We all want to have less stress in our lives.  We will often to anything and everything we can to avoid even the possibility of having stressful moments.  Interestingly many of us often live with a general low level stress which is present most of the time.  You may have a student who is successful in some or most of her subjects but struggles with some aspect of performance in one particular class.

Taking tests in this class can be particularly challenging if she feels a high level of fear about her ability to succeed in this subject area.  It could also be that she has a very high level of dislike for the subject for any of a number of reasons.  It could be that it requires a lot of memorizing and she feels she does not do that well.  It could be a clash with the teacher’s teaching style.

It will be helpful if your student will find some new study skills and use these as tools to get a job done.  If she can focus on the steps to mastering the material required to succeed on the test and just engage in one step at a time this will make it easier.  The material should be broken into pieces and each piece regarded as a separate learning task.

This approach can help her get through difficult material and make her feel happier while getting the required work completed.  There is usually a lot less pressure in focusing on just one step at a time than in looking at the whole amount of work at once.

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Whether your child or teen had a successful or less than spectacular first semester, beginning a new semester brings a new opportunity. Your student can set new goals, take on new activities, or take their successes from the previous semester to a whole new level.

The important thing for taking full advantage of this fresh new start is to get things of to a great start. If your child can have some immediate successes s/he will experience a surge in self confidence which can be used to launch an ongoing series of short term goals being met. If s/he has been struggling to keep track of her homework papers and now suddenly implements a new system which makes that job much quicker and easier, you will see a new willingness to invest more effort in that area.

The increased effort combined with a powerful system like the Pace-It Instant Organizer Notebook System

Pace-It Instant Organizer Notebook System
, can begin to establish the roots of a new success habit of keeping track of homework papers, quizzes and tests. This will make it so much easier and more rewarding to take the daily steps needed to get the homework completed and turned in on time. If key papers needed for study for tests are collected and organized on a regular basis using a quick and easy system such as the Test Collection Home Storage Kit portion of the Pace-It System, students with attention or executive function challenges are far more likely to be motivated to study more fully and effectively for their tests and exams.

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Sometimes students just “get behind.”  Drip, drip, drip!  It is so easy for the student to slip just a little bit at a time.  Why, at first it is hardly noticeable.  A homework turned late over here, a paper or project turned in a day late over there, and a missing homework over here.  Now as you face final exams in just a week or 2  suddenly it turns out you are quite a bit behind!  What can be done if things are not where they should be in terms of being ready for the exam week?

The bad news is that this can be an extremely difficult to handle especially if the student has a lot of after school activities that continue right up to exam week.  Now matter how much the student loves the sport, school play, or activity there is still the fact of finals to be dealt with.

It is critical for the student who has fallen behind, to study at peak levels if (s)he is going to be successful on final exams. The good news is that some powerful tools can help the student get more learning and review done in less time.

To help the student get organized and ease the burden of successfully preparing for finals, you can get two great tools at:

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If you are procrastinating or having trouble getting started on a tough assignment, here is a powerful new technique. It’s called the “Nothing But Red Box” technique.

It is very simple.

1. You isolate ONE and only one task for your “Nothing But Red Box” time period.
2. Decide how many minutes will be in this time box and make a note of that. You will need to successfully estimate the full amount of time needed for this.
3. Take a red medium point marker and trace or draw a red box around the box you have selected.
4. Commit to doing “Nothing But” this single task you have written inside the red box.
5. Commit to thinking “THING But” what you have written in the res box.
6. If you finish early that’s great! Just ignore the rest of the box and enter your next task in the remaining space in the red box.
7. Draw a red line under the task you completed to show then end of the time period you needed to finish and then move on to the next time period on your calendar. (If you did not finish and need to put in more time than the initial 50 minutes.
8. Decide if you will be moving on to a new task or continuing the same one. If you are continuing just write in that task for the next 50 minute time block and draw another red box around that.

Now take a moment to acknowledge yourself for completing the first “Nothing But” Red Box. (I said it was simple. I did not say it was easy. Give yourself credit and a round of applause for sticking to your plan.

You must prepare to perform in the red box time slot on your calendar. If you see a red box coming up on your hourly calendar you must prepare however far in advance so you are ready to begin the task when the minute hand on your clock hits that exact minute.

