A World Without Wednesdays

“I’m dying! I’ve gotten almost zero sleep in between sports and all my homework and studying, I just need my Wednesdays back,” says high school senior Janae Allen, “I’ve fallen asleep in everyplace with a chair on campus. I don’t think I can keep this up much longer.” As late grades pile up and all-nighters increase, Ursuline students accustomed to community days desperately search for a way out of their productivity slump in order to save their sanities and sleep schedules.

In between staying online for the entire school year, to going in person every day; 2020 school’s situations varied all around the city. Ursuline’s original hybrid schedule, where students came every other day in separate cohorts, birthed the start of the famous community days. Strategically placed in the middle of the week, the community days allowed both students and teachers to stay home and use the day for their own productivity.

 Community days were so popular with the Ursuline community that they were continued throughout the full in-person fall semester as well. Senior Caroline McDaniel says, “I don’t even know how I survived going to school for five days in a row” and even teacher, Mr. Fred Schneider says, “I’m sure the teachers appreciated having Wednesdays off more than you guys [Ursuline students].”

Sadly, Ursuline’s 2021 schedule did not include the beloved community days. Leaving both staff members and students out of practice on their time management skills. Junior Nadia Shaaf is not alone when she says, “I keep putting off all my homework for Wednesday but by the time I remember we don’t have community days anymore I’m already super behind on work.”

As late grades pile up and all-nighters increase, Ursuline students accustomed to community days search for a way out of their productivity slump.

Ursuline history teacher, Mr. Patton says the best way to improve productivity is to, “Get a goodnights sleep, work smarter not harder, and learn to make mature choices. Patton says the most useful thing he learned while in college was “how to say no to unproductive things, rearrange my schedule, and change commitments.” Dr. Kubu, Cleveland Clinic neuropsychologist, agrees with Patton on decision making and recommends choosing to tackle one task at a time. ‘It is crucial for productivity to have a set list of goals, anything outside of the list of goals must be discarded until said list has been completely finished.’

Priorities. Get them straight. Creating a list of assignments and ranking them from most importance to least importance will allow the brain to prep for the workload ahead. Without knowing an estimate of its workload, diving into homework and studying without foresight can slow down and tire the brain.

Similarly, Multitasking happens to have the same side effects. While the thought of doing two assignments simultaneously sounds like an awesome way to be productive, Dr. Kubu says otherwise. Kubu’s studies show that when the brain is constantly switching gears to bounce back and forth between tasks, it ends up taking more time since tasks like schoolwork are complex and require active attention. The brain becomes less efficient and more likely to make a mistake. Additionally, multitasking cuts productivity by almost 50% so in the long run, it would end up taking more time to finish the tasks.

“The best way to be productive is without your phone. Put it away when you start working– out of sight out of mind,” says Mr. Chelule. Social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram can distract from your progress by changing your brains focus from school to social activity. Because the brain is hardwired to only be focused on one main thing at a time, it is important to make sure the brain is focused on work when doing school tasks. Otherwise, it will be harder and less time efficient when its constantly switching from social to work every other minute.

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