When working in the burnout space, I often observe that some habits that lead to overwork or avoidance stem as far back as high school or university days. Here I map out something I did with my high schooler this weekend that respected their need for meaning and interest in their work, while juggling commitments to their overall study load.
Often, students may approach multiple assessments and deadlines with:
- ineffective repetitive patterns
To avoid this, students can learn to deal with project managing their assessments and mapping it out. Here’s what we did in my home this week for a senior high school student:
- Get a bunch of sticky notes and write each assessment project on a sticky note, the due date, and the weighting of the assessment
- Sort these out by due date, with the latest ones being towards the far right
- Take a Red Pen and mark “A” the assessments that have the most weighting
- Take a Blue Pen and mark “smiley face” the assessments that are more appealing to work on
- Write down the various steps that are needed for each assessment task (each step on a different sticky note), and place them vertically beneath each assessment
- Now this gets a bit messy :). Schedule each of the steps into the student’s diary, with the estimated time each step will require. This is where having the Red “A” categories helps to gain perspective the amount of time and how immediately one needs to schedule in for that particular step. Sometimes students find it difficult to work out how much time and resources to devote to a task, or may invest too much time in Blue Smiley Face tasks that are not worth that much.
- Try to have some blue “smiley face” tasks to break up the intensity of the Red tasks. Bonus if it is a Red and Blue task, the trick here is not to spend more time on these at the expense of others
You can also assess each task step by “resources I have” and “resources I don’t have”. Which will provide a map for problem-solving things like “need to ask Mr. Wilson what he means by this question” or “need to borrow textbook XYZ from the library”. Then schedule these in as well.
Ready, set, GO!
Valerie Ling, MClin Psych, BA(Hons), MAPS, Clinical Psychologist has a passion for helping people find their voice and continue to write their life’s story. Committed to prevent burnout and empowering individuals to life an effective life, she is the Director and Founder of The Centre For Effective Living.