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Juliette’s Declassified School Survival Guide: November

Beating procrastination made easier by changes in routine

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Juliette’s Declassified School Survival Guide: November

Photo Illustration by Emma Trussell

Photo Illustration by Emma Trussell

Photo Illustration by Emma Trussell

by Juliette Roberts, Copy Editor

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While taking a P.E. class over the summerof course, it was mandatorymy teacher gave the class some advice that stuck with me: it’s harder to force yourself to begin a routine than it is to keep it. He meant this in the context of exercise, but it applies to all areas of life, especially to study habits.

For those without after-school activities, the final bell rings the sound of freedom. Naturally, it’s hard to voluntarily give up that freedom for the homework that still needs to get done.

There are some days where I can go home and relax for an hour or two and then pick up the textbook with ease, but these days are pretty uncommon. For some, it might be easy to start chipping away at that workload. For others, starting the first assignment can feel like trying to run underwater.

Like my teacher said, the beginning is the hardest part, but there are ways to catalyze it so that the ball can get rolling.

A change in scenery can be the best or the worst thing for motivation. In some ways, it’s easier to study in a public place, like a park or a coffee shop, than it is at home. In a different setting you’re more unlikely to get too comfortable and fall asleep, but sometimes the new environment is distracting and can make it hard to concentrate.

The best solution is to walk in ready to hit the books. Motivation isn’t exactly something you can turn off and on at will, so the most opportune time to do this is after school before the school mindset wears off. There’re a variety of places nearby such as Sucre, Cafe Bohemia, Lite Wok and a fair share of Starbucks’ in driving or walking distance. Order yourself a not-too-caffeinated drink and a small snack and break open the textbook. If you can’t drive yourself or don’t want to walk, going to the library after school is still a great place to work that’s easily accessible and functions as a similar break in routine.

Going someplace else after school isn’t always possible, though. If you take the bus or somebody drives you back from school, starting homework as soon as you get home serves as an effective solution to procrastination. It’s the only way to avoid getting relaxed too quickly and falling into that vicious cycle of saving things for later. Even if it’s just a quick worksheet or something easy you can get out of the way in a few minutes, any little bit will make the rest of the work much easier.

Unfortunately, procrastination continues to be a powerful enemy to conquer, similar to a final boss that can regenerate itself no matter what attacks you use. Promising yourself that you’ll work as soon as you get home is very different from actually keeping that commitment, especially if you promise ‘I’m going to study when I get home’ without specifying exactly what you’re going to study. Scheduling specific tasks can remove the ambiguity from that promise and, by breaking the work up into manageable bites, make it less intimidating.

Studies have proven the benefits of scheduling. Three GAP stores conducted a study in which they gave employees a more stable work schedule two weeks in advance. They saw a seven percent increase in sales, which may not sound like a lot, but the study specifies that stores in the same industry often struggle to make a one or two percent difference. They also observed a five percent increase in labor productivity.

Before you get home, there’s nothing you can do but make the promise to be responsible, but scheduling exactly what you’re going to first, second, third, etc, is a much stronger promise.

Other people claim that to-do lists and schedules are actually harmful to productivity. Not everybody’s mind works the same way; people who appreciate organization or need it to stay on track will most likely benefit from a strict approach to studying, but not everybody thrives with this method. To make matters worse, I still find myself reluctant to start working, even with a schedule. There are no foolproof study tips, but experimenting to find what helps you, whether it be organization or a refreshing break in routine, will guide you to the study plan that works for you.

About the Writer
Juliette Roberts, Copy Editor

Juliette Roberts is spending her second year on the Panther Prints staff as one half of the copy-editing team. She enjoyed learning the ins and outs of...

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