Hey! My name is Julia and I am a Junior. From my blog title, I’m pretty sure you know where this is going. It’s nearing the end of my, supposedly, most stressful year of high school. This year, my schedule includes 5 AP classes, weekly band practice, church, my goodness I’m stressing out as I’m typing this, SAT prep, ACT prep, club officer responsibilities, eating, sleeping, 50 cups of coffee, pulling my hairs out- okay, okay, this is going too far. You may be wondering, how am I even still alive right now? Or, you may be thinking, HAH! Seriously? You weakling! Well, this schedule is super challenging for my regular willpower and I wouldn’t be maintaining my 4.0+ GPA if it weren’t for a few of these life-savers:
The start of my productivity begins when I acknowledge everything I have to do and take it on one by one. Momentum Dash allows me to do this with ease. For me, this beats the traditional pen on paper "To-do" lists that get easily lost or crumpled up in my backpack. If you're like me, you do your homework with the computer on because maybe Google is your best friend or you're listening to music at the same time. When I open up Google Chrome, my Momentum dashboard immediately pops up and greets me with the time, weather, a beautiful background, an inspirational quote to keep me motivated, my focus for the day, and most importantly, my to-do list. Right when I start my day or when I get home from school I fill out this to-do list and because it is easily visible on my screen it keeps me motivated to check off everything. It has saved me from forgetting to do an assignment, procrastinating until 12:00 AM, or being overwhelmed with everything. I definitely recommend this for anyone struggling to be productive.
Get Momentum here:
There’s some odd reason why I feel more productive when I hear the ambient noise of people talking or just quiet noise in general. Maybe this is why people like doing their work in coffee shops or libraries, I don’t know. The Coffitivity app lets me listen to this “noise” and listen to music at the same time causing this feeling of being in the library with my earphones on when really, I’m just alone in my dead silent room. I know it’s not for everyone; I know some people prefer for it to be dead silent when they study. So, I recommend this to anyone who feels the effect of productivity from ambient noise.
Get Coffitivity here:
iPhone App - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/coffitivity/id669576390?mt=8
Android App - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.coffitivity.coffitivity&hl=en
Website - https://coffitivity.com/
This is a HUUUUUUUUGE life-saver right here. A lot of my classes teach content that requires their students to memorize formulas, terms, definitions, etc. and I am absolutely horrible with keeping my paper flashcards together. Because Quizlet is available on both the computer and the phone, I can study with my own digital flashcards anywhere! Usually, I create the cards at home on a computer and then the next day I can study on my phone right before the test to refresh my memory. I can also collaborate with my friends and share the decks with their Quizlet accounts. To be honest, I wouldn’t have survived AP European History at ALL without this.
Get Quizlet here:
iPhone App - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/quizlet-flashcards-study-tools/id546473125?mt=8
Android App - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.quizlet.quizletandroid&hl=en
Website - https://quizlet.com/
4. Study Guides
No, this isn’t some fancy website or app or program. It’s simply, study guides. Make them, design them, color code them however you want. For me, this is the most effective and least-stressful way for me to study before a test. It is so overwhelming for me to study off of all of my notes because there’s so much content and my mind doesn’t know which facts to prioritize so, creating a study guide after every chapter/unit helps me to scan over all the big ideas I need to know within just a page or two.
5. Khan Academy
Whenever I miss a day in school, or when I just don't understand a lesson given during the day, or when I just want a visual and auditory way to study and refresh my memory, I go to Khan Academy. This has been super useful for me especially in AP Physics and AP Calculus because since these two courses require so much memorization in processes of solving a problem, Khan Academy helps me to study and understand the concepts (which is extremely helpful when your memorization of processes lets you down). Not to mention, it's also available on the mobile platform so whenever I have to go on long car rides or go to a party that I really don't want to be in (sorry, I'm lame), I can watch and listen to Sal Khan teach me how to find the velocity of a particle by integrating its acceleration.
Get Khan Academy here:
iPhone App - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/khan-academy-you-can-learn/id469863705?mt=8
Android App - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.khanacademy.android&hl=en
Website - https://www.khanacademy.org/
6. Organization Skills
Again, not a program. When I was in middle school, I was that type of kid that when given papers, would just recklessly shove it in their backpack without a folder or binder to call home. It was super hard for me to find the one page I needed because my whole backpack was just a nightmare of gum wrappers, little pieces of paper left behind from the torn papers of spiral notebooks, sticky notes that fell off of their original papers, and occasional bobby pins. Anyway, you probably have an idea of how overwhelmed I was when finals were coming up. Long story short, I learned my lesson just in time for high school. Binders and dividers became my best friends, I invested in an electronic labeler, and I made a promise to clean and organize my room at least twice a week. My point is, when you make an effort to organize your environment, your things, your backpack, etc. it saves you a lot of stress in the long run and you'll know exactly where that one page is that you've been looking for. Organization has helped me TREMENDOUSLY in my Junior year because most of my classes gave many handouts and it was helpful to know where they were especially when AP testing came up.
“Organize. Don't agonize.” - a quote I found on a colorful poster in my dentist's office
Last, is motivation. It gets rough when I’m not getting enough sleep and my workload is just piling up as the days go by. Every single Monday (the most dreadful day of my week), I always try to plan out at least one thing to look forward to in each weekday so that I don’t have to drag myself through the week and pray for the weekend to come. For example, I would look forward to finishing a movie in Film class on Monday, having no after-school activities on Tuesday so I can relax at home, spending time with my friends at an after-school club meet on Wednesday, eating at my favorite restaurant with my family for dinner on Thursday, and knowing that it’s the day before the weekend on Friday. Of course, my weeks don’t always look like this. When incentives aren’t there, the support and encouragement from the people around me never fails to boost me. In the end, I make it an effort to remember: all this hard work is going to pay off in one way or another.