Counseling and Neurofeedback
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Board-Certifed in Neurofeedback

Swamped with Homework? 3 Ways to Manage Study Time

manage study time for high schoolLearning to manage study time can be a challenge, especially in high school. That’s when students usually have the most structure and the least free time.It can be especially tricky on days when you’re loaded with homework.Some students jump right into homework, thinking they don’t have time for a break. For other students, the break goes on for much too long.

Learning to Manage Study Time

If you’re like most high school students, you might be surprised to learn that making sure you have downtime helps you manage study time. Downtime helps you focus.

Let me explain. When you balance work and taking breaks in just the right way, you can finish much more than you imagine in a much shorter period of time.

For some students it’s hard to start focusing on homework, and for others it’s hard to slow down (and take a break) once you get going. There’s momentum, kind of like when you’re in a freight train. However, it’s learnable.

Here are three foolproof ways to manage study time — and cut the time you spend doing homework in half.

1. Decide When You Will Study and Stick to It

Decisions take energy, and the more decisions you can make before you start, the easier it will be to manage study time.

First, choose a time. Then get started right away (after a snack), or choose a specific time later in the afternoon. The key is to be clear:  “4:15 p.m.” or “as soon as we clear the dinner table”.

Next, make sure this time is distraction-free — away from siblings, TVs, Whatsapp or people who might drop in and ask you about your plans for the weekend.

Multitasking feels efficient, but studies show that multitasking doesn’t work. Students who multitask regularly have a harder time focusing than students who don’t.

Set up your study area at a desk or table in your room, or in another quiet room in the house. Another option is to do most of your homework during free periods at school, or at the library right after school.

The key is to focus on one thing at a time. This might feel odd at first if you’re not used to it, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can cross assignments off your to-do list.

2. Make Up-front Homework Decisions in 3 Minutes 

Work with your brain rather than against it. Do the heavy lifting shortly after you get home and make all your decisions at once, and while you are still on top of things.

Decide what homework you want to do first, your strategy of completing the assignment, and your goal for the night on each project — and of course when to start.

Once, you’ve created your game plan to manage study time, do something rejuvenating, like eating, talking with friends, or just hanging out.

3. Try the 30 Minute Rule — and Take Breaks

Manage Study Skills High School 3

The key to getting things done is to start. This sounds simple, but it’s also amazingly effective.

Write one sentence. Do one math problem. Read one paragraph.

Once you do even 30 seconds worth of work, you’ll probably want to keep going.

Focus on one thing hardcore for 25 minutes. No distractions. No breaks. That’s where the momentum comes in.

But then instead of barreling through for the rest of the evening, give your brain a 5 minute rest stop. You can ask someone to let you know when the time is up, or you might want to use an online timer like this one.

Then have at it again.

Take a longer break after two or three rounds of focused study time (if you’re not already finished for the night).

Manage study time…and have more free time!

Decisions and breaks are the key to getting things done. The strategies above have helped many of my clients cut their study time in half.

Getting homework done efficiently has little to do with how smart you are. It has more to do with staying organized and learning to manage study time.

You simply need a game plan, some follow-through power, and perhaps a little support. As with a freight train, there’ll be no stopping you.