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Bust that burnout!

You were psyched to polish off all those totally intense term papers before holiday break. Finally, a little time off to chill. But now it's 2005, and your schoolwork's piling up higher than Mt. Everest! Plus, you're squeezing in play rehearsal and basketball practice--and time with your buds and BE Oh, and let's not forget to mention how gross the weather is.

Feelin' fried? Well, it's time to shake the winter blahs right here, right now. Just follow GL's poppin'-fresh strategies for leering motivated, figuring out your true priorities, getting organized, keeping focused and staying productive. You'll have a groovy new outlook, plus way more energy and enthusiasm.

THE SENSATION OF INSPIRATION

You might think overwork is what's draggin' you down like a 30-pound backpack. And pushing your brain and bod to the limit is a biggie in why you feel bleck. But an even heftier factor? Attitude. You're simply not psyched like you were at the start of school.

Back then, you felt revved to ace new activities. Now, you're caught up in the drudgery of it, and it's energy-zapping. Give your motivation a shot in the arm by tweaking your perspective. An effective way to do this? Pick a role model who handles her tough schedule well while still enjoying life big-time. Maybe your mom, who juggles her job and the fam, all with a fat smile on her face. Or Natalie Portman, who handled Harvard and ruling the galaxy as Queen Amidala.

Think about this cool chick's qualities. Does she have a go-for-it sense of adventure? A knack for details? A swell sense of humor? On a rocky day, ask yourself, "What would Mom do in this situation?" A new outlook helps you see fresh ways to solve problems.

BE YOUR OWN MAGIC 8 BALL

Preventing yourself from being buried by an avalanche of history homework can seem mighty impossible. But how fab would life be if you could get totally organized by knowing all your assignments for the rest of the year? How? Just ask. Make an appointment to talk to each teach. Find out who's willing to give you a heads-up on upcoming assignments and exams. Some teachers may not go for this, but if even just one teacher will give it up, it'll help keep you less pressure-cooked.

BE A MAD SKILL-BUILDER

Your New Year's resolution was to learn tennis, so you joined the school club. Turns out, you're no Williams sister--figuring out how to score a match, perfecting your backhand and mastering your forehand are all just way too much for you. You're really starting to dread those twice-a-week drills.

Put that frustration on pause. The problem isn't tennis; it's biting off more than you can chew and trying to swallow it in one big gulp. Thinking about the next skill you've gotta learn before you've even dealt with the one in front of you does a number on your self-confidence--and that sucks the fun right out of the game. No doubt, the tennis pro wants you to fully understand one part of the game before moving on to the next. So if you feel rushed or confused, by all means, speak up.

Give this tip a whirl: At practice, focus every ounce of concentration only on the task at hand. If you're working on improving your serve, your attention should be on just that. Building solid skills is all about staying in the moment. It can be pretty awesome from a stress-busting point of view, to boot. When you tackle one thing at a time, your mind chills, your senses sharpen and you feel more in control.

Use this kind of focus no matter what you're doing--whether it's learning lines for the school play or memorizing math formulas. You'll soak up new bits of knowledge with a lot less effort.

THE USE-IT-OR-LOSE-IT RULE

Supermodel Kate Moss has said she practices the law of "use it or lose it" when it comes to fashion: She gives her outfit an honest look in the mirror, pinpoints one thing she's wearing that isn't necessary (like an extra bracelet) and takes it off. Then she knows her look is balanced. Believe it or not, you can work the same technique to balance your heavy-duty schedule and clearly see your real priorities.

Sit down with a pencil and paper, and list everything you do on a typical school day, breaking it down hour by hour. Start at the crack o' dawn (getting up, showering, dressing, downing breakfast, pit-stopping on the way to school to buy a granola bar at the drugstore--you get the drift). Note all of your classes and activities; add in homework, chores, phone chats, Web-surfing, the whole shebang 'til bedtime.

Now, go over the list one item at a time. Ask yourself, "Do I absolutely have to do this?" Obviously, classwork, eating and sleeping fall into the have-to category. If so, check the item. Looking at each item that remains unchecked, ask yourself, "Do I get any benefit out of doing this? Is it fun? Drab? Am I learning anything from it? Does it make me feel good about myself?. Is it winding my nerves tighter than a yo-yo?" If your answers are negative, cross it off the list.

The items you'll have left on the list can get check-marks. They're the things you truly find useful, neat and important, so they get to stick. Your priorities are now way clearer, and you can stop wasting time doing stuff you're better off passing on.

THE TRICK IS TREATING YOURSELF

To stay on top of your workload, give yourself great stuff to look forward to. Treat yourself weekly to something you really dig--a caramel sundae with nuts, an Orlando Bloom flick on DVD, a hot-pink pedicure. Block out time on your calendar like you would for a big test--and don't skip out on it! Use it as a reward for finishing a science project or as a self-esteem booster. Go a step further by planning a bigger look-forward-to-it event one weekend a month, it could be an outing to the roller rink with your entire crew. Or maybe you and your BFF could get dressed to the nines and dine at a fancy restaurant. It really keeps life interesting and refreshes you so you can buzz along at top speed at school come Monday. And definitely take advantage of those funky little fun moments that happen out of nowhere. Catch snowflakes on your tongue, pick up every lucky penny you spy on the ground, laugh hard at your BF's jokes!
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Title Annotation:students workload management
Author:Mulcahy, Lisa
Publication:Girls' Life
Date:Feb 1, 2005
Words:1095
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