Parents, you’ll want to view it first and then share it with your child if you think they’ll like it.
- clarity, portal
- don’t motivate
- baby steps
- more persistence
AND, we need you to develop your best self.
Love my work and want to give? Click here!
To support me, please CLICK at the bottom to share. Click here to visit my official YouTube Channel & subscribe if you want! Thank you — Seth
Hey, what’s up? This is Seth from SethPerler.com, I’m an executive function coach out of Boulder Colorado. Today I’m going to talk about the “Hail Mary” time at the end of the semester. Middle school, high school, college students, I’m making a video for you.
You’re probably getting this because a parent or teacher has forwarded it to you (you probably don’t follow my blog). But I am making this for you. Right now it’s December 9th, Sunday. I send my blog out every Sunday, most of the students that I work with are students who struggle with what’s called “executive function.” Students who have a lot of missing assignments, incompletes, late work, and zeros. They wait until the last minute on things, their grades are suffering, and they’re really smart students whose grades do not reflect how smart they are. And so I work with people who are going through that, that’s what I do it day in and day out. It is December 9th and most of my students have two weeks left. So we got Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday of this week, and then also next week before winter break. Now students here’s the deal.
This is Hail Mary time. And that means that this is a particularly interesting time because a lot of students either pull it together and do fine at the end of the semester, or don’t and then get a bunch of D’s and F’s at the end of the semester. So they’re kind of teetering between those two sides. I’m going to tell you how to get through. I’m going to give you 10 tips to get through this Hail Mary time so that you can end the semester on a high note. Using less energy so that you have more freedom, more free time, more time for yourself, and that you’re wasting less time spinning your wheels trying to get your schoolwork done so you can get it done more efficiently and more effectively. So again, you got two weeks left. You got this week and next week, and that final Friday usually is a wash, the day before break. Usually, nothing happens. So really you have nine actual school days, meaningful school days, that you have to get this stuff done. So let me go through this.
Number 1: Plan. If you want to be successful during the Hail Mary time when usually you’re doing a bunch of makeup work, a lot of late work, and you’re also dealing with your current work, but you also have upcoming work during this time. If you have a bunch of zeros, incompletes, makeup work, and stuff like that, you want to make a plan. So planning. You have to plan it out. You have to get it out in front of you. Okay, so that’s number one: be good at planning during this time.
Number 2: Clarity. In order to plan well, you have to get clarity. You have to be clear on what’s going on. How do you get clarity? You look at the portal and you examine it. If you have an online portal, you look at it really clearly, print off the pages with all your zeros, missings, incompletes, low scores, test corrections, whatever. Print up those sheets or make your own specialized list or just take a notecard to make a list of everything that you got to be worrying about, or make multiple notecards for multiple classes. I don’t care how you do it. But you have to get clear on what’s going on. Part of what my students struggle with is that they’re not even clear on what’s going on. They don’t even know what to do. They don’t even know when it’s due, and when they do know, they don’t even know the expectations. Don’t worry. There’s no shame in this. I went through that myself, but I ended up almost failing out of high school and then actually failing out of college, and then dropping out of a second college not doing well. I eventually went back to school and did well, but I really struggle with this stuff. So this is what happens to my students when they don’t figure this out. So you need clarity. My students don’t know what’s going on. They don’t have clarity. You need it. You get it 1) from the portal 2) you get it from your planner 3) you get from scouring through your folders 4) you get up by going up to your teacher (honestly and be like, “Dude. Hey, what do we got to do? I’m not doing real well, I need some clarity.”). So number two is clarity. Number one was planning. Number two is clarity. They go hand-in-hand.
Number 3: PEPR. I want you to understand this concept of PEPR. At the end of the semester, again, not only are you dealing with your late working and missing work, not only are you dealing with current work, but you’re also dealing with very large long-term projects that come at the end of the semester. Long-term projects come in four ways. PEPR. Papers, exams, projects, and readings. You have long-term papers; papers that take a long time to write. You have final exams that are long-term because they take a lot of studying (not just the night before or the morning of). You have long-term projects that need to be done not the night before. And then you have long-term reading assignments. Very large reading assignments – books or chapters that take a long time. The problem with PEPR with long-term stuff is that a student’s wait until the last minute. Students who struggle with this stuff wait until the last minute. They are not proactive. They did not plan. They do not have clarity. They tend to be very unrealistic about the amount of time and energy that’s required to do these PEPR things, these papers need to be written. They think, “oh, I’ll do it in an hour.” It takes 6 to 10 hours typically to write a paper. The exams – you need to study for hours for them. They think they can do it in 30 minutes the night before. And then projects that need to be done take hours. They rushed through them the night before if they do them at all. And then reading takes a long time to really read it in a scholarly, intentional, and mindful way. You need to actually read and think while you’re reading. There’s PEPR. So planning, clarity, PEPR.
