There is, generally, no quick fix. Like many new concepts there is the need for frequent reminders, coaching, advising, and reflection. However, without specific strategies you may end up frustrated when "work harder" or "plan better" doesn't get the results you want (and it probably won't).
Therefore, here are 8 strategies that can help students take action, build habits, and develop more ownership of their work.
In no particular order...
1. The sky's the limit, but what is your acceptable minimum?
It is easier, and often more enjoyable, to think about how great your work can be; the ideal product of your labor. However, reality of life sometimes gets int the way. When you accept that the standard of satisfaction is not perfection, it becomes even more important to set an acceptable standard for the work you ship off. Knowing your acceptable minimum allows you to evaluate your efforts in advance of handing it in.
2. Estimate your time for completion.
This tip requires you to look at your outstanding projects or long term assignments and make an honest assessment of how long it will take you to finish it on time and according to standards. Using this tip allows you to plan ahead and avoid having to scramble to finish.
3. "But..(excuse)" is out. "And...(solution)" is in.
If excuses are getting in the way, alternative solutions for seemingly difficult challenges may emerge when you replace "but" with "and" then list the possibilities.
4. Use "If (or when)...then" to build habits.
Having a routine and building habits of success often involve some structured time management. One way to help establish some of these habits is to use "if or when/then" planning. For example, "When I finish dinner, I will read for 20 minutes." or "If I get home before 4:30, then I will work on homework for an hour before dinner."
5. Use lists.
Most students use some sort of planner to organize their assignments. These planners are essentially "to do" lists for students. One habit that will he is to write something down for each class every day. This is true even for classes for which there is no work to do. In those cases, write "nothing to do" or a similar statement. A blank spot in a planner is open for interpretation. Eliminate confusion and begin filling each spot.
6. Break it down.
Some work is easy to do. Other assignments maybe more challenging, especially if it involves a new concept. When working through a tough assignment, break it down into manageable parts and try to work from your strengths.
7. Order work from most expensive to least expensive.
Expensive as in time and difficulty. It may be tempting to get the easier items done first, but by addressing the harder items first (while you are fresh) you can take a quick break and finish the easier stuff without the pressure of a tough assignment hanging over your head.
8. Work against the clock.
This tip works well with tip #7 and #6. After breaking down your work into manageable parts and organizing the work to do the most taxing first, it may be a good idea to use a timer to help you remain fresh over the long haul. Set the timer for 10-15 minutes. Work until it goes off. Take a small break, stretch, get a drink, etc. After a few minutes, do 10-15 more. Repeat until you are done.
Try these out and see how well they work.
Questions, comments,or suggestions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org