Where did this day go? As her alarm went off at 7:30 a.m., Tara hit the five-minute snooze button and slid deeper under the covers. A few vague thoughts drifted into her mind about the day ahead. The Drama Club would meet after school today, and Tara definitely wanted to check it out. She also had to get going on her science project. That would mean library time. Tara drifted off again. Not such a bad day. At 8:15 a.m., Tara was frantically searching for clean jeans and her library card. At 8:25, she was rushing to school (having forgotten her lunch) and talking by cell phone to her friend, Kevin. "Hey, do you have time to go shopping with me for a soccer ball tonight?" Kevin asked. "Sure," said Tara, hoping she wasn't late for school and completely forgetting about her earlier plans. Later that night, as Tara wrapped up her third after-dinner call, she looked back on the day. Since she had forgotten her lunch, she'd been forced to buy a burger at the local mall (despite her recent vow to eat healthy). Since she hadn't found her library card, she couldn't take any science books out of the library. And since she blew her money for lunch, she had none left over for photocopying. "Hmm," she thought, "Science project: 1. Tara: 0." Tara slapped her forehead. Only then did she remember that she had missed the Drama Club meeting in order to go shopping with Kevin. It was probably too late now to find out about this year's try-outs. And would she even have time? Seemed like she was always catching up instead of getting ahead. Tara sighed. She was no further ahead with her goals* than she had been yester- day, and she hadn't touched tonight's homework. Where had the time gone?
Jump In a) Tara had some things she wanted to do, but by day's end, she hadn't done any of them! Why not? Identify all the places where Tara's day fell off the radar and simply "vanished." Use a table like this one.
What Tara Did
How It Made the Day Vanish
b) What "vanishing moments" have you experienced?
2. Now suggest some things that Tara could have done to keep her day on track.
3. If you were an employer, would you hire Tara after seeing her vanishing day caught on video? Explain your answer in a brief e-mail to Tara. Give at least two reasons.
*goals things you want to achieve
What Do You Do All Day? If you think that you have too many vanishing days, you are not alone. Most people admit they could use their time better.
When experts help people with time management, they start by asking them how they spend their time. Do you know how much time you actually spend on different activities each day? Maybe you think you spend a reasonable amount of time on homework, and much less time on television or talking with friends.
The key to managing your time is knowing
• what you want to do and
• how much time you need to spend on each activity to do it well.
a) On day 1, try keeping a record of all your activities. Don't forget anything!
b) On day 2, put your list of activities in a table like this. You'll need lots of room in the second column. Keep this paper with you in a safe place, such as a three-ring binder or your jeans pocket.
Time I Spent on This Activity
c) Every time you do this activity, write down how many minutes you spent on it. Separate your entries by "+" signs.
d) At the end of the day, add up all the minutes you spent on each activity. Remember to convert each 60 minutes to 1 hour. Example:
Time I Spent on This Activity
10 min + 25 min + 5 min + 40min
80 min = 1 h, 20 min
e) Which activities soak up most of your time?
f) Which activities do you spend little time on?
g) Was there anything you missed doing today that you had planned to do?
h) What would you like to change about the amount of time you spend on certain activities? Place your activity log and your response to question (e) in your portfolio.
Making Time for Everything
Now that you know what you do all day, you can begin to shift some things around. Perhaps you want to devote more time to certain tasks, such as home- work or hobbies that interest you.
To accomplish this, you will need to set some goals. You will also need an agenda* to keep track of your time. Your agenda should have space to
• schedule activities
• write out your daily, weekly, and monthly goals.
First, block off times for all the things you must do. These are your high-priority tasks. You can schedule other activities around these tasks. Don't forget the must- do's of eating and sleeping!
9 FRIDAY 7:30-9:00pm Roller-skating with Liz $ Marcus! Dance Marathon is Feb 15th.
4:00pm Swim team tryouts
9:00am Take Carey to Y
11:00am Math test, Unit 2
3:30pm Library date with Sarah for English essay?
Weekly Goals Tidy Room
Bring back library books
Try out for swim team
Start English essay
Four-way agenda tips: Must-Do: Block out your must-do activities in highlighter at the start of the week.
Write your weekly goals beside or below your weekly schedule.
Use your agenda to note assignment deadlines.
Use your agenda during announcements to note items of interest.
Now you can set some goals. It can be challenging to set goals if you have never done it before. That's okay; on page 19 you'll start small.
*agenda a tool for organizing your time by day, week, month, and year
Getting Organized Being organized makes it easier to be the manager of yourself. Remember Tara's frantic search for her jeans and library card on page 15? Rushing around looking for her stuff made Tara late. Being late put her under stress (a topic covered later in this chapter). And being under stress caused Tara to forget her most important goals of the day.
