It’s the beginning of a new school year which, if you’re anything like me, is kind of a time to make ‘New Year’s Resolutions’. I mean, everyone breaks theirs by the end of January, normally – starting in September means you automatically got further than they did. Plus, it’s a more practical time to make a fresh start if you’re going to a new school or college or simply reinventing yourself with different teachers or students.
As I’m now in sixth form, studying for A Levels, I decided I needed to get a move on and be a little bit more productive throughout the coming year. Balancing my extra-curricular activities with actual studying is always a bit of a circus act, and I’m determined to make the most of it.
Here are a few techniques I suggest you employ.
Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for the loss of productivity or sanity in the process of following these steps. I never claimed that they worked, nor do I have any money if you should decide to sue me.
Make a Tumblr account.
I mean, this is definitely a way to be more productive. You’ll be looking at gifs and images and the colours will stimulate your brain! Plus, you can always track the tags of the books you’re studying in English Literature. I’m currently tracking the Hamlet tag and hoping that Tumblr teaches me to quote it as well as I can quote the Avengers.
[Sad but true – the Hamlet tag updates faster than the Good Omens tag. Fandom, I ashamed of you.]
Prioritise your writing time.
Schoolwork is important but in the long term, your writing is what matters. It’s your career, isn’t it? Yes, qualifications are useful, but when you’re published no one will care about that. If you have to explain to your teacher why your essay is a week late, just tell her you had a deadline on a novel. I’m sure she’ll understand.
Sign up to all the extra-curricular activites available.
They’ll look great on your CV or university application. Ones that take up several hours a week are especially recommended, such as painting the set for the school show. Don’t worry about things that will give you qualifications (that’s just additional stress), but keep on joining clubs and societies. See if you can lead some of them! Then you can run the sessions, and you also have the additional planning time beforehand.
These also count as a legitimate excuse for late essays, but make sure you find time to work on your novel or the plot bunnies will not be happy.
Take up a new instrument.
Bonus points if it’s something you have to travel some distance to learn. Playing music not only stimulates the brain, it also provides enjoyment that is wholesome and safe. I recommend the mandolin if you have a small house, or the accordion or bagpipes if you don’t like your neighbours.
It’s more time consuming than blogging but don’t worry, it’s totally worth it. First you plan your video, then film it, and then spend some time editing it, before you try and upload it. All of this will teach you about new technology, enable you to keep in touch with internet friends, and give you well-needed breaks from the daily slog of essay writing.
Start an internet forum.
You’ll gain vital communication skills and gather information from all over the world, which will definitely help you finish your homework more quickly in future. Moderating it will also teach you about justice and how to deal with rule-breakers, a vital skill in later life. Though at first it might seem like a drain on your time, it is definitely a worthwhile thing to be doing.
Do your accounts.
These will save you so much time in future. The jacket will look wonderful at that next party, and you can easily check the inside of your left elbow to see just what it was you bought last month.* Feel free to invite the Jehovas Witnesses into your house as well, as the hour or two of stimulating discussion will do wonders for your mental health and productivity.
But if you’re finding all of the above tiring, make sure you take breaks. Go for a long walk and refresh your mind before you get back down to some good solid
*This is a reference to a show called Black Books. If you have not seen it, please reconsider your life choices before you return.