Is a Paper To Do List Effective?

Some people — and most teens — think they really love online To Do lists. Other folks — mostly adults — love purchasing the latest, hippest paper planner to try and track their To Do’s that way.

Recently I had a client, a 16-year-old young man, who decided that the online To Do? apps are just not working for him, and he’d like to go with a paper To Do? list instead. He asked me for suggestions for how to organize it.

In this video, I give you the same demo I gave my client. Check it out, and see if you think this might work for you!? 

How to Get Work done While You Travel

?Do you often intend to get school work done when you travel during breaks, but then can’t quite bring yourself to do it?

More and more of my clients these days have at least one, if not more, plane rides during the course of their school year.

These same clients are also the kind of students who often have late work they need to catch up on!

In this video, I talk about how one of my clients came up with a “Plane Plan” in advance of his trip, so that he could make better use of his time on the airplane. This plan was very successful in helping him follow through with his goals. Check out the video to find out how.?

Make sure you come up with your plan in advance so you have a solid idea and can stick to it!

How to Procrastinate Less on Weekends!

Do you ever struggle to take action on important school tasks on weekends? I certainly do, and I’m 44 years old! Imagine being 16!

Recently a client revealed that she’d had another weekend of just “laying around”. She knew she had work to do, but she just couldn’t do it.

We realized that one of the problems was that she hadn’t made a detailed enough plan for exactly what needed to get done.

Check out this video, where I compare the plan she had made with the plan she probably SHOULD have made.

Here are some quick notes from the white board in this video of tips on how to plan what you need to get done on the weekend:

If you need more study tips and ideas on how to plan your weekends and get things done for your school week ahead have a look at The Anti-Boring Approach!

If Assignments Are Online, Do You Really Need a Planner?

Most high schools these days have online portals where teachers track what assignments are due and when. Because of this, I often have students complain — do I REALLY need to write my assignments down? After all, they’re online already!!

This week I had two situations with clients in which I finally had PROOF of why it is indeed important to re-write those assignments in a planner. Tune into the video, where I share the Google Calendar I use with students and I show you what my clients and I noticed today.

 Check out the video:

 

Don’t have time for the full video? No worries, here’s a short summary:

A lot of times students think because they have online when assignments are due then they do not need to keep track of them in a planner. In this video I show you that it is important to plan out assignments because sometimes you’ll have assignments that are all due on the same day. You shouldn’t be rushing to get everything done in one day. Plan out the days you are actually going to be completing the assignments on Google Calendar so that you do not put yourself in a bind.

If you are a teacher, tutor, or academic coach, or perhaps even a parent, interested in learning more about not only planning for your students, but about how to help your students become independent learners and test-taking powerhouses, please consider checking out my course, The Art of Inspiring Students to Study Strategically.

5+ Oddly Effective Tools That Build Great Habits with Thomas Frank

Back in July 2015, I presented a webinar, “5+ Oddly Effective Tools That Build Great Habits” with special guest Thomas Frank, from CollegeInfoGeek.com. This webinar was to help introduce high schoolers and college students to some unique and potent tools that they could use, and Thomas was excellent, showing us a wide variety of tools that were unique, creative, and very effective that everyone could add to their toolboxes.

So tune in to see what crazy ideas Thomas shared with us.

The tools demonstrated in this video are quite a few, and a summary wouldn’t do the video justice; however, I do want to give you all the links to the different applications and sites mentioned in the video.

Buffer, Tool, Tools, Habits, Habit, Thomas Frank, Gretchen Wegner, High School, CollegeBuffer is a social media management suite. It allows you to schedule posts, set up a queue of repeatable posts, etc. for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.

IFTTT is an application that allows you to connect two different websites/applications. In the video, IFTTT is used to connect Beeminder with Buffer, so that when a post from Buffer goes live, a data point gets added to Beeminder.

Beeminder, Tool, Tools, Habits, Habit, Thomas Frank, Gretchen Wegner, High School, College

Beeminder is a website application that allows you to have a system of accountability for your goals. You can set up goals, and if you don’t complete the goals, then you have to pay Beeminder. So, for example, if you don’t send out one post on Facebook a week then you have to pay $5 for each one you miss per week.

