Tagged: time management

How Do Top Students Study?

Question on Quora.com   How do top students study?

Answer by Shafiq, who studied Political Science at Standard University

Habits of Highly Effective Students

The key to becoming an effective student is learning how to study smarter, not harder. This becomes more and more true as you advance in your education.

An hour or two of studying a day is usually sufficient to make it through high school with satisfactory grades, but when college arrives, there aren’t enough hours in the day to get all your studying in if you don’t know how to study smarter.

While some students are able to breeze through school with minimal effort, this is the exception.  The vast majority of successful students achieve their success by developing and applying effective study habits.

The following are the top 10 study habits employed by highly successful students.

So if you want to become a successful student, don’t get discouraged, don’t give up, just work to develop each of the study habits below and you’ll see your grades go up, your knowledge increase, and your ability to learn and assimilate information improve.

  1. Don’t attempt to cram all your studying into one session.

Ever find yourself up late at night expending more energy trying to keep your eyelids open than you are studying? If so, it’s time for a change. Successful students typically space their work out over shorter periods of time and rarely try to cram all of their studying into just one or two sessions. If you want to become a successful student then you need to learn to be consistent in your studies and to have regular, yet shorter, study periods.

  1. Plan when you’re going to study.

Successful students schedule specific times throughout the week when they are going to study — and then they stick with their schedule. Students who study sporadically and whimsically typically do not perform as well as students who have a set study schedule. Even if you’re all caught up with your studies, creating a weekly routine, where you set aside a period of time a few days a week, to review your courses will ensure you develop habits that will enable you to succeed in your education long term.

  1. Study at the same time.

Not only is it important that you plan when you’re going to study, it’s important you create a consistent, daily study routine. When you study at the same time each day and each week, you’re studying will become a regular part of your life. You’ll be mentally and emotionally more prepared for each study session and each study session will become more productive. If you have to change your schedule from time to time due to unexpected events, that’s okay, but get back on your routine as soon as the event has passed.

  1. Each study time should have a specific goal.

Simply studying without direction is not effective. You need to know exactly what you need to accomplish during each study session. Before you start studying, set a study session goal that supports your overall academic goal (i.e. memorize 30 vocabulary words in order to ace the vocabulary section on an upcoming Spanish test.)

  1. Never procrastinate your planned study session.

It’s very easy, and common, to put off your study session because of lack of interest in the subject, because you have other things you need to get done, or just because the assignment is hard. Successful students DO NOT procrastinate studying. If you procrastinate your study session, your studying will become much less effective and you may not get everything accomplished that you need to. Procrastination also leads to rushing, and rushing is the number one cause of errors.

  1. Start with the most difficult subject first.

As your most difficult assignment or subject will require the most effort and mental energy, you should start with it first. Once you’ve completed the most difficult work, it will be much easier to complete the rest of your work. Believe it or not, starting with the most difficult subject will greatly improve the effectiveness of your study sessions, and your academic performance.

  1. Always review your notes before starting an assignment.

Obviously, before you can review your notes you must first have notes to review. Always make sure to take good notes in class. Before you start each study session, and before you start a particular assignment, review your notes thoroughly to make sure you know how to complete the assignment correctly. Reviewing your notes before each study session will help you remember important subject matter learned during the day, and make sure your studying is targeted and effective.

  1. Make sure you’re not distracted while you’re studying.

Everyone gets distracted by something. Maybe it’s the TV. Or maybe it’s your family. Or maybe it’s just too quite. Some people actually study better with a little background noise. When you’re distracted while studying you (1) lose your train of thought and (2) are unable to focus — both of which will lead to very ineffective studying. Before you start studying find a place where you won’t be disturbed or distracted. For some people this is a quiet cubical in the recesses of the library. For others is in a common area where there is a little background noise.

