How Can I: Get It All Done?

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With sports, chorus, and school, how can I find time for myself? I wish I could hang out with friends more, and I also want to learn to play the ukulele. 

—Emily, 13, is a Choices Teen Advisor and student at McCloskey Middle School in Uxbridge, Massachusetts.

“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” President Eisenhower once spoke these wise words, which evolved into the Eisenhower Method—a system for prioritizing tasks, eliminating sneaky time-suckers, and finding more minutes for the stuff that truly matters to you. Here’s how to use it:

1. Jot down a list of what you need and want to do this week.

2. Go through item-by-item, asking yourself these two questions: 

-- Is it urgent? Dot it! These are tasks that you feel you need to do immediately (think: answering texts or emails).

-- Is it important? Star it! This is stuff that moves you toward your long-term goals—from studying your way to A’s, to learning the ukulele.

3. Create your action plan: If it’s urgent and important—tomorrow’s homework, for example—do it immediately. If it’s important to you but not urgent, schedule a time to do it later. (Yes, literally type “practice ukelele” into your calendar app!) 

And if it doesn’t fit into either category? It can wait. There will always be time for Snapchat, but saving it as a reward will push you through the crucial/tough stuff! 

 Need Advice?  From study skills to friend drama, we’ve got you covered. Submit your Qs to choicesmag@scholastic.com or let us know by clicking here

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