinking water while working helps with your concentration better than loads of caffeine.
    3. Throw Away Your Highlighter – A professor during my first year of University recommended this to me and I haven’t looked back. When reading, write notes to yourself along the margins. Dialogue with what is written, ask questions and mark up the assigned reading like it’s your job. Your notes will tell you why particular parts are important to you.

    Keeping Your Sanity

    1. Go for Daily Walks by Yourself – Spend time every day unwinding and gathering your thoughts. The exercise will also do you good.
    2. Isolate Yourself While Working – Close the door to your room, find an empty carrel in the library or work at a coffee shop away from school. Pick a place where your friends cannot find you in order to eliminate those distractions which keep you from getting your work done. However, when you work hard, you should also…
    3. Socialize Often – Find groups, or people, with similar interests and make it a point to get together during the week. Spending time with friends will help prevent burnout. Just make sure to hang out during your down time and not when you should be working, or in class.

    The important thing to keep in mind is that you strike a work/life balance. This means focusing on school when it’s needed and focusing on life when it comes charging your way. Both will knock you down, but taking time to build good habits will help you deal with almost anything that comes your way.

    Further Reading

    For the ambitious, I found the following books to be invaluable resources to both my educational and professional career.

    Advertising

    Good luck to you this year!

    (Photo credit: Education Book on Table in Library via Shutterstock)

    More by this author

    15 Habits to Develop for Back to School How I Turned Magic into a Hobby That Makes Easy Money How to Get Work Done Quickly by Not Being Perfect What Children Can Teach Us About Creativity 6 Secrets of Bad Presentations (and How to Avoid Them)

    Trending in Lifestyle

    1 How to Get the Best Deep Sleep (And Why It’s Important) 2 How to Practice Meditation for Anxiety and Stress Relief 3 How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators 4 12 Sad Things That You Should Learn to Be Grateful For Instead 5 7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on September 16, 2019

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

    We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

    The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

    Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

    1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

    Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

    For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

    Advertising

    • (1) Research
    • (2) Deciding the topic
    • (3) Creating the outline
    • (4) Drafting the content
    • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
    • (6) Revision
    • (7) etc.

    Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

    2. Change Your Environment

    Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

    One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

    3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

    Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

    Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

    My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

    Advertising

    Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

    If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

    Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

    I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

    5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

    I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

    Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

    Advertising

    As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

    6. Get a Buddy

    Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

    I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

    7. Tell Others About Your Goals

    This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

    For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

    8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

    What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

    Advertising

    9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

    If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

    Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

    10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

    Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

    Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

    11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

    At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

    Reality check:

    I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

    More About Procrastination

    Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

    Read Next