  1. Use study groups effectively.

Ever heard the phrase “two heads are better than one?” Well this can be especially true when it comes to studying. Working in groups enables you to (1) get help from others when you’re struggling to understand a concept, (2) complete assignments more quickly, and (3) teach others, whereby helping both the other students and yourself to internalize the subject matter. However, study groups can become very ineffective if they’re not structured and if groups members come unprepared. Effective students use study groups effectively.

  1. Review your notes, schoolwork and other class materials over the weekend.

Successful students review what they’ve learned during the week over the weekend. This way they’re well prepared to continue learning new concepts that build upon previous coursework and knowledge acquired the previous week.

We’re confident that if you’ll develop the habits outlined above that you’ll see a major improvement in your academic success.

Students, if you need help becoming proficient at organizing your assignments and managing your study time, I can help.  stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679



Internship or Job: 9 Ways to Shoot Yourself In The Foot

This just in from The Muse.

Are You About To Shoot?
Are You About To Shoot?

9 Ways You’re Undermining Yourself in the Office Without Realizing It

By Kevin Daum of Inc.
There is at least one flake in every office. You know the type. It’s the person who is reasonably likable, but whom no one trusts. They seem to be mostly oblivious, often thinking that no one will notice that they are unreliable.

This person can be very disruptive, and yet somehow he or she has managed to obtain a position of authority. The frustration level climbs when the boss delivers only what he considers important, leaving everyone else covering for his lack of attention.

It’s bad enough dealing with people like this, but you certainly don’t want to be one. Pay attention to this list of bad habits to avoid. Most people won’t care enough to point out the transgressions, so share it around and no one can claim ignorance.

1. Showing Up Late

You may think that arriving five minutes late to an appointment or being the last one on a conference call doesn’t matter. It does. People notice. Sure, there are allowances for transportation and security issues in the building, maybe once or twice. But habitually tardy people are downgraded and thought of as selfish. Get control of your time so you are known for being a little early.

2. Not Checking Your Notes Before Meetings

A meeting can be either a productive and efficient sharing of ideas and information, or a dreadful disaster of confusion and boredom. It’s incredibly frustrating to stare around the table at blank faces or to get irrelevant and useless discussion. You can’t be responsible for everyone’s participation, but you sure can improve it on your end. Be fully prepared and ready to engage so no one thinks you are the laggard.

3. Not Responding to Email Promptly

Everyone is busy. Everyone gets lots of email. If you make people chase you, they will hate you. 24 hours is the maximum you should take before you respond, even it is a simple acknowledgement. Then you can establish a reasonable time to respond and manage expectations.

4. Missing Appointments

Nothing will make you seem flakier than not showing up when expected. Most people have a one-time tolerance for a missed event. The second time, you have already lost stature and priority in their mind.

5. Not Paying Attention

You may think you can daydream and fake it, but anyone with whom it’s worth engaging knows when you are not in the game. If you are so disinterested in work activities that you have to play like you are on-board, maybe it’s time to move on. Find something that excites you.

6. Overpromising and Underdelivering

People will give you a couple of chances to match what you say you will do with what you actually do. Then they will mentally either put you in the “yes” or “no” box. Set expectations reasonably and then beat them every time if you want to look like a winner.

7. Forgetting Details

The best opportunities are filled with complexity. Someone who gets only most of it right has very limited utility. If you don’t have a photographic memory, write things down. Review your notes and talk through the information to make sure you really understand everything that is required. Then double-check just to make sure you haven’t missed anything.

8.Texting During Face-to-Face Conversations 

Face-to-face contact is getting more rare these days thanks to technology; all the more reason you are being judged on the use of your smartphone. If someone is making the point to look you in the eye, he or she won’t be impressed with your thumb-typing skills. Show respect and pay attention.

9. Making Wholly Avoidable Mistakes

People can tolerate a lot of ignorance but they have little to no tolerance for stupidity. The difference is simple. Ignorance is when you don’t know any better. Stupidity is when you are told or were shown that something won’t work, and you go ahead and do it anyway. Even making the same mistake twice will completely shatter any credibility you had at the beginning, so pay attention and be a winner.

