Handling Your Homework: Time Saving Tips
Overwhelmed with homework? Can’t seem to stay on top of it all? We know the feeling. At times, it can feel difficult, or perhaps even impossible, to tackle all of your homework, deadlines, assignments, and studying. After all, you’re probably participating in multiple extracurriculars, working, volunteering, and taking care of family responsibilities. You might even be worrying about applying to college. So how can you learn to handle all of your homework while remaining sane?
By setting good studying habits now, you will be setting yourself up to become a better student in the future. There’s no better time to begin improving yourself as a student than right now—you’ll also give yourself a fresh start for college and beyond. Keep reading for tips and tricks on how to finally get a handle on all your homework!
Create a study space
It can be difficult — or even impossible—to study if the environment in which you are studying is distracting you. If you try to do your homework in your bedroom or at a friend’s house, you might find it impossible to focus. After all, who wouldn’t be distracted in these scenarios?
Instead of doing your homework on your laptop while lying in bed, try sitting up at a desk in a quiet room. Be sure you have all the supplies that you need, like pencils, pens, paper, your school worksheets, a calculator, and a ruler. You don’t need to create a ridiculously high-tech study room, this just needs to be a place that will help you feel productive and that won’t distract you.
Be sure to eat a healthy snack before you do your homework so that you don’t get distracted by your grumbling stomach. Consider eating something that isn’t too sugary or fatty, rather, you should eat something with protein or with fruits and vegetables that will give you lots of energy over a longer period of time.
If you don’t have a sufficient study space at home, consider visiting a local library or coffee shop to do your work. These spaces will usually be filled with other people who are doing work as well, which can be a useful motivational tool!
It’s always a good idea to take a moment to think about your deadlines and the time commitment that is required for each of your assignments. Try to tackle the biggest and most strenuous assignments first, keeping in mind the due dates for each.
Remember to be realistic. For instance, if you have a 10 page paper due on Friday, don’t wait until Thursday night to start writing it. Instead, you should make a plan to tackle approximately 3 or 4 pages of your per day, which means that you should start on Sunday or Monday. Be sure to also leave a buffer day so that you can edit your paper, proofread it and cite your sources!
Your plans for completing your homework might vary based on your ability and/or level of familiarity with the subject or assignment. This is totally ok, and the more familiar you are with your own abilities, the better! Whatever you do, just make sure that you don’t end up lying to yourself about deadlines. Don’t tell yourself that you can slack off and tackle a ridiculous workload at the last minute—you can’t!
In terms of planning, it might also help you to make a schedule, a google calendar, a to do list or a weekly plan. Many people like being able to see the amount of free time they have available laid out visually so that they can plan when they will get all of their homework done!
Develop a routine
Developing a routine can help you become more effective at doing your homework. Try to do your homework at the same time each day, or at a similar time each week. Devote a certain amount of hours to a certain assignment that you have, and stick to this amount of time.
Forming a routine will help you build good habits, and it will also help you get into the routine of reviewing the new information that you learned in your classes each day!
It is much easier to break off little pieces of your assignments and do them over time rather than cramming them in at the last minute. The same thing goes with studying; if you develop a routine, then you will end up retaining more information, whereas cramming at the last minute will make it much more difficult for you to remember anything!
Learn your own learning style
Everyone learns a little bit differently, and it’s important that you get to know yourself and your own learning style: are you a visual learner? Auditory? Kinesthetic? A mixture?
You can try finding out which type of learner you are through online quizzes, or perhaps you’ve already determined what type you are in school. You might also figure it out through trial and error—perhaps flashcards don’t help you retain important information, but writing an outline of the chapter or unit in your textbook does. Don’t be afraid to try out new methods of studying; you never know what will work for you!
Try to determine the circumstances under which you study best: in the library? At your desk? At the kitchen table? Do you work well under pressure, or do you prefer to finish your assignments well before the deadline? Do you study more effectively late at night, or early in the morning? Take note of your own tendencies, and again, don’t be afraid to experiment and try out new methods.
Understanding the best ways in which you can learn will also be a great head start for college—just remember to be patient and kind to yourself throughout this process of discovery.
Ask for help
If you’re really stuck on a certain assignment, try asking for help from someone you trust: a friend, a classmate, an older sibling, a parent…
If you’re still stuck even after receiving help from your loved ones, consider asking your teacher for help. You might even consider staying to talk to your teacher after school to make sure you really understand the assignment! After all, learning your limitations and figuring out who to turn to when you’re stuck is another really wonderful step to take before starting college!
It doesn’t matter who you are, no one is able to study or do homework effectively for 12 hours straight. The average human attention span is around 30 minutes, so if you feel yourself starting to get distracted, don’t hesitate to get up from your seat and take a quick break!
Try going for a jog, making yourself a healthy snack, practicing playing an instrument, sending a text to a friend—just be sure to get back to work once you’re done!
If you find that you’re going to have to work for a particularly long period of time, be sure to take breaks periodically and set up rewards for yourself. Use these rewards to motivate yourself to focus your full attention on the task at hand up until your next break. For instance, you might say to yourself, “if I study calc for 3 hours, then I can take a 30 minute break by watching an episode of my favorite tv show….” There’s nothing wrong with rewarding yourself as long as you use these breaks to keep yourself motivated and focused.
Having a lot of homework can feel difficult and overwhelming, but you can use these feelings to motivate yourself. Getting a handle on this workload will also help you prepare for college!
Overall, the more you are able to understand yourself and your study habits, the more successful you will be. Take the time to learn how to build yourself the perfect study space, how to motivate yourself, and how to work under circumstances that will allow you to be the most productive. Your bad habits can always be transformed into good habits, you just need to be willing to take that first step.
For more tips and information on studying, check out these blog posts:
10 Real World Study Tips to Improve Processing and Retention
How to Organize a High School Study Session
CollegeVine’s Top Six Study Tips for High School Students
5 Ways to Actively Learn During Class
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