Matt was a high school sophomore who came to us because he constantly felt overwhelmed by the amount of work he had. Up through ninth grade, Matt had had no trouble managing his work and performing at the top of his class, but in tenth grade, Matt’s stress levels went up while his grades went down. We needed to identify which aspects of Matt’s study habits prevented him from doing better, and then help Matt to develop strategies to work at his best.
Matt’s tenth grade schedule was much more rigorous than his ninth grade schedule, and his workload was only going to increase through the rest of high school. Matt had high aspirations and was a hard worker. However, throughout his academic career, Matt had never developed a strategy to plan ahead and prioritize his workload. Instead, he would work on assignments as they occurred to him or when they became urgent, putting himself into a regular cycle of staying up late and turning in hastily-done work. In order to regain control of his workload and life, Matt needed a better way to handle his assignments.
The Signet Solution
Matt’s tutor worked with him to methodically analyze his current work habits. Through this process, both Matt and his tutor saw the vicious cycle Matt was perpetuating and how it was affecting his work.
Matt and his tutor then worked to develop a system that would allow him to plan ahead and prioritize his work. Using his syllabus, a planner, and a whiteboard, Matt mapped out his remaining assignments for the semester and worked backwards to plan when he would start these assignments. Matt and his tutor also developed specific processes for the assignment types that usually derailed him (lab reports and papers) so that he would know exactly what to do to complete those projects. By meeting consistently and checking in regularly via text message, Matt’s tutor helped him reinforce the new habits needed to maintain a healthy work style.
Within six weeks, Matt showed remarkable improvements in his ability to handle his workload. Matt was able to internalize the system he built with his tutor and apply it to future assignments, modifying the approach where needed. He was able to plan ahead, prioritize what had to be done on a particular day, and, most importantly, regain control of his life.