Monday, December 2, 2013

Task-oriented or Time-oriented?

How do you do school work when you get home? Are you task-oriented or time oriented? What does that even mean?

Being task-oriented simply means that you focus on the tasks at hand and work off of that list:

  1. History: Complete the worksheet
  2. Math: Answer problems 21-39, odd
  3. English: Read chapters 3-4 and write sentences for this week's vocab list
  4. Spanish: conjugate the verbs on this week's list
  5. Science: study for TOMORROW's test!
And how long does it take to complete the tasks on your to-do list? 45 minutes? 60 minutes? What does it really mean to study? Why would you stop at the odd problems? How did you do on the last test? Will that information ever be on any other tests to come?

Have you considered becoming more...

Being time-oriented means that you focus on the time that you spend, devoting your efforts to one content at a time.

  • Your parents tell you that being a student is your full time job: You're in class 45 minutes x 7 periods = 315 minutes per day x 5 week days = 1575 minutes per week / 60 minutes = 26.25 hours per week.
  • A full-time job is approximately 40 hours per week.
  • How should you spend the remaining 14 hours?
  • 14 hours / 5 days = 2 3/4 hours per day
How can you spend 2 hours and 45 minutes on school work each day after school?

  • Arrive home at 3:15, grab a snack
  • 3:30-4:00: spend 30 minutes on your hardest class, while you have the most energy
  • 4:00-4:30: spend 30 minutes on an easier class for a mental break
  • 4:30-5:00: spend 30 minutes on a harder class before dinner
  • 6:00-6:30: eat dinner (including your veggies) and ask your family about their day
  • 6:30-7:00: spend 30 minutes on a challenging class
  • 7:00-7:30: spend 30 minutes on a challenging class
  • 7:30-8:00: spend 30 minutes on the class where you're currently earning your best grades
  • 8:00-10:00: watch the TV shows you've DVR'ed all afternoon, check in on social media, tweet/post something positive
  • 10:00 shower (if that's your thing at night) and GO TO BED!
MAJOR CAVEAT: Honors and AP classes usually need closer to 60 minutes to ensure greater success.

Now, how should you spend the time that you are devoting to each class? Take your pick:

  • Complete the assigned homework
  • Re-write today's notes
  • Re-read today's notes
  • Pre-read for tomorrow's topic
  • Re-read old assessments
  • If you were assigned odd problems, try the even ones
  • Look up words that confuse(d) you
  • Check YouTube/Khan Academy for reviews of topics that confuse(d) you
  • If you still have time, do some practice problems for the SAT and ACT
  • If you still have time, read for pleasure.
Sorry; simply passing is not good enough. You need to do the best that you can do in order to maximize options for after high school.
It's fine to make a mistake once in a while; that's part of life, and a big part of adolescence. But you mustn't let your mistakes define you, and what you learn from your mistakes are a greater measure of your character than any achievement that came without effort.

By the way, this post - and the concept - was inspired by an inspiring book - Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell.