Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

The Hired Girl

Laura Amy Schlitz

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Stressed. HELP

ask the recapI have so much to do. Lacrosse, homework, piano, homework, model UN, homework, community service hours, homework…and homework.

I feel like I’m always behind and I’m getting so stressed.

Help!

–E.A. USA


Does your life look like this?

Does your life look like this?

You’ve come to the right place! Try our “How-To-Do” list–that’s right, How To-Do–to streamline your workload. Try our brain boosters to amp up your IQ. And if you’re feeling like a zombie after juggling all your activities, we’ve got the solution for that, too.
Most important, though, is this technique. We call it:

“Don’t do your work twice.”

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Yep, that’s it. (At least we didn’t ask you to click a link to read it). When you’ve got a lot to do–which it sounds as though you do–you might find yourself going over and over everything you have to do. It’s a running list, an endless repetition in your head. You can’t stop thinking about that pre-calc assignment, and the paper on Beowulf you have to write later. Then there’s your chem homework and…

STOP!

We’ve all been there. It’s called rumination–aka doing your work twice. Sure, doing homework can be a chore. But the really exhausting part, the part that drains you and sucks the joy out of everything, is rehearsing it all in your head, over and over again, before you actually get to the work itself.

It doesn’t help you get your homework done any faster, and it does fill your day with anxiety. You definitely don’t have room for that with your full schedule!

So here’s the deal. Create a place–in a notebook, on your smartphone, wherever–to write down the day’s assignments. (Follow up with your How-To-Do if necessary.) But once you’ve got them down, stop thinking about them.

Sure, if you’re mapping out your paper in your head, that’s a decent use of time. But stop the endless rumination.

When you find yourself fretting over an assignment, stop your thoughts in their tracks and try a little pep talk: “I’ll get the chem homework done between 7 and 8 tonight. I understand the material and the assignment won’t take more than an hour.”

Then move on.

Or what about that Spanish test you have to study for? When it comes to mind, reassure yourself: “I already understand preterite verbs, so this will be an easy review. And if I get confused, I can call Sarah.”

Then move on.

Think about something fun, something stress-free. Who will win the football game Friday night. The plans you’re making for the weekend.

It takes a little mental discipline at first, but we’ve found that stopping the endless stream of mental nagging, rehearsing, and regurgitating makes work seem less arduous. We promise you’ll still get everything done. You’ll just be a whole lot less stressed in the process!

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