How to Avoid Homework Stress

Four Parts:Managing Your TimeWorking Hard at School and in ClassDoing Your HomeworkBalancing Homework with Life

Students of all kinds are often faced with what can seem like an overwhelming amount of homework. Although homework can be a source of stress, completing it can be a very rewarding and even relaxing experience if done in an organized and timely manner. Remember, homework is not intended as punishment, but is used to reinforce everything you’ve learned in class. Try to view it as a chance to sharpen your skills and understanding.

Part 1
Managing Your Time

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    Pick a time of day to do your homework. This does not have to be right after school or at the same time every day. Each person is different and works better at different times. Some people like to come home and start right in on assignments, while others prefer to decompress for a while before starting work again. Consider the following:
    • Try to work earlier, rather than later, if possible. This way, you won’t be rushing to finish your work before bedtime.
    • Find a time of day during which you can concentrate well. Some people work best in the afternoon, while others can concentrate better on a full stomach after dinner.
    • Choose a time when you will have relatively few distractions. Mealtimes, times during which you have standing engagements, or periods usually used for socializing are not the best choices.
    • Allow enough time to complete your work. Making sure the total time you allow yourself for homework is sufficient for you to complete all your assignments is crucial.[1][2]
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    Start large projects as early as possible. When your teacher or professor assigns you a project that is due in a few weeks, take the opportunity to begin immediately. Leaving it until the last minute will be stressful. Instead, try starting projects on the day they’re assigned. Then work a little bit on it every day or every week. You’ll have that project done in no time, and you’ll probably get a better grade.[3]
    • Save an appropriate amount of time for projects considering your normal homework load.
    • Estimate how much time you will need each day, week, and month depending on your usual workload. Allow yourself at least this much time in your schedule, and consider allotting a fair amount more to compensate for unexpected complications or additional assignments.
    • Reserve plenty of time for bigger projects, as they are more involved, and it is harder to estimate how much time you might need to complete them.
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    Make yourself a homework schedule. In most cases, your teacher or professor will give you a pretty decent idea of how much work you’ll have to do every week. After you’ve figured this out, make yourself a homework schedule taking into consideration all of your classes.
    • Get a day planner or a notebook to write down your homework assignments, and assign an estimated amount of time to each assignment. Make sure to always over-estimate.
    • Plan to finish daily homework every day, then divide up weekly homework over the course of the rest of the week.
    • Rank assignments in due-date order. Begin on those assignments due first, and work your way though. Finishing assignments according to due-date will help you avoid having to hurry through homework the night before it must be handed in.
    • Allow more time for more difficult subjects and difficult assignments. Each individual person will have their strong subjects - and those that come a little harder. Make sure you take into account which subjects are harder for you, and allow more time for them during your scheduling.

Part 2
Working Hard at School and in Class

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    Ask questions. Asking questions is critical to forming a good understanding of the material. This will enable you to complete your homework in a timely fashion and avoid frustrations. Consider the following:
    • If you’re too shy to ask questions, or don’t feel it’s appropriate to do so during class, write them down in your notebook and then ask the teacher or professor after class.
    • If you don't understand a concept, ask your teacher to explain it again, with specifics.
    • If you're having trouble with a math problem, ask the teacher to demonstrate it again using a different example.
    • Remember, when it comes to learning and education, there are no bad questions.
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    Take good notes. Writing down the information discussed in class helps you organize your thoughts and remember important facts and ideas. In addition, note taking aids in homework completion. When you are doing your homework, you’ll be able to flip through your notes and easily locate the material that will help you address your homework activity.
    • Pay attention to important terms and ideas. Make sure to note things your teacher stresses, key terms, and other important concepts.
    • Write clearly and legibly. If you can’t read your handwriting, it’ll take you longer to reference your notes at home.
    • Keep your notebook organized with dividers and labels. This way, you’ll be able to locate helpful information in a pinch and finish your homework quicker.[4]
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    Record the class or lecture. Sometimes hearing a lecture again will really help you form a good understanding of the subject of the day. But first, ask permission from your teacher or professor. Then bring in your recording device.
    • Get permission.
    • Sit up front and close to the instructor.
    • Make sure to label your recordings so you don't lose track of them.
    • Try to listen to them that same day while everything is fresh in your mind.
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    Use any available time in class or at school to review your notes or begin working on your homework. This way, you’ll be way ahead of the game when you get home and need to start on your homework. You might even be able to get some work done at school or in class. But remember, the key is to not get stressed out. Only use spare time if you see it as an opportunity, rather than an obligation.
    • Work in class. If you finish a class assignment early, review your notes or start your homework.
    • Study at lunch. If you have time at lunch, consider working on homework. You can do this leisurely by just reviewing what you’ll need to do at home, or you can just jump right into your work.
    • Don't waste time. If you get to class early, use that time for homework. In addition, many schools let students go to the library during this unplanned time, and it's a great place to finish uncompleted assignments.

