by Dawn Lyons
The arrival of September is like a new year – the start of the school year includes new classes, new teachers, and the possibility of new friends and relationships. Similar to the new calendar year, the new school year is an excellent opportunity to make resolutions, such as setting new or improved goals, or deciding to take on new activities.
Teenagers are facing extracurricular activities that put additional demands on their time. An optimistic, outgoing and energetic outlook about what can be experienced and accomplished during the new school year can result in stress for teens who end up having too much to do and not enough time. Helping teens get organized for school can help reduce some of the stress.
Here are some tips to help teenagers get organized and ease their stress:
It may seem obvious, but getting everything scheduled is a great way to keep on top of things, and there are multiple tools that can be used to facilitate this. Day planners (which are sometimes provided by the school) and/or calendar applications on mobile devices and computers can be used to record assignment due dates, work shifts and appointment times. But don’t stop there. Calendars should also be used to schedule in study time, homework tasks and even time with friends or family. Using different colours can help to more easily identify commitments (and make the calendar more fun to update and not as boring to look at). With electronic calendars, reminders can be activated in a variety of formats such as sounds, emails and pop-up alerts to keep you on task and in the know about what’s coming next. A rule to apply here is: “If it’s not in the schedule, it won’t happen.”
2. Evaluate and Eliminate
With so many demands on a teenager’s time, it’s often difficult to fit it all in and find a balance. In order to avoid taking on too much that results in stress, poor health or lackluster performance, it can help to evaluate the importance of each obligation and where possible, eliminate surplus commitments that don’t serve a valuable purpose.
For example, consider if an extracurricular activity holds enough purpose to continue, if the time invested conflicts with volunteer work that could create valuable experience and connections. It may prove wise to give up one for the sake of the other. Feelings of overwhelm and questions about how and when everything can be accomplished is a sign that something needs to be eliminated from the schedule.
A question to ask to assist with deciding what to keep and what to cut: “Is this important, and is it important right now?”
The use of a schedule works particularly well when the commitments and tasks are prioritized. There are a variety of ways to achieve this. Use of colour can be helpful, as well as creating a task list that logically progresses through each required step to complete whatever project is at hand. Needs for each week should be considered and then a focus placed on each day to create a clear plan to accomplish whatever is needed while not competing with scheduled events such as classes, work and even time with friends.
While it may at first seem like a time consuming process, creating a schedule will ease the stress that is so often caused by having multiple responsibilities. By eliminating excess obligations and focusing on those that have value, it becomes easier to stay focused, tackle the to-do list and avoid overwhelm.
How do you help your teen get organized and ease their stress?
A professional writer and editor, Dawn Lyons created ‘Write’ Steps 4 Teens by combining her passion for writing with her desire to help teenagers resolve stress-inducing concerns and consciously create their own success stories. Find out more by visiting her online at linesbylyons.com.