Habitica, HabitRPG, Habit RPG, Tool, Tools, Habits, Habit, Thomas Frank, Gretchen Wegner, High School, College

Habitica/HabitRPG is a habit tracking website. Effectively this website is a game based on your habits. The more habits or routines you complete, the stronger you get and the better you do. You can do a wide variety of things here, so here’s an example of what you can do: Let’s say you want to make sure you do your HW every day. You can schedule out your HW that you have in your planner, and then every day you can check it off, and you’ll gain EXP, items, etc.

ToDoist is a great place to keep track of all your tasks that you need to take care of. You can add tasks here to keep track of everything that you need to take care of.

Google Calendar is basically a planner that’s online. You can use it to schedule out all your time in a visual schedule. This offers a wide variety of features, including multiple calendars that can be turned on/off easily, time slots that can be overlapped and color coded, and much more.

As you can see there were a variety of tools listed in the video, and the system surrounding these were even better, not to mention starting at around 39:00 minutes into the video, Gretchen and Thomas answer a wide variety of questions from high school and college students. For a little sample, there’s one discussion about part-time jobs, another question about meta-habits, and so much more!

If you found this useful, I highly suggest you check out Thomas’s site, CollegeInfoGeek.com. He has a regular blog, podcast, and more for college students with tips and advice. And you can get even more tools and tips in my course, The Anti-Boring Approach.

Why the Word “Study” is the Worst Word to Write in Your Planner

Never Write the Word “Study” in Your Planner. Here’s Why.

It doesn’t take long for a teenager who’s just started working with me to learn this — I hate the word “study.”

Well, obviously that’s not completely true. My passion is teaching students to study strategically, and I couldn’t do this work if the word “study” weren’t involved. However, I do believe strongly that the word study does NOT belong in a student’s planner or To Do list. Neither does the word “review.” Check out the video for a full description of why.

Hey there, don’t have time for the full video? No worries, I’ve got your back. Here’s a summary:

I was working with a client recently on the skill “verberizing,” which is about finding really strong specific words for the tasks that you need to do when you are doing homework or studying to make it an easy instruction for you and your brain to know exactly what you need to do next. Now before we continue, I want you to look at the following four options and think about which of these would be the best way to verberize “study french” in her planner.

Gretchen Wegner, The Anti-Boring Approach To Powerful Studying, Academic Life Coach, Academic Coaching, Academic Coach, Why the Word "Study" is the Worst Word to Write in Your Planner, How to study, How to use a planner,

My client had written, “Study French,” to which I cringed and said, “Eeeh, I don’t like that.” Of course, she responded, “Oh my god Gretchen you always make me change these,” and I thought it was rather funny, but said, “I know, so let’s do it.” Next, she erased “Study French” and wrote “Review Subjunctive.” I still said it wasn’t clear enough. Then she wrote, “Go over Subjunctives.” This was getting there, but “go over” still doesn’t tell me what she needs to be doing. It’s very broad, and I can’t picture in my mind what the steps would be for “go over subjunctives.” So I had her change it one more time. This time she wrote, “Finish subjunctive worksheets.” This was MUCH better. You see she realized she had unfinished worksheets for subjunctives, and what better way is there to study subjunctives than to finish the worksheets – a readily available tool. Not to mention this tells her exactly what she needs to be doing next.

Now you might be wondering, why is writing super specific instructions in your planner so important. Well, the answer is that “verberizing,” or making sure your planner has crystal clear instructions, is important because it helps ensure that your brain has no excuses about following through on your plan/to-do as the instructions are so simple and crystal clear.

If you’d like more instructions and information about “verberizing,” including an extensive list of verbs you can use in your planner, you should check out my course!

How to Make Time Visible… and Feel Less Anxious Too

All too often, the teens with whom I meet tell me, “Oh, I don’t have much to do. I can remember it all in my head.”

Sometimes that’s true! But more often, we discover that they DON’T have their “to do list” as down as they think they do.

In this video, I share a story about a client who recently gave me this line, how I handled it, and what he discovered in the process!

Hey there, don’t have time for the full video? No worries, I’ve got your back. Here’s a summary:

With the start of the new semester, a client I’ve been working with a couple of years now was telling me how he was sure that this year he didn’t need to get any time management systems going again this year. So I shared some brain facts I have in my Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying and then I asked him, given the facts I shared and how the working memory needs things to be as clean and clear as possible if he’d be up for just practicing a planner to make time visible. So we devised a time tracking sheet that worked for him.