Part 3
Doing Your Homework

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    Sit down and do your homework. When the scheduled time comes, sit down and do your homework. Let your friends and family know this, so they won't tempt you with other activities. Procrastinating won’t help, and it will just stress you out more. Tell yourself you’re going to do your work, then do it. Also, try to keep a positive attitude.
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    Create a space dedicated to homework and studying. Pick a quiet, out of the way space, and reserve it for your work. Make sure you’ve got supplies there including pencil, paper, and a calculator. This will be your homework safe space. Embrace it as a happy place.[5]
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    Eliminate all distractions and avoid multitasking. A quiet environment with minimal distractions it the best sort of environment to get work done in. Turn off the TV or radio and put your cell phone or tablet aside. All of these things will probably just distract you from getting your homework done in a quick and effective manner.[6]
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    Take breaks. Build small breaks into your homework routine. You don’t have to sit there for two hours finishing all of your work at one time. In fact, your productivity will probably go way down and your stress level way up if you do sit for hours working. Take a break, it’ll relax you and recharge your brain. Consider the following:
    • Get some fresh air.
    • Go for a short run.
    • Do pushups.
    • Listen to music.
    • Have a snack.
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    Stay Positive. Try to think about your homework as a good thing. Keeping this positive attitude will avoid creating more stress, and might even energize you to get it done. In fact, the more engaged and interested you are in your work, the quicker it will seem to pass.[7]

Part 4
Balancing Homework with Life

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    Avoid over committing yourself. Think carefully about the classes you choose for the upcoming year or semester. Many middle schools now offer gifted and honors programs. High schools are increasingly offering Advanced Placement (AP) courses, International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, and addition to honors classes. These sorts of classes all have an increased workload over regular classes. Consider this as you are planning your schedule.
    • AP or IB classes often have two or three times the amount of reading and homework as regular courses.
    • Honors classes may have up to double the amount of work required as regular courses.
    • College students need to consider whether they want to take the recommended load of class (often 4 classes) or more. More classes might help you finish your degree sooner, but if you are juggling work and extracurricular activities, you might be overwhelmed.[8][9]
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    Decide your priorities. You need to decide what classes are most important and where extracurricular activities come into play. Sports and other activities like debate club or newspaper might take up considerable amounts of time. Think about how these time commitments will impact your overall schedule.
    • Rank your classes and activities in order of importance.
    • Estimate (realistically) how long your academic and extracurricular activities will take.
    • Figure out how much time you have overall.
    • If you’ve over committed, you need to drop your lowest ranked class or activity.
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    Reserve time for your family and friends. Working all the time rather than enjoying family time and having fun with friends can potentially make you a much more stressed out person. You need to create a balance between homework and down-time.
    • Make sure to reserve mealtimes for family, rather than working.
    • Try to set aside the weekend for family, and work only if you need to catch up or get ahead.
    • Don’t plan on working on holidays, even if you try, your productivity likely won’t be high.
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    Make sure you get enough rest. Depending on your age, you need between 8 and 10 hours of sleep. Most teenagers need at least 9 hours of sleep, while college students might need a little bit less. Sacrificing sleep in order to complete homework might seem like a good idea sometimes, and it might be necessary at other times, but it will probably result in substandard work and will increase your stress level.
    • Pick a reasonable hour to go to sleep every night.
    • Try to do your morning prep work like ironing clothes and making your lunch at night.
    • Take a nap after school or after classes if you need. You’ll probably be able to do better work in less time if you are rested.[10][11]


  • Ask for help when you need it. This is the biggest thing you should do. Don't worry if people think you're dumb, because chances are, you're making a higher grade than them.
  • Actually pay attention to the teacher and ask if you don't know how to do the work. The stress can go away if you know exactly what to do.
  • Recognize that some teachers get mad if you do separate homework assignments for different classes, so learn to be discreet about it.

Article Info

Categories: Homework Skills