Anonymous Advice #1

Anonymous Advice #1

Toby S. '25, Writer, Anonymous Advice and Opinion

Procrastination, the bane of every student’s existence, runs rampant at Marin Academy. We all, at one time or another, have made a mad dash to submit an assignment on Canvas at 11:59 pm, praying the clock doesn’t strike twelve, spelling our doom. Recently, The 1600 asked some students what advice they would appreciate most from our staff and an overwhelming number of students had inquiries about methods to avoid procrastination. One student specifically asked,

“Hi 1600, I was wondering what kind of tips you have to not procrastinate and to manage your time much more efficiently.”

Thanks,

Anonymous Reader.

This is a fantastic question that I am sure many people have. Managing your time is one of the most important skills to learn in high school, and it can be the difference between turning all your assignments in on time without a care in the world or stressing right until the last minute. Thriving in school requires an immense amount of practice and is incredibly challenging, especially when you have a ton of work to get done. Luckily, I have four different tips that could potentially help this Anonymous Reader, as well as anyone else reading this.

#1 Just Start

The first tip may appear too obvious and basic, but I think that it is the most important skill to learn. When you begin to feel stressed about homework or other commitments, just start working, without worrying about the final product and how polished that thing is expected to become. Work can often seem more stressful and challenging than it actually is and once you have started, it might not actually be that bad.

#2 A Reward System

This is the perfect method to help you start (and continue) doing focused work. This reward system could mean setting a timer for 25 or 30 minutes where you would work nonstop and get some form of reward at the end of that time. A reward could be playing with a pet, watching a video, or checking social media. The most difficult aspect of this method is learning to go back to work after taking a short period of time off for that reward.

#3 Productivity Apps

These are a fantastic way to stop one of the primary perpetrators of procrastination: your phone. One app that could potentially help you is Forest. Forest is an app where you plant virtual trees and set a timer for how long you want the tree to grow. Once you start that timer, you can’t do anything else on your phone—or else that tree will die. Likewise, you can set a break timer in between different work timers: perhaps a 25-minute focus timer and then a 5-minute break. If you have tried this type of app and it doesn’t work, and you still constantly get distracted by your phone or computer, you can use Screen Time (a built-in function on most smartphones) to temporarily block the most problematic apps during your work time.

#4 Breaks

My fourth and final tip is to figure out when you, personally, do your best work and don’t force it if it’s simply not the best time. Oftentimes if you are doing work and don’t want to continue, consider taking a five-to-ten minute break using a timer. As soon as that timer is over, immediately start working again.

Overall, there are an infinite amount of strategies to improve time management and productivity—you just have to practice and commit to a plan. If you can master time management, high school will be ten times easier and ten times less stressful. If you work towards that goal, you’ll be rewarded later on.