Deadlines. Extracurriculars. Family commitments. College applications. These are the responsibilities, to name a few, that high school students must attend to on a daily basis. But, with such little time in the 24-hour day, how can we be expected to maintain our sanity and still have time for the activities that we truly enjoy?
While the high school experience may seem stressful most of the time, we must remain calm and focus on our priorities in order to find the perfect balance. All teenagers need social interaction and stimulation, whether it be in the form of a sport or devoting time to watching a movie with friends.
Finding this balance may be difficult, but if we understand that school work should not overtake our lives, then we can find time for our favorite activities, like baking, swimming, or even coloring!
Like many of you, I too, have struggled with finding time for my academic commitments as well as my social outings. However, once I learned to focus on myself, I realized that I was prioritizing school over my mental health, thereby limiting the time I had to truly have fun. In order to help you navigate this balance, I recommend three key factors that will maximize your time and provide you with a healthy, much fun.
At the beginning of each week, create a schedule, whether it be on your phone, on paper, in an agenda, etc. As you do so, place your priorities--your biggest tasks and assignments and your nearest deadlines--so that you focus on accomplishing these goals first and foremost. Taking the time to create a schedule is productive, as you will be able to have a written or typed reminder to avoid procrastination.
As you go through the week, make sure to mark off (or check off) each item that you complete. This organized structure will provide you with the incentive to act in the present and avoid falling into the trap of “I will do this assignment later.”
Once I started creating a schedule on the Notes App of my phone, I was always reminded to finish the harder, more unbearable assignments first, therefore leaving more time to focus on myself and catch up on Gilmore Girls!
By setting a schedule, you will have your week outlined for you, and because you will be reminded to complete your goals and check off each item, time will not be as significant of a factor.
Although you may feel overwhelmed at some points, you must remember that you are capable and powerful. But, you must treat yourself as such. In order to actualize your potential, you should firstly, follow your schedule (outlined above) so that you can maximize your time. By using your time wisely, you will be able to receive the appropriate amount of hours of sleep necessary to function. Sleep, in many cases, is often neglected, but we, as a society of growing teenagers, must not ignore the health and mental benefits that sleep provides us with. With a good night’s sleep, your mind will be fully awake and alert to operate for the day, thus allowing you to tackle those pesky tasks at the top of the schedule/to-do list.
In accordance with sleep, you must also maintain a balanced diet and exercise routine. As different regiments work for different people, follow what is best for you. Some may prefer foods that are low in carbs, while others may need more carbs. Exercise, moreover, can be useful in any form: walking, going to the gym, meditating, etc. While you can choose which method you prefer, exercise of any kind is important for freeing your mind and providing you with the energy to think and move.
Taking care of yourself will allow you to see the best version of yourself. You are happiest when your body and mind are healthy! So, show yourself some love--you will feel more powerful and rejuvenated. This, then, will allow you to accomplish more (and perhaps at a quicker rate), thus giving you the ability to balance your responsibilities in an easier fashion.
In this sense, as you work more efficiently, you give yourself the time to do what you love. Your social life will be more attainable because you are reducing your stress by maximizing your potential.
As you are working on a paper for your Government Class, you should not be FaceTiming your friend about the latest gossip. In order words, separate fun from work and focus on finishing and tackling all academic assignments before you partake in enjoyable activities.
While you may feel tempted to talk to your friends or watch the latest Netflix show, you must realize that procrastination will eventually catch up with you. Then, you will have to spend hours the day before an assignment is due to finish, thereby wasting the free time that you would have had to talk to your friends. In accordance with suggestion one (listed above), tackle your assignments first and resist any distractions.
This will provide you with more free time, specifically over the weekends, to do what you love without the extra burden of unfinished schoolwork, homework, and studying.
Overall, remember to remain calm and prioritize your health. As a high school student, interaction and stimulation from friends is necessary to help your development. So, school assignments should not stop you from having the fun you desire!