Here’s the 15 minute video…
Seth’s Student Success Toolkit mini-course (SSST)
Tool 5/5 “The Systems Check”
The “Systems Check” is something I designed in order to take a quick temperature of all the systems students need to manage. I wanted it to be simple, quick and thorough enough so I could pinpoint problem areas that need to be addressed. Originally I used it to guide conversations with my students, then I started teaching it to my students who were ready for more independence. Turns out that it works incredibly well in accelerating development of independence.
How long it takes
It usually takes 10-15 minutes to go through the check with a student, and we usually do it every 2 weeks or so. After we do the check, it may take more time to address the areas, now that we know what needs to be done.
I use this with all ages. The more mature and independent the student, the more we dive in.
Here is the exact text from the system check I use
Feel free to copy & paste & alter this checklist to your liking.
The systems check:
Backpack? Overhaul, papers, folders
Planner? Update long and short term
Computer optimization? Tabs, pins, calendar, tasks
SSS? Sacred Study Space?
Study routine/work flow? Tight? Manageable?
Stress & overwhelm sources? Minimize, reframe, breathe
Family, friends? Relationships
Self-care? Nutrition, sleep, exercise, other
Beliefs? Limiting? Abundance? Growth or fixed mindset. Self-talk, defaults, reframe.
- Print a few copies of your systems check and post them in good places (near your desk, in your locker, etc.)
- Do a systems check every Sunday night for the next 4 weeks to get in the habit. Do it every other week or so thereafter.
- Do the systems check – here are details about each part of the check:
- Backpack? Do you need to overhaul the papers, folders, etc.? What can you get rid of? What needs to be dealt with?
- Planner? How can you best update it? What long and short term planning do you need to do?
- Grades? Check them out online and list anything that needs to be addressed. Email teachers to advocate for yourself in classes you are struggling with.
- Computer optimization? How can you add tabs, pins, or bookmarks for current teachers, school homepage, etc.? Make a tab for your online calendar.
- SSS? How can you optimize your sacred study space so you can study smarter not harder?
- Study routine/work flow? How can you optimize your work flow to work smarter not harder? What distracts you and can you do anything about it?
- Stress & overwhelm sources? How can you minimize your sources of stress and do things that help? Can you reframe any of your stressors? Remember to breathe. Learn to meditate.
- Family & friends? What do you need to address to make relationships healthier and happier?
- Self-care? How’s your nutrition, sleep and exercise? Do you have any action goals in these areas?
- Beliefs? How can you modify your beliefs so they are most positive to you?
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Welcome back today. We’re onto another tool and this is an invaluable tool that I use my it with my students pretty much on a weekly basis. This is often how I start my sessions when I’m working with students. It’s called the systems check. So the purpose of the systems check is this whether or not you know it you have several systems that you’re using or that you aren’t using that that help you to navigate school. Now the more conscious you are your systems the more aware you are of what they are the better you can sort of isolate where your problem areas are and dress those systems. So that’s all confusing right now. Don’t worry. I’ll explain everything to you. But essentially think of it this way school is made up of several systems. You have to manage several of them when you’re not aware of how you’re managing them school is harder when you’re aware of them. It’s easier. So I’m going to show you how to break it down. The way that I use this as I have small sheets of paper about this big with assistance checklist on it. So when I’m seeing a student I pull out the checklist and I sit down with them and it’s alright. How’s this going? How’s the back on when we talk through things to find out the areas that they need to work on the most and for you what you can do. I literally that I made this so easy for you. Will you can do is snagit right off a post here take the system checklist. You can copy and paste it or you can download it to your computer. Put it on Google Drive or word or whatever you like we get how you like it print up a few copies and stick them in places where you using? For example, you might want to have one stuck on your desk. You might want to have one in your planner or just figure out some places where you’re going to see it because this is something you want to refer to often. I’m probably once every week or two just to overhaul your systems and make sure everything is going smoothly. First thing I asked about when we’re talking about system is the foundations. If you want to be a strong student and have control of your life and not feel like you’re swimming Upstream trying to play catch-up all the time and feel like you’re getting gray that you are capable of but not have to put in extra effort, especially on things that you’re not very interested in and you brought you really want to do well while the foundations are key. Now. The foundations are not easy, they include sleep exercise and nutrition sleep, especially if you’re a teenager or a college student is very hard and if your middle school student, you’re probably starting