Posts Tagged "study buddy"

Getting Back in the Game (Part II) | 5 Recovery Plan Ideas

Dear Kid,

It can be surprisingly easy to lose focus, not only when you’re listening to Great Uncle Bubba tell that same fishing story again, but in class (zzzzz), in a sporting event (Super Bowl anyone?), in life.

Put me in Coach! I'm ready to play! DearKidLoveMom.comSometimes getting back in the game isn’t too hard. A friend Gibbs-slaps you on the back of the head, wham, you’re not sleeping in class any more. Longer term, you vow to get to bed at a reasonable (ish) hour. Then you get together with that slap-happy friend and compare notes so you’re sure you didn’t miss anything. Poof, you’re caught up.

Sometimes it’s a little harder. You know you’re behind in studying, you know you should get to work, you know it’s important, and yet there you are, staring intently at the ceiling wondering why you still haven’t opened a book.

Five Tips for Getting Back in the Game

Here are five tips for building a recovery plan.

Move around

It is very hard to get working when you’re staring at the ceiling. Or the TV. Or the inside of your eyelids. If you’re having a really hard time getting started, start by moving around. Maybe take a quick walk around the building or over to the library. Certainly, sit up and find an active sitting position (at your desk is a good idea).

Set little goals

Studying huge amounts is daunting at best and can be overwhelming. Don’t tell yourself you have to learn three chapters of Bio in one evening. Instead, tell yourself you need to read one section in the next half hour. Easy peasy. Reward yourself with a quick text to your mother. Then set the next little goal. You’ll be cruising through the material without realizing how much there is.

Have an accountability partner

Once you get past the ickiness of the buzzphrase, you’ll discover you’re already doing this. Having a workout buddy or being part of a review group are good ways to be sure you’ll get the work (or workout) done. Another way is to agree to text a friend when you’re about to start your homework and agree to meet for a coffee when you’re done. Or just to text. Or whatever.

The point is we’re more likely to get something useful accomplished if someone else knows we’re going to do it and will probably ask if we’ve gotten it done.

Give something up

There seems to be a feeling today that one (and by “one” I mean “students in general”) should be able to have it all and do it all. Um, hate to be the one to tell you, but nothing could be further from the truth. Sometimes we have to make choices and give up something in order to have something else. You may have to skip the basketball game. You may have to shorten your workout to only 2 hours. You may have to get up half an hour earlier. You may have to wait until reruns to watch the next episode of How I Met Your Mother. You may have to shorten your shower to under 10 minutes. None of these things will kill you. (FACT: It is perfectly possible to get thoroughly clean in a short shower.)

The point is we only have 24 hours a day. You might not always be able to fit in everything you want to do. It can be really hard to make the right choice, but make the right choice anyway.

Remove the distractions

I am the queen of liking to work with the TV on. But I also know if I really have to concentrate, really need to pound through a bunch of stuff (rather than writing 6 words an hour), I need to turn off the TV, turn off the music, remove myself from cuddling with the puppy, and just Get to Work. Dull, Boring, and Highly Effective.

There are two important keys to a Recovery Plan.

  1. Plan. Once you’ve started to slip behind it can be very difficult to get yourself going. Have a plan for how you’re going to recover if you start to slide. Create your plan while you still feel in control of your situation. Write it down. Hopefully you won’t need it, but if you do it will be there.
  2. Do Something. Do anything. But get started. You know the saying “Even if you do a short workout, you’re still lapping the people sitting on the couch?” Same idea. Just get started. Get off the bench and get back in the game.

What other tips and tricks do you have for getting back on track if you’ve slipped a little?

Love, Mom

P.S. Stay safe—We’re supposed to be getting more winter weather.

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Five Tips for Reaching Your Goals | Deciding is Different Than Doing

Deciding is different than doing dearkidlovemom.comDear Kid,

Five frogs are sitting on a log. Four decide to jump off. How many are left? Five, because deciding is different than doing.

It’s easy to decide we’re going to do something. It’s even easy to say we’re going to do it and really believe we’re committed. We can decide to start eating better—until we get a whiff of pizza at lunch. We can decide to work out daily—only to postpone a trip to the gym when other commitments get in the way. We can say we’re going to start saving money—only to “invest” in the latest iPhone rather than a savings account.

It’s easy to decide all those things. It’s easy to say all those things. It’s easy to really, truly, seriously, for realz mean it. But committing, really following through, really doing what we say we’re going to do is often not nearly as easy.

Here are five tried and true tips for reaching your goals.

Tell someone. The fancy term is having an accountability partner. Just as it’s harder to skip the gym if you’re meeting a workout buddy there, if someone knows you’ve committed to a goal—and checks in with you on a regular basis about it—you’re less likely to find an excuse to slack off. Note: Your accountability partner should probably not be your mother.

Keep track. Whether it’s an app to help you track workouts, an excel spreadsheet to track your savings goals, or a hand-written chart showing how many pages you have to study to get through all the material before finals, having a chart is a visible way to see your progress. Because it’s right there in front of you, it can be a not-so-gentle nudge to get studying—and a great reminder of all you’ve done so far.

Ask for help. We all have our strengths and not-so-strengths. For example, some of us are hilarious while others of us can kick a football directly through the uprights in snow and rain and heat and gloom of night flickering lights (extra points if you get the reference). If you need help memorizing French verbs, find someone who can help with that in exchange for learning computer programming (trade), money (tutoring), or an introduction to that girl down the hall (matchmaking).

Set small deadlines. If you have to memorize War and Peace before next Monday, set small goals and deadlines to get the work done. Don’t try to learn the entire thing at once. Determine how much you have to learn (a lot), how much time you have to learn it (not much), and what other obligations may take up time (eating, sleeping, going to class). Then allocate the workload: 10 pages before dinner, 15 pages by 8pm, 12 more pages by 11pm, review all before bed. By reaching your small deadlines you can be sure you’re on track to get all the work done. (When you are in the workforce you’ll do the same thing and call it Project Management.)

Reward yourself. Figure out what will motivate you and use it as a reward for doing something that is difficult. Did you go for a workout when you really, Really, REALLY didn’t want to go? Treat yourself to a new mascara or a new song for your iPod. Did you outline 10 pages of history when you would rather have poked your eyes out? Take an hour and go for a run. Did you memorize 22 formulas for chemistry? Hmmm, that deserves a big reward…call your mother (could there possibly be a better reward?)!

Most importantly, don’t give up. Remind yourself how important your goal is and keep working toward it. You CAN do it.

Love, Mom

An inscription on the James Farley Post Office in New York City reads:

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

This is not the creed of the USPS as they don’t have one. It is a translation (by Professor George Herbert Palmer of Harvard University) of Herodotus (a Greek dude known for being the correct answer to difficult questions) describing the Persian system of mounted postal carriers ca. 500 B.C.E.

ca. is the abbreviation for circa which is Latin for “about” or “approximately.”

BCE stands for Before the Common Era, which means counting backwards from what we generally refer to as Year 0. One has to wonder how people back then knew to count backwards. Do you think they worried about getting to Year 0 they way we worried about Y2K? Oh, wait. You were a baby then and didn’t care.

But you probably knew all that.

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