For many of us, it’s a fact: when things aren’t scheduled or planned out, they don’t get done. Or, at least, they don’t get done well. How many times have you told yourself, “I’ll do it whenever I find time,” only to realize later that you forgot to do it entirely? Whether it’s schoolwork, chores, or other less-than-thrilling responsibilities, stuff is more likely to get done when you’ve established a consistent routine. Instead of trying to squeeze homework in between extracurriculars, social engagements, work, and other responsibilities, developing a fixed schedule for getting it done can make all the difference. Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered with these five steps for creating a homework routine.
Choose a time that you will work on homework every day.
Act as if this designated homework time is a nonnegotiable event on your calendar. Map out your week, including any practices, club meetings, work shifts, family dinners, and so on. Then, figure out when you’ll have time each day to get your homework done. Maybe you can plan for 30 minutes during your study hall, and an hour after practice and before dinner. Maybe you’ve realized on Tuesdays and Thursdays you have the most spare time, and can use a full afternoon to work ahead. Perfect! Whatever schedule works for you, write it down and stick to it. One of the best students I ever met told me she views school like it’s a job: “I block off scheduled homework time, and treat it like it’s a meeting I can’t get out of,” she told me.
As we outlined in our blog post “Five Steps To Making A New Habit That Will Actually Stick,” it is totally OK (and even necessary!) to start small. Maybe you start by scheduling 20 minutes a day specifically to homework, and then increasing time from there as needed. If you go too big too fast, creating a homework routine will be an uphill battle.
Set up a space in your home that will be your designated homework spot.
And it shouldn’t be in front of the living room TV or at the noisy kitchen counter! Whether it’s a desk in your bedroom or a quiet corner in the basement, finding a quiet spot you can use every day for homework and studying is important. Stock it up with your must-have school supplies and make sure it’s a comfortable place where you can settle in and get to work. It might sound like a small thing, but having a specific place to go as part of your homework routine can flip a switch in your brain, signaling that it’s officially go time.
Eliminate ALL distractions.
Another crucial pointer for creating your homework routine: make sure it is completely distraction-free. No TVs, no rowdy younger siblings, no windows to stare out of aimlessly (unless that helps you think deeply, of course). Most importantly: during your scheduled homework time, put your phone in a different room! A 30 minute assignment can easily take two hours when you’re checking every iMessage and notification that pops up. The more focused you are, the faster you’ll get everything done.
Use to-do lists.
I may or may not sing the praises of to-do lists in every blog post, but that’s because they work. When you’ve got 17 deadlines and due dates looming, it can be easy to get so overwhelmed that you become paralyzed. How can you make the most of your homework time when you don’t even know where to start?
As soon as you sit down – or throughout the day – write down a very simple to-do list of the things that you must accomplish by the following day. Put them in order of priority. By having a clear list of what you need to accomplish during your work time, you’ll remain focused and ready to check things off your list. Pro-tip: do the hardest stuff – or whatever you’re dreading most – first. Everything seems easier after that, and that initial rush of accomplishment will keep you going.
Enlist the help of a coach.
For some students, creating a homework routine is as easy as buying a planner, setting a timer, and getting a little more disciplined. For others, it’s a seemingly impossible task. With the help of an Enrichery coach, you can establish solid study habits and map out a plan that works for you. Plus, we’ll keep you accountable (which is half the battle, let’s be real).
One of the most important aspects of creating a homework routine is staying organized and on top of everything on your plate. We’ve designed The Enrichery Planner to help you do just that. Created by executive functioning experts, the Planner contains to-do lists, calendars, study skill sheets, and other tools that will become key parts of your homework routine.