Overwhelmed with School? Start here.

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By: Greisy Hernandez

My name is Greisy, and I’m a 16 year old entrepreneur, artist, and filmmaker.

I am a sophomore in high school, and I also juggle art projects, YouTube, and a business. At my school, I have a block schedule which means I only have three classes a day. This is supposed to relieve the load of homework and assignments. Even then, it takes up to two hours for me to finish all my assignments everyday. Some days, I also need to edit a video, finish an art piece, or calculate how much profit I will be making from a project. I wanted to share this to show you that I've been there. I’ve felt like there is so much to do that I just don't know where to start.

I’ve developed a 4 step system to help me clear my mind and get things done:

1) Check in with myself (2-3 minutes)

I do this by sitting still and paying attention to how I’m feeling physically and emotionally. I intentionally take deep breaths. It can be helpful to place your hands on your stomach to feel how it rises and descends with each breath. You can also follow a guided meditation. They can vary between 3 minutes for a quick relief to 10 minutes to release tension. After doing either of these practices, you will feel more in tune with your body and notice if you need to hydrate, stretch, or consume a snack.

2) Change my environment (5 minutes)

If I’m in my room, then I set a timer for five minutes and put clutter away. Your environment is a physical representation of your mental state. Remember not to get carried away, this is not the time to do some deep cleaning and sort out your entire closet. If you’re not at home, then try organizing what you have in front of you like the tabs on your computer or the random papers on your desk. If your space is clean then you can use this time by fixing yourself up. By this, I don’t mean go and beat your face with makeup. Instead wash your face and change into clothes that represent “work mode” for you.

3) Set my top three priorities, and the time it will take to accomplish each one.

Remember that some days your productivity will not be at its peak, and that’s okay. Your body and your mind are constantly changing, and this affects the capacity and load they can take on. All you need to do is try your best. This means that your best will be different depending on your situation. For example, if you have a headache and you can’t write that essay, then it’s okay to take 5 minutes to recollect your thoughts. Break down the task even if it takes longer.

This will help you finish your priorities. It will make you feel satisfied and motivated to complete more tasks. You may think this is not productive because you are barely completing one thing, however, please remember that by using this method you are practicing self-care and avoiding a burnout. Don’t ride on the wave that tells us in order to be productive, we need to be doing 100 things at once. There is always a way to make up lost time, but do not spend that time doing things that won’t help you.

4) Put away my phone.

Journaling is much better than scrolling on social media and overwhelming your brain with information. In one scenario, you are releasing all your convoluted thoughts, and in the other, you are creating more distractions that may lead to procrastination, so set those priorities and get going!!

At the beginning, it will be helpful to have your phone around to put timers, but after you are done with this routine, put your phone as far away from you as possible. Even if it has all the notifications on, it can be tempting to check in on social media.

I hope you find this helpful because these steps have saved me when I'm drowning in tasks to complete.