What footprint are you leaving where you work?  Are your boss and co-workers

What foot print are you leaving?
What foot print are you leaving?

happy to see you come or to see you go?  To learn 10 more ways to have a positive impact, text or call Stephanie 610-212-6679 or email stephanie@accessguidance.com


Six Ways College Academics Are Different From High School

Even high school valedictorians sometimes hit a brick wall when they enter college. The

Studying: Priority # 1
Studying: Priority # 1

expectations and criteria for grades are more advanced than those most high school students, even top performers, are used to. The amount of reading, lack of feed back on tests and quizzes, lots of unstructured time, and balancing the social adjustments with the academic requirements can trip up even the best students. Recognizing and preparing for the changes gives first year students a leg up on academic performance.

1. College semesters last 15 weeks including exam week. During that short time you can expect to cover in each course the same amount of material that you cover in a year of high school. That adds up to twice as much work. The 500 page text book that you read all junior year in high school will be covered, in large part, in 15 weeks and there may be additional texts.

2. Professors may go over in class most of the topics from the reading or research. However, they might cover only one point or none of the reading at all. For tests and papers you will be responsible for all of the assigned reading as well as material presented solely in class.

3. In college, each class meets for 3 hours per week in 3 one-hour classes or 2 90-minute classes. Students typically take 5 classes per semester for a total of 15 hours in classrooms. Even if you take a science that has an additional 3-5 hour lab, that leaves lots of free time. Students need to know how to manage their time-eating, sleeping, studying, socializing and doing laundry. A crucial element of success is scheduling enough study time.

4. In a 3-credit course, one that meets for about 3 hours per week, there are likely to only be 3 grades. Frequently, that is 2 exams and one paper. Some courses have a few quizzes that may or may not count toward your course grade. It is almost impossible to do all the reading just before the exams: 500 pages for each of 5 classes equals 2500 pages to read; it’s a very good idea to keep up with the syllabus that was handed out the first day of class listing due dates and assignments!

5. Don’t expect to get As. The criteria for a high grade is much more rigorous than it is in high school. In college, Cs and Bs are respectable grades, especially for freshmen.

6. Professors aren’t responsible for making sure you understand the material or that you know how to write college papers. Individuals must recognize when they need help and ask for assistance. Know where the math and writing support centers are located and use them. Meet with professors during office hours and with their teaching assistants. They are happy to answer questions and to give advice.

Help yourself by creating a personal schedule that allows for socializing, self-care, (including sleep) and assume you will need lots of study time. Recognize that a poor grade isn’t fatal, only a wake up call to ask for guidance or to make a change.

Make the Most of Your Summer Job


Whether you are in high school or college, you can use your summer job to help you move forward in your career.  Every job teaches us something about how the working world moves that we can apply to a different situation down the road.

Employers like their employees to show up on time, do the job and stay until the end of their agreed upon shift.  Promptness is a time management skill that also helps you complete and turn in your coursework on time.

You are expected to help your employer maintain and build the business.  Did you make Blizzards at Dairy Queen this summer?  Evaluate your performance as your boss would: did I provide customer service in a manner that will encourage each customer to come back and maybe bring friends?  How often was I able to make additional sales like a drink or something to take home?  Did customers come to know my name and greet me?  Where you’ve said yes to these questions try to quantify your response: how many customers, how often, how much extra ice cream or drinks  did you sell?  Write it down!

Were you able to grow your job?  Bosses tend to reward people for asking to learn additional jobs so that they are capable of taking on more responsibility or filling in for someone else.  Your job expansion solves problems for your supervisor or company.  Show how you took initiative.

Paid and non-paid jobs teach valuable skills that you should record for future resumes.  Three skills listed here, time management, people skills and initiative are great resume builders when backed up by specific examples.  They also make you feel pretty good about yourself.

90 Minute Blocks Make Time Tracking a No-Brainer

So, you’re wondering why I posted an article on time tracking.  you’d be amazed by the number of people who can’t tell you what they do all day.  Really.  In most circumstances it may not matter, but when you are about to have your annual review or ask for a raise, you need to be able to talk about how you use your time on the clock.

