Your physical health is critical to both time management and achieving success in high school or college. If you are sick, run down, or injured, you are simply not going to be able to do your best compared to what you could do if you were still healthy. You are the only person who can take care of your health, and while unavoidable accidents do happen, you can certainly take precautions to minimize the chances of something happening to you. Your health is important to your getting a good education. In fact, in the long run, it is even more precious than your education, so take care to stay healthy. Do not worry; there is no need to turn into a health food fanatic and start living on soy milk and sprout sandwiches.
You should, however, avoid living on a diet of junk food. This can be difficult to do in high school and college, as burgers, fries, and pizza are cheap, and you can get them everywhere. It might take some effort to eat a balanced diet, but it is worth it, both in the short and long term. Most high school and college cafeterias offer a selection of healthier fare, such as salads and grilled or steamed vegetables, and these should play a big part in your daily food intake.
Binge drinking should be avoided at all costs, as it takes a tremendous toll on your body. The same goes for all street drugs; avoid them. Regularly consuming energy drinks is also a bad idea, as these are loaded with powerful stimulants. Many students drink several a day to stay alert and then have to pop an over-the-counter sleeping pill to fall asleep, which is another bad habit. Getting six to eight hours of sleep every night is important if you are going to do well in school, but a full night’s sleep should come naturally, not from taking sleeping pills.
The best way to fight insomnia is to exercise every day (preferably in the morning), avoid caffeine and energy drinks as much as possible, and go to bed and get up at the same times every day as much as possible. If you are well rested, you will not need Red Bull or Mountain Dew to concentrate on your studies, and if you do not pump yourself full of those drinks all day, you will fall asleep much easier. You may think that staying healthy has little to do with time management and doing well in school, but that is not correct. The healthier you are, the more you will learn and retain, and the better grades you will get, everything else being equal. So eat right, exercise, get a good night’s sleep, and avoid using drinks or pills to get up or down. You will be glad you did.
Take Frequent, Short Breaks While Studying
In order to maximize your efficiency while studying, it is best to take frequent, but short, breaks from time to time. By short, we mean no more than five minutes an hour, or 15 minutes every couple of hours. When it comes to any form of work, even intellectual work, it is been repeatedly proven that it is more productive for a person to take breaks from time to time than to work for several hours uninterrupted. Every workplace in the country has regular breaks for their workers every few hours, and there is a reason for it. It took industry a while to catch on in the early days of the Industrial Revolution that workers get more done in a day when they are allowed to take breaks, but now it is beyond dispute. Any workplace that would not allow workers to take occasional breaks these days would be called a sweat shop.
If this principle works for big business, it can work for you, too. Do not try to overdo it and bury your nose in your calculus textbook for four hours straight. You may feel like you are being extremely diligent, and you may be proud of yourself for not “goofing off,” but in the long run you will learn more-and do it in less time-if you close the book and walk away for five or ten minutes. Some people like to set a timer or alarm to go off at the same time every hour for a five-minute break. Others find that it works better for them to schedule a break every two hours or every 90 minutes, and they make their breaks a bit longer than five minutes. Experiment to see what works best for you.
It is important to keep in mind that you will need to be strict about adhering to your five or ten minute time limit. Therefore, it is best to focus your break on getting away from your studies for a brief time and not on starting something else. Do something simple but relaxing, such as getting up and sitting in your easy chair or stretching out on your bed. Listen to a song on your mp3 player. Take a quick walk around your dorm or block. The point is to be refreshed at the end of five or ten minutes, not preoccupied with something else. Therefore, it is best if you avoid things like checking your email or logging onto Facebook. As we all know, just “a couple of minutes” has a way of turning into an hour before you know it. So, take short, frequent breaks when you are studying, but do not use break time to start something that can get you off track.
Schedule Fun and Relaxation to Prevent Burnout
As you read through the time management articles on this site, you will see a lot of very effective tips for using your time more wisely to achieve success in high school or college. At first glance, a cursory reading might give you the impression that if you follow these tips, your life will be nothing but hard work, with your nose to the grindstone every waking moment. Thankfully, however, that is far from the case. We strongly recommend that you socialize and have fun on a regular basis. In addition to preventing burnout, finding time to relax and have fun leads to a happy and well-rounded life. While high school or college must be your number one priority, it should never be the only thing you focus on.
Ideally, most of your fun activities and events should be on the weekends. That lets you stay focused on your studies Monday through Friday, while giving you a reward to shoot for by keeping up with your studies so that you will be free on the weekends. However, you also need to relax and have fun for a little while every day, or school will quickly become tiresome. Your classes and study time should be your first priority, along with work if you have a job, but you should try to get in some relaxation every day. Whether it is just shooting hoops, hanging out in a friend’s dorm, or playing a video game without a care in the world, you should do something every day to take your mind off of your studies for a short time.
You will want to schedule time for recreation on your planners and calendars, too. Time for relaxation and fun should not be a big part of your daily schedule, but it is an important part of it and should be penciled in. While you should be receptive to spontaneous activities, these should be much less common than your scheduled ones, and they should be indulged in only when you are ahead of class requirements in all of your subjects. That is one of the great things about effective time management; it gives you the freedom and flexibility to do whatever you feel like doing every now and then without having to worry about falling behind. Definitely make time for fun and relaxation. Save the big stuff for weekends, have a little bit of fun every day, and stay ahead on your studies so that you can occasionally be spontaneous. Follow this plan, and you will do well at school and avoid burnout.