If you see this “Nothing But WRITING REPORT Red Box” and you can see that red marker line around that box from 4:00pm to 4:50pm, then you will get a drink of water or gather your supplies or whatever else you need to do so you can start taking the ACTION written in the red box at PRECISELY 4:00.

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As the new school year approaches it is time for the student to set goals and make maximum achievement the priority.

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Summer is a great time to help your child get organized for success in school and in life.

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Finals Are Coming!

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Is Spring break time too early to start planning for finals?  You can gain a surprising advantage by starting to plan and prepare for finals far ahead of time.

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It happens to almost everyone at some time or another.  You look at the clock and wonder where the day went.  You meant to start that paper two weeks ago.  Not just one week ago but two whole weeks ago.  You look at your calendar one more time vaguely hoping to discover that it is not really Thursday.  It’s only Wednesday.  An extra day would really come in handy right now since the biggest paper of the term is due on Friday.

You scroll through the outline one last time and now you must start writing.  Your mind is a blank as you stare at the screen.  You check your iPhone one more time wondering if you are the only one who is just starting this paper at this late date.  No new text messages.  You are all alone in this mess.

Then you remember.  The “nothing but” moment.  It didn’t seem important on Monday in the study skills class.  In fact your best friend rolled his eyes and laughed quietly.  But right now you would do anything to get this blasted paper done.

You remember how it worked.  Just pick one single small point on the outline and write a sentence about it.  Then write a sentence to tell a bit more about the first sentence.

Now you pick another one.  You add one more sentence.  Then you pick a point that follows the one you just did.

Now you have a little momentum and each moment seems to stay with you a little longer and give you a bit more time to work.  It is not the number of moments you have, it is whether those moments are on your side.

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Organized, calm and confident!

8th grade is a critical transitional grade in the school career of any student.  If the 8th grade is completed with a flourish of success and the student has performed at or near her potential that gives them a feeling and expectation of success for the coming transition into high school.  It will be enough of a shock to go from being socially at the top of the heap as the senior most group in the middle school to being lowly freshmen in their new high school.  Students also sometimes are going from a smaller middle school into a very large high school.  That change of environment alone can be a real jolt.

If the student has unresolved issues with organizational skills coming out of middle school, the first year of high school can often be extremely difficult.  Now they are in a larger noisier and more chaotic environment and there is far less individual attention at the high school level.

For the student who struggled with being disorganized in middle school but who adopted a powerful student organizer notebook system like the Pace-It Instant Organizer Notebook System, managing the stepped up demands of 9th grade will be much easier.  If the student knows she has a proven system she can rely on she will approach the new demands of high school academics with poise and confidence. 

This will leave her free to focus on the actual demands of mastering the content of each course rather than always rummaging around to find various papers and materials she needs just to do the work.  She will be happier and more enthusiastic about doing the work if her effort can be directed at the academic challenges themselves rather than wasting time and effort just to pull together the materials needed just to get started on the actual work to be done.

This better feeling and extra sense of confidence will actually cause her to operate at a higher performance level while doing the work.  This means she will turn out a higher quality work product and do it in less time.

It is a great investment of both time and money to get your 8th grade student into an organizing system so that she will have time to get into the habit of using it.  She will also experience a tremendous lift in confidence level if she can master the formerly difficult task of keeping up with all of her homework papers and materials. 

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Are Your Critical Things Getting Done?

Time Box Trading is a time management system which gives you some flexibility and freedom while making certain that the most important things actually do get done.  One of the most difficult challenges for students is the leaning toward ease and spontaneous fun moments while still managing to meet their daily responsibilities.

Many will resist tight hour by hour scheduling outside of school but the truth is by the time you add in all the scheduled after school and weekend activities there is often very little time left over.  Unfortunately these conflicts can result in the child or teen having a generally unfocused way of doing things which usually leads to stress or disaster of some kind.

With the Time Box Trading method you put activities and commitments in hour long boxes (usually divided into 1/2 or 1/4 hour segments) and move them if the need arises.  For many students this leads to the usual running out of time to finish the project or study for that big test.

When you are doing the Time Box Trading system you can be flexible but after you have run out of “Flex Boxes” your only choice is to LOCK DOWN the remaining boxes and finish your important task.  This is best done by putting a heavy red outline around the boxes which must be locked.  If you always keep the commitments in the locked red outlined boxes at least the critical things will get done! 

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