Number 4: Honesty. So you got to be honest with yourself, your parents, and your teachers. Honest with yourself to be like, “Yeah, I keep thinking that I can do this and I keep procrastinating, and honestly, I procrastinate. Honestly, I’m not very motivated to do this. Honestly, this is not fun for me. Honestly, I want to do well but I don’t want to do the work that it takes to do well.” And in being honest with your parents to, say, “Hey, you know what I’m I’m struggling with some stuff. I need a little help. Can you give me a tutor for this, can help me with that? Can you hold me accountable?” And in being honest with your teachers, “Hey, I’m not doing great in your class and I know that and I do want to do well. What tips you have?” Honesty, honesty, honesty. There’s a lot of integrity behind that.
Number 5: Advocacy. And that means asking for help. This is one of the hardest things for humans to do. But, people who are successful in any area of life, i.e. look at the best performers in any area, whether you’re a sports fan, art, music, etc. The people that you respect, the people that you like, they have learned to ask for help and have advocated for themselves. They’ve said, “Hey, I’m struggling with this. I want this kind of result. Will you please help me.” How do you do this? 1) You ask your teachers for help, you advocate for yourself with them. “Hey, I’m struggling with this not working for me. I need your help.” 2) your parents 3) tutors 4) school counselor 5) friends who are good at the stuff you’re not good at. You’re good at certain things, and you want to be able to help people with that because you’re better and you can excel at certain things. But you want to find people who are better at school than you are and ask them for help. Whatever the case may be, advocate for yourself.
Number 6: Accountability. A lot of times we have good intentions. We think “Yeah, I’ll get it done. I’ll get it done tomorrow. I’ll get it done later tonight. I’ll get it done next week.” Okay, so we think we’re going to get something done. We have a goal. We want to get it done we intend to, but it doesn’t end up happening, over, and over, and over. If we’re honest with ourselves, we see that pattern. If we aren’t honest with ourselves we deny it. We lie about it. We make excuses all the time. So what you want is, you want accountability. That means you go up to somebody who’s a good friend, who’s a mentor, the teacher you say, “Hey, I got to get this done. Will you get on me and help bug me until it’s done. Will you remind me of this? Will you send me a text to this? Will you please sit with me while I do this? Maybe we’ll both work together the same time on different things” (that’s call co-working). Whatever you need for accountability. Accountability is when you tell someone, “Hey, this what you can expect for me. I’m going to work hard on this. Will you help hold me to that. Will you help push me.” People don’t have accountability partners in some way, shape, or form, and who are not self-motivated really struggle with a lot of things in life. So you want accountability.
Number 7: Motivation. Don’t worry about it. A lot of people (society, teachers, parents) will tell you you need to be more motivated. I will tell you that with the students I work with, I do not talk about motivation. I do not care if you’re motivated or not. I do not care if I’m motivated or not. If I’m not motivated to pay my bills I get kicked out, I get evicted. If I’m not motivated to pay my car payment, my car gets taken away. If I’m not motivated to pay my electricity it gets shut off. If I’m not motivated to work, I can’t buy food. I can’t buy the things that I need. It doesn’t matter if I’m motivated to do those things. They need to be done. So when people wait for motivation, you’re not going to have it. It may come. It may come because you suffer and you got in trouble and you have consequences. But is that really good motivation that helps you? It may come because someone promises you a reward, but is that really motivating you? So don’t worry about motivation. Forget about the word motivation. What I do instead, I’m moving on to the next one. So I’ve gone over planning, clarity, PEPR, honesty, advocacy, accountability, and now motivation.