Gretchen Wegner | How to Make Time Visible | Reduce Anxiety | Time Management | Organization

After we created this blank chart, which we called the week sheet, he looked up everything he needed to do and what he needed to take care. After a little bit and it was all mapped out, some of which he needed to my help to be reminded of – mainly the major due dates for the future – I asked him, “How does it feel now that we’ve put all of this out there?”

Gretchen Wegner | How to Make Time Visible | Reduce Anxiety | Time Management | Organization

His response, I felt, was absolutely amazing. He said, “Before it felt fine, but now it feels better. I couldn’t actually tell how much anxiety I was feeling before, but now that we have it all mapped out in that chart, I don’t have to struggle to remember anything anymore and I didn’t realize that was causing me anxiety, but now that I feel better I realize it was.” I thought that was so smart of him, as a junior in high school, to be able to articulate that kind of understanding of his experience.

If you want more tips to reduce anxiety or time management, then I have tons of them in the Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying, which you can learn more about by clicking here.

An Essential Daily Routine For Students

Do you ever get started on your homework and realize you have NO IDEA how to do the assignment?

This happened recently to a client of mine, and it caused him to lose points because he ended up turning the assignment in late. For students with ADD and other attentional difficulties, missing one assignment can snowball out of control. So it’s important to find routines that ensure that NOTHING gets in the way of turning work in on time.

Check out this video to find out more details about the new daily routine my client discovered he needs.

Hey there, don’t have time for the full video? No worries, I’ve got your back, here’s a summary:

It’s a new semester and one of my clients, a junior in high school, just had his first late assignment. He said he turned in an assignment a day late, and while he did get it turned it, he lost points. So I asked him, “why did this happen? What occurred that you ended up turning this in late?” Evidently, he had left the classroom before reading over the assignment and so when he got home he realized he didn’t know how to do it. So he had to wait until the next day to ask the teacher how to do it, even though it was due that day. I then asked him, “what was the lesson here?” to which he gave me a great response:

Gretchen Wenger | The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying Online | Assignements | Daily Routine | Time Management |

Any student, whether you are in high school, college, university, or some other level of education, can benefit from developing this daily routine. I promise that if you look over all assignments and actually think about what you’ll need to do to complete them before leaving the teacher’s presence, you will solve a lot of your time management woes.

If you want to learn more time management tips, or other great habits, then I encourage you to check out my course by clicking here.

A Trick for Using Lecture Notes to Study for Tests

Are you good at taking detailed notes during lectures, but then struggle to know what to DO with those notes later on? In a different but related question, are your test grades disappointingly low, given the amount of time you study?

Often the way we use our notes (both inside and outside of class) directly affects how well we are able to perform on tests. In this video I give a few ideas about how to study for upcoming tests by “honing” your lecture notes. Tune in to get the details.

If you’re in too much of a hurry to watch this 3 min video, I get it! Here’s a quick summary: 

My Client’s Problem: I just got a text message from a college freshman who is really struggling. It’s mid-semester and he’s realized none of his old high school strategies are going to work for college. He’s getting really low grades on tests, and needs to change that.

Our Solution: It was clear that he needed to learn how to hone his notes. I had him work through the note taking part of my online course The Anti-Boring Approach, and then taught him a couple of specific skills related to his Psychology classes: (1) Summarize all the terms, definitions, and examples from his notes into a chart, and (2) create a fake textbook by looking through all the notes, think about what the major headings might be if he were a textbook writer, as well as what diagrams or bullet points might help bring all his notes together. The main idea is to rewrite your notes, to hone them, so they take much less space and require you to think actively about the information, so that you’re turning it into something that makes sense to YOUR brain, not just your teacher’s brain.

This tip is just one little piece of my step-by-step system for raising your grades with less stress. Click here to find out more about the whole system.

A Tech Tip for Students Who Loses Assigments

Do you (or a student you love) lose a lot of your assignments?

I have a couple of clients who consistently SWEAR they’ve turned in an assignment, only to have the teacher SWEAR they haven’t. These clients sometimes re-do a single handwritten assignment 2-3 times before they finally get it turned in.

