A Single Habit Now Can Save You Lots of Stress Later

Although it seems like the school year just started a few weeks ago, this a pretty crucial time for the rest of your semester (and year).

To me, it seems, that these next few weeks determine how the rest of your school year will go.

For students here in Kentucky and Indiana, this is the part of the year just before things start getting very busy. With school in full swing, marching band rehearsals several times a week, extra-curricular activities beginning, and All-State practice starting to get serious, the free time that may have existed a few weeks (or even days) ago is all but gone.

That’s why now is the essential part of the year to start making plans and figuring out when and how you’re going to take care of all your commitments.

If you don’t look ahead and make a plan, it’s easy to get buried under the avalanche of approaching work and start to feel stressed. And, not surprisingly, feeling stressed can lead to getting hurt or sick. That, of course, has a knock-on effect. You get put back a week or two now, and it’s hard to catch up. That inability to catch up leads to more stress, which leads to another bout of sickness, which leads to a vicious cycle.

For example, I’ve recently started getting up at about 5:45 every morning. Not because I have to leave the house that early, but because that gives me almost two hours to get some stuff done (mainly a workout, a shower, and a bit of quiet planning time) before the rest of the house is up and active. I do have a plan in the back of my mind to move my wake up a bit earlier to 5 am or maybe even 4 am, but given that work sometimes keeps me out of the house past 9 pm, that may not be possible.

If you want a book to give you a kick in the pants, I can’t recommend the book Discipline Equals Freedom by former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink highly enough.

So, even though we are relatively early in the year, the routines and patterns you set up now will either help or hurt you in coming months.

If you haven’t come up with a good, reliable way to get all your daily commitments done, now is the time to figure out your scheduling. You can use something as simple as a piece of paper or a notebook, or you can check out some of my favorite apps.

No matter what tool(s) or apps you use, though, take the time to get a plan together, to make sure that you don’t get behind and suffer the consequences.

A 5-minute planning session at the beginning and end of the day is all that it takes to keep most people on track. Put that into your calendar and see how much more focused and productive you can be!