Guess what! Tara completely re-organized her room. Have a look at what she did.
What happened to...?
1) The library card In her wallet where it belongs
2) The jeans In the dresser or in the laundry
3) The messy desk Cleaned, with school supplies in easy reach
4) The knapsack Emptied at night, next to the desk for packing tomorrow
5) The phone Turned off!
6) The clock Set 15 minutes earlier to avoid morning rush
8) The script To prepare for her small part in the school play
9) The file folders To hold research and information on projects
10) The attitude From stressed to calm and focused!
1. With a partner, think about a small personal goal for the rest of today. It might be something like attending all your classes today or making it to work on time. Next, think about personal goals and goals related to school. It might be helpful to review the list in activity 1 on page 16. With your partner, fill in a table like the one below.
A goal for today
A goal for tomorrow
A goal for this week
A goal for this month
2. Now, transfer your goals into your agenda. If you must achieve your goal by a certain time, write down the time, for example: "Get to the Y by 4 p.m." If your goal is something you intend to do but don't need to schedule, simply write it down as your weekly or monthly goal. At the end of the week or month, cross it out if you achieved it. 3. Announcing the "Extreme Bedroom Makeover"! How could you change your own room to make it more organized for studying and for after-school activities?
a) Take some "before" photos of your room and study them (or draw it).
b) Make a list of the things you should change. Try to identify three.
c) Make over your room and snap your "after" photos.
d) Bring both sets of photos to class mounted on paper. Label all the "don'ts" on your before photos and all the "do's" on your after photos.
e) Be able to summarize the changes you made and the reasons for the changes. 4. Alternative: The "Extreme Locker Makeover." Follow the same steps to make over your messy locker.
How to Homework without Sweating
Here are some simple rules for effective studying:
1. Know what you are supposed to be studying.
2. Have a plan of attack.
3. Have the space and the tools to study.
4. Know yourself.
1.Know What You Are Supposed to Be Studying
It starts in class, when you get an assignment. Make sure you write down all assignments, including homework, and the dates they are due. The best place to put all the information is your agenda (see page 17). If you don't understand an assignment, ask your teacher to clarify it.
Making a model of an idea sometimes lets you see how it really works.
2.Have a Plan of Attack What's your purpose? Are you researching an essay or studying for a test? You should plan your studying accordingly.
For all assignments: • Read the directions for the assignment a few times. Make sure you understand what you are supposed to do. If your teacher is not available, ask another student for help.
For regular homework: •
*Break up tasks into small chunks.
*Think about how long each task will take you and spread them out. Skim the material. It might be a problem to solve or text you must read. To skim, look at everything quickly first. Do not be put off by parts you don't understand. Keep skimming to find parts you do understand. Begin there and work outward.
*If you are reading, pay close attention to the top and bottom of the text. Important ideas often come "early" and "late."
• Use Line Master 7-9: Essay Planning Templates or one from our school library site.
It will guide you in the entire process.
• Look at the tasks involved, break them into chunks, and spread them out over several weeks.
• Keep a file folder with the essay name on it at home. Place all the material related to the essay in that file.
• Take out the file and review it every couple of days, even if you are not planning to work on your essay that day.
3. Have the Space and the Tools to Study
Know what books and materials you need to study. Decide which materials can stay at home and organize them in one spot. Make sure you have enough light! If you don't think you have suitable space at home to study, talk to your teacher or guidance counsellor. Together, you can explore some alternatives to studying at home.
4. Know Yourself
Respect your personal learning style when you study! (For more on learning styles, see Chapter 1, pages 8-9.) Here are some tips.
For the "seeing" style:
• Look at the pictures first. Check out any diagrams or maps in the book.
• Use a graphic organizer if your teacher has provided one.
• Make your own organizer or mind map to display information (see Skills Work- shop, page 54).
For the "talking/hearing" style:
• Try reading your material out loud.
• Study with a buddy. Paraphrase what you are reading, or explain an idea out loud to your buddy. (For more on paraphrasing, see Skills Workshop, page 9.)
For the "hands-on" style:
• Take frequent breaks and walk around.
• With a buddy, role-play what you are studying, such as the events in a novel.
• Try to make a physical model of concepts you are studying in math or science.
Practise the Skill 1. a) Identify an assignment you are working on now.
b) From the information above, identify at least two strategies that you could use to improve the way you are handling that assignment. Try these new strategies sometime soon.
c) Write down how using the new strat- egies made studying easier.
The Five-Day Countdown: Test Preparation Plan
This is a great plan for studying for a test. You need to commit five days. Every day gets you
more ready. Here's how to do it:
Day 5. Read over your textbook and class notes. Go back over your notes a second time and try to pick out one key piece of information from each page. Highlight it, mark it with a sticky note, or find some other way of making that information important. If you have a test outline from your teacher, check back over the notes you made and try to connect them to the outline.
