Let your ‘schedule’ set you FREE!

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The title of this blog has a message. Let’s see how you can become a happy recipient.

People of all ages are often heard to exclaim frantically or wearily, “I just never have enough time!” or words to that effect. We’re inclined to identify with them without looking behind the difficulties that they’re experiencing. Worse, we may grow to accept their plight as the ‘usual state of affairs’, almost inevitable, rather than as something that we can and will take preventative steps to avoid.

A lot, and I mean A LOT, of books and articles have been written on ways to get and keep organized. One can use all sorts of phraseology, plus dress up the problem with ‘unique’ models, and so forth. Being fancy can create confusion, let it be said. I’m keeping it ‘simple’, while being mindful that school is the focus:

Student Priorities

There are 24 hours in a day; 5 ‘school days’ out of 7, in most weeks; and a finite number of weeks in a semester (term), a basic frame that we often neglect to keep in perspective, particularly in terms of planning. Priorities are the chief consideration:


  1. You (your family) – Everything begins and works with a healthy, motivated ‘you’. You are both the means and the end, when it comes to personal success in school, so establish a solid sleep routine and abide by it, certainly on ‘school nights’. What you eat and drink, and when, has a huge bearing on your wellness. And remember, you’re still growing! There are endless theories about diet, but listen to your body and yourself. ‘Junk food’ is called ‘junk food’ for a reason. Watchwords? Habit and If you establish self-discipline early in life, that includes these basic needs, you’ll enjoy what life has to offer so much more.

Time for yourself is a basic need, too, that cannot be postponed, forgotten, or squandered. Learn to say ‘no’. Being selfish here is not being bad.

Family (and ‘family time’) should be ‘guarded jealously’. It’s easy to get into a ‘habit’ (there’s that word, again) of taking family for granted. Don’t. Besides you, they most often are your best asset and resource. And ‘nests’ empty before you know it.

  1. School (Learning) – School also is both a means and an end in itself, part of learning about yourself, others, and how to participate meaningfully in a world that has increasing complexity and that we necessarily live in. There are thresholds and milestones that we encounter, and must address and surpass. Many school boards now have online scheduling software and readily accessible information that was a remote dream only a generation ago. There for the asking. ASK, and USE. And use for PLANNING.


Remember that a ‘wasted hour’ (that was planned or part of a routine/schedule) is just that: WASTED (gone forever). Time is your most valuable commodity. While there is plenty of help available re. ‘time management’, you are your own ‘efficiency expert’. Beware of procrastination, a very bad habit that is easy to succumb to, because you literally ‘do nothing’ in order to fall prey to it! By contrast, an hour spent truly focused on homework, studying, leisure activities (athletics, hobbies), and otherwise working (volunteering) leads to feelings of accomplishment, satisfaction, and that you have earned some valuable time to and for yourself.


Discipline v. Temptation; Organization v. Worry

Human behaviour entails making choices virtually all the time. Little, subconscious ones, and larger choices/decisions that can have enormous ramifications. In an ideal world, self-discipline would prevail over temptation, but it’s so easy to yield to the latter without regard to both short and long term consequences. We must be careful. Those ‘consequences’ can lead to an elimination of freedom (luxury) of choices or options in respect of higher education, careers, and lifestyle.

On a much more personal note, ask yourself whether being disorganized (without a thoughtful schedule, or even routine) leads to a lot of wasted, empty time worrying about where the time seemingly has gone and how it might be ‘made up’ (further futility). Worry really is a stressful complication that compounds disorganization, well able to ‘grind things to a halt’. Avoidance of unnecessary worry is the best incentive I know for making the worthwhile effort to establish a wholesome ‘schedule’ that will be genuinely ‘liberating’.

Book Smart Tutors places the value of teaching organized study habits and healthy learning skills in the forefront of every tutoring engagement and experience. Such facilitation is designed, and hopefully destined, to make every student whom we tutor the very best that he or she can be.

Robert MacFarlane is a graduate of Princeton University. He has been associated with Book Smart Tutors for a number of years, specializing in tutoring English at all grade levels.

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