to want to stay up later and when you have to be in high school and wake up at 6 a.m. Or so. I have one student who’s waking up at like 4:30 in the morning to go to practice that is really hard. You need sleep your brain needs 7 to 9 hours of So it’s a very important to get restful sleep is REM sleep restful nutrition. We live in a world. Unfortunately right now where there are so many processed foods that really affect the way our body feels and the way our brain functions. There’s a lot of refined sugars and carbohydrates and things that really cloud the brain and if I had one bit of advice that I could give every student I work with will be the cut out the sugars cut out bread rice pasta and sugars any processed sugars. You can eat fruit vegetables meet Nazis, but if you can cut out processed foods, you will notice such a difference within 2 weeks who knows the complete different than how you sleep and how you feel and how you think I know it’s very very very very challenging a struggle with this for years. It’s hard but it’s powerful but I always ask about what people are eating because it’s important finally exercise. You must move your body. I get a lot particularly a lot of teenage kids who have basement bedrooms who sit in the basement all day long, they’re pale and thin and they’re playing video games all day long. They’re not interacting with people and they’re not moving their bodies. And you can just sort of see that the shoulders are starting to get hunched-over posture is very important. Our bodies want to move we need to active active active. This is important for your whole life. Now. I know some of your life but I don’t want to or that’s hard or whatever. Yes, the foundations of sleep nutrition exercise are not easy, but there is a very important foundations always be working on don’t worry about perfection. Just remember those three things to be working on it affects every single area of your life. Thumb next I look at actually this is later on on the list. But I look at if their Tech is optimized for them. So a lot of times I’ll give him set up with for example of the Google Chrome browser. And what we’ll do is we’ll make we’ll make it to that. The bookmarks are remaining on the bookmarks bar and will bookmark all the teachers the school the online grading program if there is one so all of those things are bookmarked everything useful and Wolfram Alpha math program. I use lot those are all bookmark right there. And the other thing is is that as you know, it’s very easy to get distracted by whatever Rabbit Hole you choose to go down whether it’s Minecraft Facebook texting or whatever. So optimizing technology might be turning off the phone or turning it into airplane mode when you’re trying to focus, but it also in terms of the browser like Google Chrome using an app like stay phone. Pistor self-control those are two great apps that will block any website that you tell it to block for a predetermined. Of time. So if you want to work on homework for 2 hours and you want to block your distracting websites for that time, when you optimize your Tech you want to get one of those blockers to that you can do that and honor that time for Focus. So there’s different ways to optimize make it easiest Google drive to is a great one to have come up your backpack. So when we’re doing the systems check a lot of times will check the backpack and do the backpack overhaul, which I’ve already discussed in one of these videos will also check the planner and update the planner and what that means is that will generally rip out any pages that are not necessary. So a lot of times will rip out pages from the past will rip out pages from perhaps July and August if the school’s out at the end of May we might rip out The pages in the back of the planner that have not better never looked at or you thin out the planter gets down to its Bare Necessities cross off all the days in the planter that are gone and update and look at the upcoming week and try to write in everything that’s coming up. So we’ll really work to update the planner during the systems check cuz that’s one of your system. Then we’ll look at work phone routine. That’s a system. What is your workflow? Do you have a routine when you’re sitting at your desk or whatever you do your homework and studying. Do you actually have a workflow a way that you like to work where you sit down get prepped. Look at your planner. Begin your work take a break work on your work some more take a break. Whatever your workflow is. Do you have a workflow that you actually thought about that work for you or do you kind of let your workflow be really distracted and really interrupted by a lot of things you need to really think about how your workflow work for you so that you’re not I’m swimming Upstream all the time and being more stressed out routine. What routines for work and homework. What time do you do your homework? And where do you do your homework? What’s your routine? What’s your routine for eating with your routine for sleep? Do you have a routine for sleep? You have a routine to wake up and start the day with positive energy and soul. What are your routines that those are other systems that we look at? We look at grades. So most of my students have online grades. So one of the checks that we do is we’ll check the online grades and we’ll make a list of anything that needs to be addressed. Whether it’s incomplete missing if the grade is not where you want it and you want to raise the grade or whatever. We look through very carefully and do that