How to Balance School With Extracurricular Activities
Wake. School. Practice. Study. Sleep. Repeat.
This is a standard schedule for most students. With little time left over for friends, family, and fun.
Demands of everyday life, part-time jobs, and social functions further add to an over-packed schedule. Fifty-seven percent of students also have at least one extracurricular activity they participate in. It can be a struggle to juggle all these academic and social responsibilities.
It's important to learn developmental skills that you'll use for the rest of your life. Read on for tips on finding the right balance between school work and extracurricular activities.
Set a Schedule and Stick with It
Humans thrive on consistency, as our brains get hardwired to complete goals based on our own routine. The easiest way to balance school with extra activities is to set a schedule and stick with it.
Fill in all your important school activities first, then extracurricular responsibilities. Set aside a chunk of time each day for homework and studying. Don't forget to include time on weekends for friends and family.
Buy a planner or use your calendar app to organize deadlines, appointments, and assignments. This helps to set priorities and learn time management skills.
Categorize by daily and weekly activities and separate short and long-term goals. Keep a running to-do list, crossing off as you go. Use post-its or the sticky notes app to stay organized.
School work should always come first, before other activities. Remember your GPA and test scores will predict your college choices and career path. Use this time to strengthen your grades and build your own personal brand.
A packed schedule should not mean you have to sacrifice sleep, meals, or time with family and friends. Once you fall into a routine, you'll find that you can be a bit more flexible with free time.
Give Yourself Time to Relax and Recharge
It's important to take time for yourself to avoid getting burned out. Remember that the more you get done during the week, the more free time you have on the weekends.
Work hard then take needed breaks to let your mind and body recharge. It's also important to set little mid-day breaks to keep productivity levels from plummeting.
Unwind at the end of each day by doing something you enjoy. Read a book, watch a movie with friends, or go for a run listening to your favorite playlist. Use exercise for personal wellness and to help battle stress.
Sixty-nine percent of female students say an overpacked school schedule keeps them from joining sports clubs. Yet, physical fitness and team involvement is a great reason to play a sport. Or spend time on the weekends hiking or kayaking with family and friends.
Be sure to reward yourself for meeting goals. Head to the mall with a friend or go out to dinner with your family.
Make the Most of Your Free Time
Understand that some weeks may get packed full, with very little free time. So, it's important to take advantage of the time you do get.
Use a free period or study hall to catch up on homework assignments. Time spent studying at school frees up extra time at the end of the day. Try to schedule your study halls periods for times when you are most productive, such as the morning.
Break for lunch and spend it catching up with friends. When traveling for sporting events, use the time on the bus to socialize with teammates.
Use free time after school to study and apply for scholarships. Take time during family dinners to discuss future goals and plans.
Use breaks and holidays to plan something fun and memorable. This is a great time to recharges your batteries. Complete any time-sensitive or important tasks then spend the rest of the break enjoying yourself.
You may want to consider joining a networking group. They often have member trips and events where you can meet other students with the same goals. You also get to travel around the country and build a personal network of peers.
Limit Distractions and Stay Focused
Technology can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to trying to stay focused. When studying or completing assignments, put your phone in another room so you're not tempted to text. Save social media for after your tasks get completed.
Pick the right location for study time. A family room with loud siblings or the television on is not conducive to learning. You want to limit distractions and find peace and quiet elsewhere if needed.
It helps to change the scenery to stay focused. Spend some time in your bedroom then head to the library. Study in the park if it's a nice day or sit at a local coffee shop.
Save time with friends for after you've completed assignments. Or get involved in a study group to keep each other motivated.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Anytime you feel overwhelmed, seek guidance. It's okay to ask for help and communicate feelings of stress.
Know your mentors and ask them for advice when needed. A mentor can be a parent, coach, or your favorite teacher. They will have ideas on how to better balance school activities and your social life.
Get a study partner or tutor if you feel your grades are slipping. It's best to be proactive and seek help from another classmate or teacher.
If you're feeling extreme stress, you may want to slim down your list of clubs and organizations. Go for quality activities that you have a strong passion for.
Admissions teams want to see interest and involvement, rather than a long list of endless activities. It's better to be selective in how you spend your time and energy. You will also strengthen your talents if you dedicate more time to one or two activities.
The Art of Multi-Tasking Your Extracurricular Activities
With time you will notice your multi-tasking and time management skills will strengthen. You'll find a good balance between school work and extracurricular activities.
These are the keys to success that will prepare you for higher education and your career. There are also many organizations that offer extra support and resources for young minds. Learn more about the benefits of Honor Society and how it can help shape your future.