School’s almost out. Everyone has summer on their minds. But have you spent any time thinking ahead to next year’s classes? How about the year after that?
The end of the school year is a good time to look ahead and think about how you want your year ahead to go. Taking a little time now to plan ahead can lead to less stress, better grades and more success in school.
Pause for reflection. Many people with ADHD tend to spend more time looking ahead than reflecting on the past. But taking a minute to think about what worked well, and what didn’t go so well, can help you build on successes and avoid repeating past mistakes. Pretend its January 1st. What are your resolutions for things to do differently next year? What are things you want to build on? Write yourself a note and send it to yourself to arrive on September 1. (43things.com is a great tool for sending yourself reminders about future goals.)
It’s all about balance. Think about what classes you need to take to graduate? Which subjects do you love? Which ones do you struggle with? Think about the type of work required for each class and balance the type of classes out over the year. For example, don’t take more than two classes each term that requires heavy memorization.
Optimize productivity. When selecting classes, think about when you are most productive. When do you listen best? When are you able to knuckle down and study? Now plan your class work and study time to fall during these high productivity periods. For example, if you are a morning person, consider allowing a block of time between two morning classes to get a quick burst of studying in at the start of your day. Thinking about and planning for a “productivity window” can help and ADHD student move from struggling to success.
Establish good habits now. Do you have a regular exercise routine? If you don’t, start one now. Research has shown that regular exercise helps reduce ADHD symptoms. If you integrate exercise into your daily routine now, it will be easier to keep going in the fall.
Start researching your future teachers now. Talk to your friends and find out about the teaching style of different teachers and professors. Which ones are rigid and which ones may be more accommodating of your style. Consider talking to teachers before you sign up for their classes about their expectations. Better to know in advance that 50% of your grade will be dependent on completing daily homework assignments, don’t you think?
Lighten the load. Consider taking classes over a five year period instead of trying to push through college in 4. Take one or two classes during the summers so you can focus on the tough classes with fewer distractions during the school year. If you are in high school, talk to your guidance counselor and see if a home school option for summer study is available to you, too.
Find an ADHD coach. A coach works with you over time to develop better planning and self-management skills; skills that will help you manage your time and your things so you’re on top of your work and the rest of your life and not overwhelmed or behind. You can begin working with a coach over the summer, so you have good organizational systems in place when fall rolls around.
So as this school year draws to an end, take time to reflect and plan ahead. Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, think School Year’s Resolutions!
What are your School Year Resolutions? We hope you’ll share them in the comments.