about once every week or two. Advocacy this goes with the grades. If you find something that’s not where you want. You need to Advocate the teachers. This is very hard for my students then if this is hard for you, that’s okay. A lot of students don’t want to approach the teacher especially if there’s a personality Conflict advocating for yourself going to the teacher or riding a proactive. Advocacy email is really powerful in teachers notice. They see that you’re putting forth effort in the give you the benefit of the doubt in their often very willing to help you. Even if you think they’re not teachers when you show initiative, they really respond to that and when you’re advocating for yourself in your writing an email if you see see that to somebody like a parent or the school counselor that can often help teacher be more supportive. So you have to advocate for yourself. It works. Trust me. It’s very important. But anyhow, that’s one of the system’s WeChat. Do you need to advocate? Another check that we do is how’s it going with your relationships with family friends? And with yourself are the are they as healthy as you want? Is there anything that’s not working for you? Do you need to end any relationships do want to begin new relationship to make new friendships? And how do you maintain relationships that you already have in a healthy way? So everybody’s got unhealthy baggage that they deal with the question is how do we work on that? So checking that out and actually asking yourself, you know, what’s worth my energy going with these people and is it where I want it to be, you know, and then what’s stressing you out off and I’ll ask my students. What is your biggest stressors in life right now and they’ll give me an answer in that allows us to know we have something to work with. What can we do to make this better? So that’s another check and then finally the last check that I do and I do this really with more mature students who are able to think on this level and most of my students. I for some reason I have a very deep kids kids that are really intelligent deep thinkers that think a lot about life and this is a great one. We look at beliefs in particular. We look at what beliefs do you hold that are limited and limiting beliefs a limiting belief is the belief that hold you back like a belief that I can’t do it. I suck. I hate this I’m a failure. So when I was a student my limiting beliefs, my major limiting belief was I’m a failure and I can’t do this and I don’t care. So I use the default of I don’t care to help reinforce my belief that nothing mattered and that I could just keep going on and not trying and not working at thing and that kept me stuck. And now I Try to have rain or beliefs a frame is like the way you look at things or the glasses that you look at life through I try to have frames or beliefs or default or mine that better what are called growth mindset or abundance beliefs beliefs that are not limiting beliefs that I can do anything I want and I am very very honest with you when I say this, I don’t care who you are watching this you can do anything you want in this life. People we eat we all do have these opportunities that the world is so full of opportunity. Now when you’re limiting beliefs, it looks like you don’t have many opportunities and it looks like you’re going to miss that yourself up for failure and you will fail at times you you’ll fall on your face. Then you have to get back up. You can create build do any thing in life horse education is not perfect. But you want to get out of Education what you can so that you can craft your own life your life that have the life you want a life with purpose and meaning and joy and peace that you’re able to fill with things that you love to spend the time time in your life. The way you want to know you can do this. I 100% believe that I know that because I was able to turn my life around from a place where I didn’t feel like I could I felt like a hopeless Tale. And I was able to completely change my voice it took hard work and it took time and it took getting help from people but I was willing to do anything to change my life and it works if I can do it anybody can do it. So about working on those beliefs and looking for growth mindset in abundance beliefs rather than limiting beliefs in a fixed mindset that says you can’t change. That’s what you need. So when you’re doing a systems check, you’re going to look at all these things. You don’t have to go super deep with them every time. It’s a quick check to see where you want to focus your energy. So again, you’re going to print it up look at it once every week or two and see how are my foundation’s how’s my sleep exercise and nutrition is my tech optimize so that I’m spending less time on homework and have more time for myself and my fun and self-care and friends and family. Is my backpack optimize how is that system working for me? How is my planner system working for me? How’s my workflow system working for me? How are my routines working for me? How are my grades? Do I need to advocate for myself? How are my relationships working for me? And do I need to change anything there? How’s my stress level and what do I need to do anything to change that and are my beliefs optimized to really help me have the best life that I can have. So that is the systems check really glad that you’re here watching these videos. I hope these help you to have tools that are really going to help you have an awesome life in a better school experience, and I will see you soon be well. Take care.