For most of us, school has started; meaning all kinds of homework and projects are makin’ their way down town. And not just school work, but our own side projects too are in the balance. Depending on your work load, these things may become overwhelming, and at times impossible to finish. And at their worst, they can cause breakdowns and stress related health problems. When I was in my first year of highschool, I took all the honors classes (honors geometry, civics, physical science, and english- fun times), thinking it would be just like middle school where said classes were no different in difficulty for me. I, soon learned otherwise when this menacing pile of homework and projects and tests suddenly loomed on me from out of freaking nowhere and I didn’t know how to handle them.
For me, that was a huge unexpected load, and I didn’t always get everything done. But I got a lot more done through prioritizing, a skill I had to learn to practically keep my head above water. And even if you’re cruising on the highway with no stress in the world, prioritizing can easily help with general productivity too! (and a good technique to hone before things get crazy). Here are methods I use to figuring out what goes on my to-do list:
List out everything you gotta do. Doesn’t have to be in a certain order, just everything that comes to mind. Homework, chores, studying, projects, your projects, etc. Not only does this relieve some stress by getting all of these weighing tasks onto paper, but it’ll make prioritizing each item easier when its out in front of us, and so we don’t forget anything.
Write down when each item is due. For studying, when’s your test gonna be? Is this homework assignment due tomorrow? Deadline for this project? If your assignment or perhaps side project doesn’t have a strict deadline, give an estimate of when it probably should be done or when you’d like them done (such as a general month, week, or give yourself your own specific deadline, etc)
Which items are more hefty toward your grade? Generally small worksheets and daily homework assignments aren’t worth as much, but tests and projects and packets are. Depending on your school’s grading system, these things could vary, but the point is to write down which things will affect your grade most. Unfortunately, your outside-of-school-side-projects may have to be put on the side burner here, as those don’t typically influence your school grade. (Doesn’t mean you can’t work on them! Just they don’t count in this category)
Which assignments are going to be more strenuous/harder for you? Sure, I have a biology test tomorrow, but that stuff comes to me like the back of my hand, and I never really have to study for those. Now, my history homework on the other hand, doesn’t come as easy, and that’ll help in the long run for my test. It’s best to put the harder stuff before the easy stuff on your to-do list, so you can work on it while you got brain power, and then have less strenuous work afterwards when your brain is but a confused mush of nonsensical philosophy.
Finally, which assignments are most important? Combine when the assignment is due, how grade-worthy it is, and which ones are harder for you. These will be your determining factors as to what needs to get done first. Yeah, that daily worksheet for Spanish is due tomorrow- but it’s a formative assignment and in the long run, isn’t this summative project for English worth a lot more? And this test for science? True, this means you may not get every single assignment done. But that was never the goal in the first place; the goal is to get the most done in terms of importance and the long term. Sometimes you gotta make sacrifices when there’s too much to do. And that’s ok.
However, prioritizing is not a cure all solution, and sometimes other steps such as sacrificing projects and classes (that you can safely drop) may be in order. We’re human and sometimes we simply can’t do everything we want to or feel we need to. It all depends on your situation, but in the mean time, prioritizing can at least help keep you from tumbling over, and keep you more productive when you need it most.
None the less, I hope you all are doing alright with your classes/projects/life so far, and that at least some of these tips helped ease the stress a little. And always remember you are worth more than your productivity and that you're doing your best, and no one could ask any more of you :)
Writing and Drawing done by Katharine