My family always mutes the commercials. At my house, we have a sort of unspoken rule for watching TV; when the commercials come on, the sound goes off. It’s something my mom started when I was young; to her, it didn’t make sense to sit obediently and learn all about Lay’s newest chip flavor-however tasty it may be. Life is hectic. Every day there are thousands of things that-like advertisements-compete for our attention. The question is, how can we keep our priorities in line and make the most of our time? As summer break comes to a close, here are four life-changing habits to prepare you for academic and lifelong success.
#1. Make Your Bed
Growing up, I never understood the point in making my bed. It will just be a mess again tomorrow. But it turns out that my parents were right: making your bed in the morning is one of the best habits we can form for success. Why? Because it sets the tone for the rest of the day, creating a pattern of successfully completing our goals. In his 2014 Commencement speech at the University of Texas, Retired Navy Admiral William H. McRaven said simply, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” Studies have shown that making your bed in the morning can also, lower stress levels and give you a better night’s sleep.
#2. Quit Multitasking
“I’m great really good at multitasking!” If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard that, I’d be a millionaire. If I had a dime for every time I’ve said it, I’d be Bill Gates. The multitasking myth is something we’ve all fallen for at some point or another. Doing five things at once makes us more productive, right? Not exactly. Numerous studies have shown that multitasking causes brain damage, lowers IQ, and decreases overall productivity. In other words, we can accomplish more, by doing less. So, instead of trying to text, study, and binge watch Doctor Who, focus on finishing one task completely, before moving on to the next thing on your to-do list.
#3. Finish the Day Before
It’s every student’s worst nightmare; it’s the night before class when you remember that research paper is due first thing tomorrow morning. College life is hectic; keeping up with bills, assignments, and extra-curriculars. Even with the best time management, time can sometimes slip away from us.
Set an alarm on your phone or tablet as a reminder each of your assignments-even the small ones-marking them as due a day or two before you need to have them in. For bigger assignments, consider carving out an extra week in advance to get it done. This way, you’ll have a built-in buffer for unexpected setbacks: a surefire recipe for stress-free students and happy professors.
#4. Mute the Commercials…Literally.
While muting the commercials is a great metaphor for tuning out distractions and obstacles that crowd our lives, it’s actually a really good idea. Americans watch an Average of 5 hours of TV per day, with about eight minutes of commercials for every thirty-minute block. an hour and twenty minutes of FREE TIME that’s probably already scheduled into your day. What could you do with an extra hour of time every day? Read a book? Study for an exam? The possibilities are endless. Some brave souls even suggest using commercial breaks as quick exercise intervals. Even if you don’t have time to go to the gym, commercial breaks could give you an hour of workout time every day. Get fit just by watching This Is Us? Count me in!
So, there you have it; 4 habits to make your life a bit less stressful this fall. College is stressful. Just remain calm and remember to breathe. Whatever you do, mute the commercials! Unless, of course, Lay’s has a really good new flavor.