Number 8: Baby steps. Don’t worry about being motivated, worry about taking a micro-step. A baby step. Taking a millimeter step forward, worrying about taking some action. I don’t care what it is. Reorganize your backpack for one minute. You’ll probably do it for more. Do one problem on your math, don’t worry about the whole math sheet. Do one sentence in the paper you’re supposed to write. I’m not saying don’t do the whole thing. But what I’m saying is, is when we think about “Oh my gosh, I have this paper to write or the test to study for or reorganizing my backpack,” it feels overwhelming. When we feel overwhelmed we feel resistant. When we feel resistant, we procrastinate and we don’t do it. So what I’m suggesting is don’t worry about motivation, worry about baby steps. Do something. Take some tiny micro action. Move a millimeter. Do a little bit. People who are successful have learned the art of taking small steps and they just keep taking small steps in the steps add up. So don’t get overwhelmed by the magnitude of the school work that you have to do. That’s overwhelming and that’s going to hold you back. Worry about taking baby steps. Just take a baby step tonight, right? The second this video is over to do something small for yourself for your own good. Do a tiny little step and then another, and then another, another.
Number 9: Persistency. Keep taking baby steps. Persist, persist, persist. Never ever ever give up. Trust me. I have struggled with so much stuff with ADD and executive function issues my whole life, okay. But I am a successful human being right now living the lifestyle I want beautiful Colorado, which I love. I get to travel, I get to have this awesome life, I have great friends, I have great people. I have a really good life. But I almost failed out of high school. I did fill out of college. I almost out of a second college. I was a failure. I felt like a lazy loser failure who couldn’t do anything. How did I change that? I persisted. I started turning my life around and I took tiny tiny steps.
Number 10: More persistence. Do not give up. Continue persisting. Persist, persist, persist. Then you’re going to get off track. Then things are going to fall apart. It doesn’t matter. Get back on track as soon as you’re ready to improve and persist some more. Take more baby steps, persist with baby steps.
So that is it. That’s the secret to it. There’s no magic. It’s just taking baby steps, and you will be able to accomplish your goals. Whether it’s with school, whether there with what you want to do in your future, whether it has to do with your hobbies or your interest or your passions. Whatever. You just keep taking little steps and you will get there. Okay, that’s where it’s at. There’s no magic. Trust me. I do this. I’m in the business of helping students change their educational life. It’s not like we’re going to have some giant magical epiphany. Worry about the micro-steps.
So to recap: 1) you got to make a plan and you got to keep making plans. 2) you need clarity. You got to know what the expectations are, what has to be done. You have to be concrete in what you need to do in the next two weeks. 3) you got to be aware of PEPR, your long-term project that people wait till the last minute to do. 4) you got to be honest with yourself, and then be honest with the other people in your life. 5) you got to advocate for yourself. Say, “Hey, will you please help me.” Be humble and ask for help. 6) accountability. You got to tell people, “Hey, will you hold me to it and make sure I do that and help push me.” 7) don’t worry about motivation. Forget about it because the next one is the power of baby steps. 8) Baby steps. 9) persist. Keep taking baby steps. 10) more persistence. Just keep persisting. Keep on keeping on. Every time you get off track, get back on track.
Finally, I’m going to wrap up this video with this. This is no joke, the world needs you. Literally you, the person I’m speaking to on this video right now. You, the person that’s listening to this. We need you to develop your strengths, your talent, your passions, your interests, your gifts. We need you to develop you to be the best you that you can be. Why? Because the world has problems. You’re growing up in a world that has problems and you are the future. You get to be somebody who participates in the world and communities in a way where you do something awesome for the world (or not). Okay, but the choice is yours. We do need you, and even if your ‘struggling in school and your grades aren’t great,’ we need you to figure out who you are and do the awesome things that you were born to do. So the way that you’re going to do anything is by this persistence, by learning how to persist and have some grit and resilience. Keep trying and pushing yourself, and don’t worry about perfection. That’s not what it’s about. But we need you to do your best. I mean look at me — this is my studio. It’s posters, it’s things that represent me. It’s not perfect. It’s the best I can do. But I try to share my message with the world. I’m doing my best. I’m trying to play my part and you play yours. So we need you. When I say, we, I’m really saying the adults in your life that care about you. We want you to have a great future, not a mediocre future. I don’t want you to have an average future. I want you to have a great future and an awesome life. A life filled with possibilities, a life filled with opportunities. A life filled with choice is not a limited life that’s stuck in a little box where you’re struggling through everything all the time. I want you to be free. I want you to have freedom and joy and bring your awesomeness to the world. So anyhow with that, you can watch this video a couple of times if you want.
My name is Seth Perler, SethPerler.com. Go ahead and subscribe on YouTube. Click the thumbs up. Leave a comment if you want. And have a fantastic next two weeks. Persist, persist, persist. Get these 2 weeks over with, get onto your winter break, and have an awesome time when you’re free. And you know, you’re done with the past semester and you’ve done all right.