Stone ADHD Coaching Blog

    Academic Success in College Includes Managing Your Time

    By Marla Stone, MA

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    A successful college experience means more than just academics. In order to be able to stay in school to enjoy the social aspects of college, however, you have to keep up with your academics. Time managment and asking for help when you need it are crucial to academic success. Here are some tips to help with the process:


    §     Set goals for yourself even if you change them throughout college. Realistic goals help keep you motivated and provide meaning, as well as direction. Focus on getting better and enjoying the learning process, rather than just focusing on getting an “A”.


    §     Keep a weekly calendar, as well as a long-term calendar.  Plan your week and follow it.  In fact, pick a set day and time each week when you will plan out and review your week. Think about your various roles when planning your week (for example, student, soccer player, member of student government) to help you recall your various tasks.  Knowing how to manage your time is crucial to college success. 


    §     Make a date with yourself to study at specific times of day during the week and honor that commitment. Put it on your calendar and commit to using that time for homework. Be just as diligent as you would be if you scheduled a doctor’s appointment.  You will develop a routine for studying. During those times, review class notes within 24 hours after taking them. It doubles your retention rate of material and certainly will be helpful when it comes to studying for exams. 


    §     Ask for help if you need it.  Support is there but you have to be the one to ask for it. Asking for help shows real maturity. If you want someone to review a paper in the writing center, be sure you plan ahead as appointments may book up quickly.  Self-advocacy is another hallmark of college success.


    §     Attend every class.  Professors may base test questions on class notes rather than just text readings. Given the cost of tuition, missing one class could be like throwing away at least $50.00.  If something comes up that absolutely keeps you from getting to class (a high fever, etc.) email your professor before class and see if you need a note from health services to excuse you from the missed class.


    §     Take an active role in your college experience. Own your own journey.




    A Wake-up Call About Your Bedtime Routine

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    posted by Marla Stone Monday 8/22/11 at 10:00 PM


    Waking up in the morning can be quite a challenge for those with ADHD. According to Lucy Jo Paladino, Ph.D. in Find Your Focus Zone, 75-80% of people with ADHD have difficulty sleeping and often it’s because their brain just doesn’t want to slow down. If it’s hard to get to sleep, that means fewer hours of needed sleep and greater difficulty getting up early for that first class the next morning. A frequent lament from students I work with is that they not only have trouble awakening, but they often sleep right through their alarm. Often, parents become the “alarm clock”. As students transition from high school to college, they need to figure out how to get up on their own in the morning- unless they intend to bring their parents along with them to college!


    So, a first step in learning to manage one’s time, a hallmark of college success, is to figure out how to wake up on time. Building self-awareness in this case, means figuring out why it’s hard to wake up in the morning and then determining what to do to ensure you’re up and out the door in time for that first class.  One way to solve this dilemma is actually to examine your bedtime routine.


    1. What time at night are you shutting off your computer and all other electronics? You should do so at least an hour before you plan to get to bed.  TV and computer use actually interfere with our production of melatonin, a hormone that helps to regulate our sleep cycle.
    2. What time did you drink that last cup of coffee? It takes 3-7 hours to eliminate just half of the caffeine in a cup of coffee. That means if you drink a latte at 2:00 PM, at 11:00 PM. ¼ of the caffeine from it is still in your system. It actually takes from 15-35 hours for 95% of the caffeine from a cup of coffee to be eliminated (Find Your Focus Zone). Perhaps it’s caffeine that’s contributing to your inability to fall asleep.
    3. Exercise is great for many reasons.  It’s a terrific way to reduce stress and anxiety, it increases your focus, strengthens your bones, and keeps you fit and healthy.  Just be sure you exercise early enough in the day so you’re not still too energized to get to sleep.
    4. When it’s time for bed and your brain is still racing, try reflecting a bit on your day. Starting with the end of your day, and working backwards, think about what you have done during the course of the day. Also, ask yourself what went well, what got in the way and what you would do differently tomorrow?


                                                      Pleasant dreams!  

    So, once you’ve fallen asleep, how do you get yourself up the next day? I’ll cover that in next week’s blog.