I’ll show you what you can do, if:

  • there’s never a time when you’re not thinking about homework
  • your homework load is pretty manageable .. if you never try to do anything else
  • you don’t have time to be with your family and hang out with your friends.

Hack #1: Don’t do all your homework

Before you complain that not doing your assignments lowers your grades, your GPA, etc. please imagine the following…

In history lesson, your teacher made you transfer textbook definitions into your notebook. You haven’t looked at these for five days. How many can you recall? Three out of ten, or two, or one, or maybe none? But if you do so poorly who do you blame?

If you’re a bit like me, you rave about your lacking ability and make hasty generalisations. For example, you say “I can’t remember my history definitions. I have a horrible memory.” But it’s not your memory’s fault. It’s not even your fault.

We underperform in school because of redundant assignments which don’t encourage understanding and creating meaningful connections between ideas.These can be real time sinks, and (to make matters worse) teachers may not even realise that they are an obstacle to your education.

So, what can you do about it?

  • Muster up the courage to question the relevance of the work. (Great teachers should be able to clarify what skills you’ll learn from the assignment.)
  • Don’t do the work. If your teacher is uncooperative, or you’re afraid of asking them, this option may be for you. But be warned, you may need to sacrifice your grades.
  • Do the work anyway. This is only viable if you have an abundance of free time or if you want to ignore my better solutions (in which case it is easiest if you no longer visit my website). Don’t even consider this, if you’re working upwards of three hours a night on your homework. That could you make you mentally and physically unwell.

Hack #2: Fix a time for work and study

You could be struggling because you have too much homework (a sign that your courses are too demanding) or you don’t manage your time effectively ie. procrastinate.

Whichever of these applies, you can reduce your stress by setting aside a time that is non-negotiable for completing homework and revising on a regular basis.

For instance, at the beginning of the school year I found myself with an overwhelming load of homework: math problems, geography essays, spanish exercises, etc. But by scheduling a 30 minute slot to complete each assignment (creating time pressure) I worked faster and I could relax after dinner, rather than returning to my books.

Hack #3: Treat yourself to a movie night and Domino’s pizza

Consider the following…

You’ve spent the past three hours staring at your computer screen, frantically trying to complete your biology essay. But the right words wouldn’t come.

You could spend the next couple hours obsessing over what to write, but honestly, you’d probably be better off taking a break, and enjoying yourself, before returning to work with a fresh mind.

Giving yourself enough time to rest, and not letting your life revolve around school – or grades – has benefits that are twofold: one, your academic performance could improve; two, you’ll feel better about yourself.

To take action right now, call or text a friend and ask them to come to the cinema or share a Starbucks Chocolate Smoothie with you this week.

Starbucks Chocolate Smoothie
Chocolate Smoothie

And if you’re looking for more high-school stress relief articles, you might enjoy the following:

 

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