Running out of time?
Semester break provides opportunity to reflect on priorities
January 29, 2019
Do you have the time?
Understanding where the time goes
According to Kim Bartels, owner of Bartels Executive Coaching, time management is having a comparable amount of work and relaxation to be able to persevere.
“Just finding that balance between achievements, motivation and being able to relax and rest so you can get rejuvenated to keep moving,” Bartels said. “Some students never relax and get burnout, and some students relax too much and have to play catch up.”
According to ninth grade counselor Barb Nelson, one of the biggest misconceptions regarding students’ schedules is the pressure to take all advanced classes regardless of their interest in the subject matter.
“There’s a lot of pressure for kids to feel like they have to do it all, like ‘I’m going to take all honors classes,’ and it’s really more about thinking what content areas they like, where they have strengths, where they’ll put their energies,” Nelson said. “Sometimes when you spread yourself too thin you won’t have enough energy for everything.”
Nelson said students who take advanced classes when they aren’t passionate about the subject can struggle to succeed.
“I always say, ‘Do you like the subject matter?’ ‘Do you like the content area?’ Because if you don’t, it’s going to be a hard class to get through,” Nelson said.
According to Bartels who has a PhD in psychology, people whose multiple commitments cause them stress should be mindful of the variety of ways to understand and manage it.
“In terms of managing stress and busy schedules, one size doesn’t fit all. It’s good for people to be aware of different ways to manage their stress and then try out different behaviors to see what helps them manage stress best,” Bartels said.
Bartels said students often take on too much and find it difficult to decline an opportunity.
“I also talk to clients at any age about being able to say no,” Bartels said. “Sometimes we’re socialized to help people and say yes. Teens and adults can get overwhelmed by saying yes too often.”
According to Nelson, another problem students face is failing to efficiently use breaks in their schedules both in and outside of school.
“If you really took a hard look at it, you could find those holes where you could be more efficient or using your relaxation time in a better way,” Nelson said.
How do you manage your time?
Establish a balance for success
Senior Bella Birkeland, co-president of Destress Club, said she feels establishing a place to help students with their time is beneficial for the St. Louis Park community.
“A lot of people are recognizing mental health issues, and school is becoming more increasingly competitive and requires a lot of work to do,” Birkeland said. “(Destress Club meets) on Mondays because that’s the time you usually get your workload for the week.”
Kim Bartels, owner of Bartels Executive Coaching, said students should still strive for perfection, but should focus on prioritizing what is important.
“Sometimes less is more. I talk to them about bare minimum,” Bartels said. “I ask them what would happen if they just did the bare minimum. Teachers don’t usually talk that way, but it’s better to get something partially done then shoot for perfection and miss a deadline.”
Sophomore Marissa Boettcher said when she does experience moments of stress, she has a hard time prioritizing a balanced schedule.
“I tend to prioritize sports over school sometimes. Then, when I get behind in classes, it really affects my mental state, and I psych myself out,” Boettcher said.
Ninth grade counselor Barb Nelson said she hopes students recognize the increased workload as they travel through high school.
“As you get into 10th, 11th and 12th grade, it is more pressure, more demands, whether it’s work or things with family,” Nelson said. “You just have to be aware of how you are as a student and how you manage your own time and where you put your energies.”
Senior Jake Olson said he recommends to asses where one might need to spend more time and adjust one’s schedule accordingly.
“It really depends on that certain person when they’re trying to manage their time or a busy workload. The most important thing is prioritizing and recognizing what subjects or tests you’re going to struggle more with and make more time for that,” Olson said.
Bartels said the amount of sleep one receives is important to help balance everyday life.
“I don’t know any high schoolers who can get 10 hours of sleep every night. Maybe if you can only get seven, make it midnight to seven every night,” Bartels said.
Nelson said she encourages students to explore alternate outlets to disengage with stressors from school or extracurriculars.
“Sometimes I ask kids, ‘When is the last time you took a walk?’ I feel like a lot of times kids who put all of that time into studying or sports don’t get that reconnection with the outdoors and nature,” Nelson said.
According to Birkeland, she has found success in using bullet journals to keep her schedule in check.
“A lot of people are getting into bullet journaling, and I think that’s a great way for people to start with time managing,” Birkeland said. “I use my bullet journal, and I write down the date of when something is due or when a big test is coming up for it, and I rank it for what has a bigger priority than others.”
Freshman Dante Garcia Luna said he hopes to spread the importance of time management to friends and students at Park.
“Sometimes I have the ability to lose focus. Put away your distractions that surround you even if it is really hard to get rid of them,” Garcia Luna said.
According to Nelson, she helps to remind students to disconnect from tasks that may overwhelm them.
“It’s really about being able to set that time aside — really shut down and disconnect from things. Taking care of yourself is the bottom line,” Nelson said.