Technology to the rescue! Today I share a simple smart phone app that takes seconds to use, and saves these kinds of organization-challenged students lots of time. Watch the video to find out more:

 

And as always, be sure to check out my Anti-boring approach to Powerful Studying! You won’t be disappointed.

College Prep Podcast #128: How to Help Teens Get Control of Their Schedules

screen-shot-2016-09-06-at-12-51-23-pmManaging time is hard for anyone in this modern world, and teenagers struggle more because their brains are still developing.

Gretchen shares one time management trick that she does with all her clients, and it really helps them see time in a new way.

Tune in today as Gretchen and Megan discuss:

  • The difficulty of the transition from a summer schedule to a school schedule,
  • The importance of “making time visible” for teens,
  • A specific way that Gretchen makes time visible for her teen clients,
  • How to use a variety of systems to help get control of your schedule, so that you’re not dependent on one way.

As promised in this episode, here is the screen shot of her work with the client who is described in this episode:

Sample Calendar for One of Gretchen's Clients

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Handy Tool for College Students to Start the Semester

I’m excited to share with you a handy tool for college students.

This was taught to me by a real live student (shout out to Harrison!). He is a sophomore in college and interned with me over the summer.
I LOVE this tool that he makes for himself, and I wanted to share it with you all — including a tweak or two that I’d make to it.

Check out the video, and then PLEASE forward it to any college students you know could benefit from this handy little one-page organizational tool.

For more time management and study solutions for students, parents and educators, please sign up for the Anti-Boring Approach to Successful Studying Course HERE

How to Read a 400 Page Book in under Two Hours, Part 1/4

What if I told you it was possible to read a 400-page book in under two hours?

You wouldn’t believe me, right?

This summer I had a stack of books I wanted to catch up on, but I only had limited time. So I challenged myself to skim each of the books as quickly as possible.

In this week’s video, I walk you through the first step in how to read efficiently and effectively. You don’t have to read every word in order to walk away with the main idea, after all! Enjoy.


Stay tuned for Part 2 in this four-part series next week.

For more time management and study solutions for students, parents and educators, please sign up for the Anti-Boring Approach to Successful Studying Course HERE

Tips to Wrap Up the Summer without Stress

Tips to wrap up the summer without stressThe beginning of the school year is always crazy and stressful for families.

But if you follow these tips for wrapping up the summer, you’ll save yourself some stress later on.

It’s an investment of time that’s well worth it. 

Here’s the basic checklist:

  • Update your resume
  • Get basic school supplies before stores run out
  • Finish the summer assignments
  • Make appointments to talk to people from school
  • Put all the dates from the school’s calendar into YOUR calendar
  • send thank you’s to anyone who helped you
  • Ask for recommendation letters
  • Attend orientation
  • Write goals for the year

Now listen in so that you can hear Megan and Gretchen’s commentary about each one!

Four Awesome Apps to Learn To Use This Summer

Do you have trouble keeping track of all of your To Do Lists and School Projects?

There are so many awesome apps out there to help you manage your time. Since it is summer, this is a perfect opportunity to discover and play with new time management applications.

In this video, I discuss a flashcard tool “Anki”, newly improved “Habitica”,  alert app “Way of Life” and organizational tool, “ToDoist”.

Would you like more creative solutions to time management and study woes? Check out my online course the Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying. It’s great for grown-ups and teens alike.

Here’s An Easy Fix to a Teen Calendaring Problem

Time management and organization are vital pieces for successful study habits and grades.

All too often, students do not have their cell phones or calendars attached to their laptops. In this video, I offer a simple way to connect and see the “big picture” of what needs to be done each week.

I am hoping everyone can benefit from this helpful tip!

For more helpful time management and study solutions for students, parents and educators please sign up for the Anti-Boring Approach to Successful Studying Course HERE

The Three Steps That Make Homework Go By More Smoothly

Does work seem to take forever, and you wonder when the homework nightmare will end?

One of my clients was so frustrated with how long homework takes, that we discussed three steps to make it feel like it’s going by more quickly.

To find out what brilliant nugget came from our coaching sessions, watch the 3-minute video posted above.

What experiences do you have making homework go by more smoothly? I’d love to hear from you.