Day 4. Use your favourite learning strategies to help you remember the information you identified on day 5. [See activity lb) on page 7.]
Day 3. Rewrite the information, using as few words as possible. Use abbreviations or symbols such as ON for Ontario (abbreviation) or # for population (symbol).
Day 2. Write out the questions that are going to be on the test. Then answer each one.
Day 1. This is the day you take your test. Review your written notes from day 3. Review the questions and answers you prepared on day 2. You can do this while eating breakfast, walking on the treadmill-it's up to you. Just before the test, go over any information you are having difficulty remembering.
Practise the Skill Think about what you should do each day of the five-day test preparation plan. For each day, write a sentence that tells you what you will do that day.
Despite your best intentions, you may still have problems managing yourself and your time. Everyone does. This next section examines some common challenges.
Procrastinating* Procrastinating means putting off a task you should do. "I'll do it later," you say. "I've got lots of time."
Why do people procrastinate? The reasons are many. Here are some common ones, and ways to avoid being a procrastinator.
"It's too hard." Actually, the hardest part is starting something. Next time you have an assignment, try starting it. Commit no more than five or 10 minutes to it. Once you have started a task, you will find it easier to return to it.
"It's too big." Does the task look huge? You can address this problem by taking your agenda and breaking up the task into smaller chunks.
"It's confusing." Remember, it's the smart guy who admits he's confused. Ahead of time, it's important to clarify the task or the material with your teacher. After school, it's OK to ask another student for help.
"I'm going to fail." Worrying will not make the task go away. Remember that what you believe about a task is important (see Skills Workshop, page 11, tip 1). Go back over those tips and see if one of them can help you crack the task.
"I've got better things to do." Review your goals (page 19). Do you really have better things to do, or are you just avoiding something"?
*procrastinating avoiding a task by putting it off until later
1. Are you a procrastinator? Use Line Master 2-4: Are You a Procrastinator? to find out.
2. With a partner, identify the situations that make you procrastinate the most. Write down the two most challenging ones. Beside each situation, write down something that you could do to avoid procrastination. Review the tips above for ideas.
Insisting on Perfection
Perfectionism sometimes goes with procrastination. When you are a perfectionist, you are afraid to do anything that is less than perfect. As a result, you may turn in assignments late because you fear they are not your best. Or you may spend too much time perfecting a little detail and not enough time on the big picture.
One way to deal with perfectionism is to talk to your teacher. He or she can help you see that your job at school is not about being perfect; it's about learning--and that means making mistakes.
Another tip is to change your self-talk. Perfectionists sometimes engage in negative self-talk. It sounds like this: "I'm so stupid." "I've got to do much better than that." Try to stop yourself every time you engage in negative self-talk. Try using a special word that cues you to stop (e.g., NOT, stop, see ya). Then see if you can replace those statements with positive statements:
• "People are allowed to make mistakes."
• "Hey, I did better than last time."
• "I blew one part but I got a lot right."
1. Create some positive self-talk to replace this negative self-talk:
a) "I'll never be good enough."
b) "I can't hand this in-it looks like garbage."
c) "Another one of my stupid mistakes and I quit."
d) "This will never look the way I want it to."
e) "Other people can do it, so why can't I?"
2. Design a bracelet with a slogan on it that puts perfectionism in its place. Use words and symbols. Be firm, but don't be rude! Example: "Why be perfect when I can be me?"
Giving Up Too Soon
Giving up before you're done is another big time waster. If you start a task and fail to complete it, what happens? You often have to go back to it anyway. You forget your train of thought. You lose time! Try these tips to help you persevere with tasks:
• Reward yourself for finishing tasks, even small ones. Tell yourself how great you are for getting it done.
• Work with a buddy. It takes more energy to cancel a study date than to get the task done.
• When you need to finish something, avoid people who want to get you off-task.
• Have a realistic schedule for completing tasks. Go back to your agenda (page 17) or homework plan (pages 20-21).
• Think about the real consequences of not finishing what you are doing. What are they?
1. With a partner, role-play staying on-task while your partner tempts you to quit. Then, reverse roles.
a) What strategies did you use to avoid quitting?
b) What strategies did your partner use to avoid quitting?
2. Which strategy do you predict will work best for you the next time you want to give up? Write down your no-quit strategy and why it works for you. Place that information in your portfolio.
It's easier to learn--and to manage yourself--when you feel well. You can get a head start on wellness by eating right, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep.
Choosing the Right Diet
Your diet is important because many nutrients help your brain work better. Canada's Food Guide recommends that teenagers eat a variety of foods, including several servings from each food group: cereals and grains, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and protein. Eating some of these foods every day will help you operate at peak performance.
