Students’ energy ebbs and flows throughout the semester, and sometimes they lose momentum. When this happens, we need to remind students that it’s normal, but encourage them to resume their routines without too much time elapsing. We can help students overcome this break in momentum by reminding them to maintain routines, continue healthy habits, and incorporate time management techniques.
It can be easy for students to let a lull in energy lead to procrastination, but routines can help them combat that tendency. Students work best when they maintain consistency, even when their energy is low. This may include waking up at the same time each day and completing the same task after eating breakfast. Consistency helps students start the day off with positive momentum and accomplish some of their easier tasks early on. When students follow the routines in their lives, they feel accomplished and are more likely to follow through on difficult tasks.
Routines apply to all other aspects of students’ lives. Remind students to maintain healthy habits, such as integrating movement into their day, avoiding too much junk food, and getting enough sleep. These positive routines will help students stay energized. When they fall out of their exercise and sleep routines, staying focused and disciplined becomes much more difficult. Help students schedule movement and sleep into their daily lives. Movement routines could look like taking breaks at the same time or after the same activity each day. Remind students to get ready for bed and wake up at the same time every day as well. The more we can help train students to establish and maintain a sleep pattern that feels easy and natural, the more likely they are to wake up and feel ready for the day.
Time management techniques, like time blocking and habit stacking, can help keep students on track—even when they feel tired or unmotivated. Have students start their mornings by time blocking their schedule for the day. Time blocking should include all tasks, including seemingly obvious ones like taking a shower or eating breakfast. Students sometimes forget to account for smaller tasks, and end up running out of time. Creating a time-specific plan that accounts for the big tasks and the minutiae helps the student succeed. Time blocking also helps students keep up positive momentum and avoid procrastination.
Another technique you can help your student utilize is “habit stacking.” If your student has a new project or task added to their routine, they may find it easier to accomplish (and will follow through) if they pair it with a familiar action in their routine. If time blocking is a new addition, start forming this habit by consistently organizing the day’s tasks and times right after eating breakfast. This helps us to solidify routines and accomplish certain tasks to remove uncertainty and keep up our motivation.
It’s normal to feel like there are ebbs and flows in our year, but sometimes we need to pause and remember that there are techniques we can use to avoid letting these ebbs and flows completely dictate productivity.