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“How I maintained my after school routine (without crashing)” – Advice from a high achiever

By Danielle Barakat on 3 March 2020NSWblogUKblogMotivationStudy tips

It’s tough isn’t it, doing a 6-hour school day only to come home to a mountain of homework, assessments and study to do? It seems almost impossible to get through it all without crashing. Well, I am here to tell you that it is not impossible (ahh double negative…). In other words, it is possible to get through your afternoon without crashing.

But how do you do it?

Well, we spoke to one of our high achievers, and here’s what she had to say:

‘It’s all about routine.

Your after school routine sets the pace for the rest of the term and year, but in saying this, it’s also something that shouldn’t be exactly the same throughout the entire year. It’s important to develop patterns of behaviour that work for you, and once you do they will become the building blocks to developing your after school routine. Everyone is different, so what you do might not be the same as your mates, and that’s okay.

There a couple of important things I like to consider when trying to work out the best way to go about my afternoon. First thing’s first, it’s important to discover what time you work best, for some people that’s really early in the afternoon, as soon as they get home from school but for others, it’s late at night. Personally, I was always a mid-afternoon studier. So for me, I would get home from school at 4:30 pm and have dinner straight away. By having dinner early, not only did I get it out of the way, but it also stopped me from using snacking as a way to procrastinate for the next 3 hours until dinner. I also enjoyed having a break when I got home from school because I needed my brain to rest before I jumped back into studying - and eating was a great way to do that. The added benefit was that I could fit in an episode of my favourite TV show at the same time, without the guilt.

After I finished dinner at around 5:15 pm, I had the whole afternoon to dive into studying, which worked well for me because I was rested, had a full stomach, had energy and worked best at that time. I then found myself usually taking another break at around 7:30. This is because my study routine was 2 hours on, and 30 mins off. In my 30-40min break, I’d go sit with my family, chat about their days, watch some tv, sit on my phone - do pretty much anything that would stop me from thinking about studying.

Depending on my workload that night, I was able to decide how many more hours of studying to do. If I was coming up to exams, I’d spend the next two hours finalising my notes and doing practise questions and past papers. Or if I had assignments, I’d spend some time working on those instead. I usually tried to limit my study to only one major project per night, focusing on 3 different assignments from 3 different subjects used to make me exhausted. I would recommend giving that a go, you’ll find you’re able to focus better and get bigger chunks of your work done, rather than just a sentence or two here and there.

Finding that after school routine is not rocket science, it’s just about finding the method that suits you best. For me, that break after school was crucial to my concentration. But if you find that you would rather come home from school and get straight into studying because you know that once you take a break you’ll never get back up, then do that. And then you can have a break for dinner, or even work right through and then stop studying altogether at 8 pm.

It’s really up to you, just remember the following tips:

  1. Use the time when you know you’re most focused to do your big chunks of studying,
  2. If you’re too tired, take a break and continue tomorrow,
  3. Make sure you have a good dinner,
  4. Take breaks by talking to your family/friends or doing something that doesn’t involve studying,
  5. Let your brain rest and get a good night’s sleep.

They’re my tips for after school success. I hope that gives you some ideas about your routine and helps keep you from crashing. Good luck 😊.’

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