After a long and stressful year, we are finally ready to start anew in 2022. Many of us have set New Year’s Resolutions that focus on personal development, whether that be improving our physical health, or taking on a new hobby.
Likewise, the new year presents an opportunity for students to set academic and extracurricular goals. Many students set outcome-centric goals that may take months to fulfill, and consequently they might lose sight of these goals before completion. Instead of setting outcome-centric goals, students can benefit by shifting their focus from outcomes to processes, or the habits, that influence their performance. For instance, rather than setting the goal of achieving a certain GPA, students can aim to implement more effective time management habits based on performing certain tasks regularly. The question then becomes: How does a task become a habit?
In a recent episode of the Huberman Lab Podcast, Andrew Huberman, a neuroscience professor in the Department of Neurobiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, analyzes the science of habit formation. He recommends a phase-based habit plan that splits the day into three phases:
1. The first phase, around 7AM to 3PM, is when your brain is “action and focus oriented” and has the most energy to overcome the friction that comes with completing a task. This phase is best for completing tasks associated with the habits that you want to acquire most.
2. The second phase, around 4PM to 9PM, is best suited for performing habits that you have already established and require less motivation.
3. In phase three, around 10PM to 7AM, you should be trying to optimize your sleep. Deep rest is necessary for the brain to turn new practices into locked-in habits.
Let’s say a student is underperforming academically because he or she often has missing assignments. This student may want to acquire the habit of using their planner daily. But if the student has already grown accustomed to rarely using a planner, he or she may often forget to write down assignments.
The student can best overcome this friction by using his or her planner in the first phase of the day. Because the first phase largely coincides with the hours of the school day, teachers can be a valuable resource. By dedicating a few minutes for students to practice intentional planning, teachers can help them develop healthy time management habits.
Viinko is excellent for students who want to adopt better time management and organization practices. Instead of asking students to “write down their homework,” have students ViinkIT: input their work with intentionality so they can initiate it successfully.