Food Guide Basics
Using the food guide
Maintaining healthy habits
Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating
Eating a variety of food groups
Drinking water and low-fat milk instead of pop
Limiting your fast-food
Eating too much sugar and caffeine
Eliminating a whole food group without asking your doctor
Visit www.emp.ca/Is to examine Canada's Food Guide in more detail and take the guided tour.
Exercise and Your Brain
Regular exercise can help your brain! How does it work?
Just moving around delivers more oxygen to your brain, which makes your brain work better. But it gets more interesting than that. Scientists have been able to show that regular exercise can improve a person's memory, ability to concentrate, and ability to plan and organize.
The ideal amount of exercise for most people is 30-60 minutes a day at least three times a week. Exercise should raise your heart rate to its *training range in order to keep your heart healthy.
*training range 65-75 percent of your maximum heart rate based on your age
Jump In 1. Take an inventory of your own nutrition and exercise habits and compare them with the guidelines found on page 26. Examine Canada's Food Guide, the Nutrition Do's and Don'ts, and exercise recommendations. How are you shaping up?
2. Select one way to improve your physical health over the next week. At the end of the week, write down what you did and what kind of success you had.
When Stress Gets You Down
*Stress is a force pushing against you. It can push you from the inside or from the outside. A little stress is good-it makes you feel alive! However, too much stress is bad for you and can certainly affect your learning.
Examples of inside stress include the decisions you make (e.g., putting off a task instead of starting it) or your personality (e.g., expecting too much of yourself). You have already examined several ways to approach these kinds of stresses.
The other kind of stress is outside you. It comes from events that you have less control over. This stress is called external stress.
How can you deal with events you can't control`? In fact, many of the things you are already trying to do will help you with stress. Exercise is a proven stress- buster. So is spending time doing your favourite thing. Listening to music, watch- ing television, or just talking to a friend can also relieve stress in the short term.
What about external stresses that are also unlawful or against school policy, such as racism or bullying? You may need to report the incident to a school administrator. In Learn Smart, especially in Chapter 9, you will find lots of ideas on how to stand up for yourself and take appropriate action in situations like that.
Top External Stressors for Teens
• Death of a parent
• Parent's new relationship
• Parents' divorce
• Birth or adoption of new sibling
• Fighting with parents
• Academic pressure
• Being bullied
• Lack of friends
*stress forces acting on the body from the inside or the outside
A Workshop in Guided Imagery
Guided imagery is another technique used to cope with stress. It involves the imagination and the creative side of the brain (see page 5). You choose a problem or issue that concerns you and then mentally form images about it. Guided imagery has been used for centuries by First Nations peoples for healing. It can also help people become more aware of their actions, choices, and decisions.
How Does It Work?
Guided imagery connects with the part of your mind you are not aware of. It slows down your brain waves, your heartbeat, and your breathing. These actions all help to calm you down. Guided imagery also shows you more ways to approach a situation. It frees your mind to consider many possibilities, not just one.
How to Do It
• Try to be positive even if you feel down. If you are hopeful, your hopefulness will be transferred to your mental images.
• Be relaxed and make sure you are in a comfortable position.
• Try to minimize distractions and interruptions in your environment.
• Close your eyes and think about something that you are concerned about or curious about.
• Allow images to enter your mind and be aware of them. Your teacher will help guide you.
• What do you see? Start to be aware of the pictures as they form.
• Keep your pictures focused and active. Star in your own movie-don't just watch from the audience. Be aware of what you do and what you could do.
• Notice things: colours, sensations, ex- pressions, posture, smell, taste, and so forth.
Practise the Skill 1. After a guided imagery session with your teacher, write down
a) the pictures you remember the most
b) what those pictures caused you to remember and feel
c) how you think guided imagery has helped you.
NB: If you can't think of anything to focus on, visualize a scene that makes you feel peaceful and relaxed.
Identify one external stress that affects you right now. What could you do to man- age that stress? Try one of the suggestions found on pages 27-28 for a week. At the end of the week, write down whether or not that strategy worked for you. Explain why or why not.
This chapter introduced you to the following ideas: • When you manage your time, you can do more of the things you need to do and more of the things you want to do.
• Goal-setting and using an agenda are important to time management.
• Organizing your personal space will help you manage your time better.
• Homework is made easier by
• knowing what you are supposed to be studying
• having a plan of attack • having the space and the tools to study
• knowing yourself.
• Procrastination is putting off something you should do today. You can find tips on handling procrastination on page 23.
• Perfectionism means being afraid to be anything less than perfect. You can find tips on handling perfectionism on page 24.
• Exercise and good nutrition can help you stay healthy and cope with different kinds of stress. For tips on stress management, see pages 27-28.