You've spent 7 hours at school listening, following directions, taking notes, writing, reading, solving problems, offering your insights, navigating the hallways, being polite to your teachers and peers, organizing your "stuff", and so on...at least that's what you should be doing, right? And you have to do it all over again tomorrow.
When the final bell rings, shift #2 begins. It's another 7ish hours until bed time.
Some of you go straight home. Others might stay at school for a club or practice. And then suddenly it's bed time! How did the afternoon/night go so fast? Isn't it hard to believe that your afternoon/night is just as long as the school day?
Because you've been scheduled all day long, you might want to abandon the notion of a schedule after school - to just go with the flow and do things when you feel like it. Sometimes that approach works, and sometimes it doesn't.
Scheduling your time after school can be helpful in many ways. Here is how it might help students with different levels of after school commitments:
The Too Much Time on My Hands Student
You come home right after school every day. You are not involved in any clubs or sports. The 7 hours you have after school is fully yours. Without any structure or time constraints it can be very easy to wait until 9:00 PM to get started on your homework. And once you get started you might realize you have a lot more homework than you thought!
If you have a lot of time on your hands, consider creating a daily after school routine. Maybe you relax for the first hour after school and then spend the next hour to two hours doing homework. Then schedule in some "Me Time" - actually write down something enjoyable that you will do for the evening! Adding structure to your evening will motivate you to complete your work earlier by awarding yourself some much deserved "me time".
The Too Much on My Plate Student
You have so much going on! You play basketball for the school and travel soccer. Most nights you have two practices. You are always on the go and trying to finish work in between. Your schedule can be overwhelming and it feels like you have no down time!
By writing down your schedule and seeing it on paper, you may be able to identify tiny slots of time where you can fit in homework or "me time". Also, if you write out the entire week's schedule on Sunday night, you can begin planning how you will use your time for the week ahead. For example, if you have a test on Friday and see that you have only one practice on Wednesday, that may be a better time for you to study for your test than on Thursday night.
The Well Balanced Student
You are involved in an after school club and have piano lessons once a week. You are doing enough to give you some structure after school, but not too much to make you feel like you have no control over your nights. You can still make the most of your evenings by scheduling in your homework time and "me time". Try to get creative with your "me time" so that you are truly enjoying yourself and not just "wasting" the time away.
Don't worry about being too strict with your schedule or following it exactly. The big idea here is to sketch out your afternoon so that you know what you are getting into and can hopefully make time for both your commitments and yourself. Also, writing down your schedule will help you to better process what you need to do for the night, and it might even encourage you to come up with some fun "me time" ideas!