What do you value in your life? Take the three seconds necessary to really consider the aspirations you have, or simply what you enjoy doing. For most people, it’s video games, watching Netflix, or something else nice and relaxing. And you know what I want for you? Whether it’s good for you or bad I want you to be able to spend more time doing the thing you love, and less time on the things you are forced to do. Specifically, less time on homework.
First, we must make one thing very, very clear. Homework is not a measure of your success in school. Your measure of success shouldn’t be how well you can act for forces you are forced to act for anyway, it’s how you can pull forward on YOUR goals. Any validation you receive from the teacher from overdoing homework is minuscule towards what you can get from yourself for pursuing the things you want to. Which is why in this post I’m going to outline 4 tips to take back control of your homework while spending as little time on it as possible.
1. Understand what the teachers want
One of the most difficult things to understand in life is that everyone’s life is just as complex as your own. Your teacher, though you likely see them in only one setting, teaching you and your class, has emotions, worries, things they’re looking forward to, and usually none of them have anything to do with you. Once you realise this, you can start to notice things that the teacher’s value in your homework, do exactly that and nothing more, and they won’t bat an eyelid.
For The Quantity Lovers
Now, the vast majority of teachers (despite what they say) value quantity over quality.
Without reading a word of what you’ve written they’ll give a ‘well done’ to two A4 pages stuffed with text almost every time. For these teachers, write a lot, and use a lot of filler words and sentences, but still keep vaguely along with the point of the homework. Also, leave a couple centimetres of space at the end of each line, then cut the paper a bit short lengthwise. Our human senses aren’t adept enough to compare size without a reference, and if your frame of reference (the page) is slightly smaller, then your work will look a lot more than it actually is.
For The Worksheet Lovers
However, there are some classes where completing a worksheet is necessary, and to check them all the teacher will do is ask you to hold up a sheet while she peers at it from her computer at the front of the class. Here, the most time effective strategy is to develop a good relationship with your partner beforehand, and if you’re charming enough they’ll allow you to hold up their sheet, so you do no homework and the teacher’s none the wiser. Unfortunately, this falls flat if the teacher comes to check each homework individually, so the best tactic is to write really big, and if you’re really running low on time to complete it, do the first page, the second page, and the last page. I’ve never seen a teacher check the middle pages in a worksheet.
For The High-Quality Lovers
Finally, for the rare teachers who want high-quality homework. you don’t have much choice but to do it as well as you can. Not all of them are organized though, and some will set a lot of homework and only ask for it about once a month. In these cases, don’t tell them you’ve done your homework on the lesson after you’ve done it, but rather just quietly slip them into your book. That way if in the future you haven’t done the required task, you have a get out of jail free card waiting there as a gift from your past self.
When your doing homework, focus on getting to the minimum point you’re sure the teacher will accept, then move on to the next one. It’s better to do 5 pieces of mediocre homework for five different classes then do great for one and get detentions in the rest, because you can’t get in trouble for not doing great homework, but you can get in trouble for plain not doing homework.
2. Focus, Focus (and Focus)
The secret about homework is that you want to spend as little time doing it as possible, and teacher’s want to spend as little time marking it as possible. The trick is to focus. The amount of time it takes to do something can be worked out using a formula I made called the task time formula. (I swear this has nothing to do with maths and this is the only formula in the post)
There are only two components. Task complexity, because of course a task that requires you to visit China and learn Mandarin then bring back the Dodo from extinction and create the Grand Unified Theory will take longer than a worksheet with a bunch of fractions to add. And focus. The ultimate state of focus would be to have absolutely no thoughts in your head apart from your task, and because your focus would be so high, the task time would be tiny. But most of us prefer to think about absolutely anything but the task we’re on. Even as I write this post I’m thinking about when I’m gonna go have breakfast and about why Spotify isn’t working.
I believe most homework can be completed in under ten minutes with a decent amount of focus. Now that state of focus isn’t going to be exactly fun, but anyone can agree that 10 minutes of homework and 50 minutes of pure enjoyment is better then an hour on a piece of homework on call with your friends. Because at the end of one of them, we feel proud about getting it done so quickly and having time to relax, while in the other we just end up exhausted.
By doing the first two tips, you could already be saving yourself hours of free time lost to homework. Keep reading if you really want to demolish the shackle homework has over your fortress of solitude.
3. Do your future self a favour by doing as little as possible at home
The name is a lie. It’s not for doing at home! Home is the place where (if you have access the internet) all things are possible! Home is where you can sleep. Sweet, precious sleep.
I love teachers who give out homework in class, because they don’t realise that by giving it in class, it’s not homework anymore, it’s classwork. Once you get the homework task your first priority is no longer what you were doing before. You can shove that in your teacher’s face. You need to put all your focus on getting this new work done before the end of the lesson. By stopping the homework from leaving the class in the first place, you allow your mind the freedom of not having another thing to track, and another thing to do.
The hour that goes to waste
But for those regular teachers who give it at the end of class or worse *shudder* make you print it off yourself, what you need to do is take control of your breaks and lunches. This hour or so when you’re trapped in school is the most valuable getting homework done time imaginable. If you eat quick enough, you can hop off to the library and get as much of it done as possible. Use your school’s paper to print off any worksheets that the teacher didn’t give you so you can start doing those in classes you don’t need to worry about (and where your sure the teacher won’t catch you).
You can even go to the extreme and get some food to go at the break, then eat it while doing your work at lunch, though that’s not usually necessary.
Unless your house absolutely sucks, there’s a heck of a lot more things you can do there compared to school. At school, most of the time there is spent sitting down and writing. Which is why instead of doing more school at home (where we could be doing literally anything else), it’s better to double down on work while at school so that you can have plenty of uninterrupted leisure time at home.
It will be tempting to ignore your homework so that you can go and talk to your friends at lunch, or just do anything except homework, telling yourself you’ll do it later. What you need to do in those times is imagine your future self as one of your best friends, and you’ve agreed with them that you’ll give them so much fun time. Being able to remember what your suffering for will be your number one tool in combating the pull of undeserved fun.
4. Get Creative!
You know the phrase ‘the oldest trick in the book’? Well there is definitely a book of tricks for getting away with homework, and one of the best is Google. What are the chances that your homework is truly unique? It’s very common that teachers just search for questions on the internet, and if they can search for questions, you can search for…
Ok, I’m not directly saying you should do anything that could be breaking the rules in your school. You may infer those ellipses to mean whatever you want ;).
Also, if you really are just not bothered, and you are one of those kids who gets a billion pounds a week pocket money, pay another kid to do your homework for you! Just make sure it’s of good quality before you hand over the money.
Or, if you are just miles on top of your homework, create a homework business! Rank up those moneys however you please, though don’t say you got those ideas from here. Shhh!
Too Long; Didn’t Read
- Do the minimum homework your teacher wants you to do to save yourself time
- Focus to get your homework over with as quickly as possible
- Keep your time at home sacred by getting homework done during school hours
- Take advantage of the resources you have ;D
Wow, you made it to the end of this post! Now you know what to do, implement! Take back control of your life and enjoy all the free time you didn’t know you had. Don’t be a sucker for things you don’t want to do, be a consumer and practicer of the things you love the most.