Time tracking is doubly important when you are considering changing jobs or career.  Time tracking is valuable for identifying skills and quantifying accomplishments.  Here’s the article you’ll find helpful.

How Tracking What I Do Every Day Helped Me Find Better Work-Life Balance

Melanie Pinola

Melanie Pinola
6/12/15 8:00am

There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who enjoy tracking what they do with their time all day, and the rest of us, who’d rather watch paint dry. I used to be in the latter group…until I discovered I was doing it all wrong.

This is a big deal for me, as someone who hates even thinking about time. (Seriously, do not talk to me about time travel movies.) I’d rather dive into a project, work uninterrupted by the outside world, and somehow emerge from that stupor with something done. I know that’s not the reality for many workplaces, though, or even feasible with a flexible work schedule. The danger of this ignore-time approach is working too much and burning out—things I tend to brush up against often.

I’ve tried many time tracking apps before, but even the simplest ones felt like torture to me. Even automatic time tracking tool RescueTime, which can provide a ton of insights into your productivity, didn’t do anything for me, perhaps because it only tracks time on the computer, and I crave a more holistic view—not just of how productive I am while at the keyboard, but how well I’m using my time in general. I thought I just a hopeless cause when it came to time tracking and time management.
That all changed for me about five months ago when I started using a productivity planner called the Passion Planner. I got it primarily to help me write out my goals and break them down into tasks over the year. Surprisingly, it’s helped me start and enjoy time tracking.

How I Track My Time in the Planner

To be fair, any kind of weekly or daily planner would’ve worked. This one has a large two-page spread for each week, with each day divided by the half-hour. It’s meant for appointments and events and other scheduling, but my days are boringly event-free. (I’d rather have events on a digital calendar anyway.) Instead of using the space to block out time in the future, I decided to start jotting down what I did after every major task. And because I am a nerd, I invested in some pleasantly colored highlighters and Japanese planner stickers to color code and fancy up my days.

I try to work in focused (usually 90 minute) blocks of time. After each block, or before I take a break, I write down what I did and highlight it according to my categories (work, home/family, exercise/life maintenance, side work, creative projects, and friends/outings). That’s it. While this is neither an original nor clever concept, this method of tracking actually works for me, and has for months, when previous attempts failed miserably.

It works for me because:

It’s quick and simple. I just keep the planner open on my desk and it takes a second to write down the task. As easy as many time tracking apps are, they require too many steps to add a block of time in the past or future.
It’s tactile. As silly as it sounds, there’s a small but subtle pleasure reward in using the highlighter or even adding a sticker to the page. (I’m stingy with stickers, though.)
It’s colorful. Again, it’s the small things. On the days when I’ve forgotten or been too busy to keep up the log, those blank white columns are a sad reprimand. It’s like nothing happened at all those days, even though I know something must have, so I’m motivated to keep tracking.
It’s actually enjoyable, something I’d never thought I’d say about keeping tabs on every half hour of every day.
How Time Tracking Improves My Daily Life

Most importantly, time tracking has helped me think more clearly about how I spend my time. I can see at a glance where I’m spending too much time in one area and not enough in others and also find patterns in my behavior.

For example, I had a freelance project that I estimated should’ve only taken 2.5 hours, but in my weekly review I saw large green squares scattered across that week (reflecting back, I didn’t have the tools from the client I needed to get that project done as quickly as it should have been done). I’ve also been brutally honest with myself recording the days I got little sleep due to sleep procrastination and found that the days following required longer work sessions and more breaks. (You know it’s bad when you’re taking a nap at 8:30 in the morning. Forcing myself to write these things down, though, helps prevent myself from doing it too often.)

The system also keeps me accountable and focused. Knowing that I’ll have to account for each block of time, I’m less likely to pick up my Nintendo 3DS in the middle of the day for a break—especially since my time tracking has told me these breaks are rarely quick. I don’t jump around between different types of tasks as much either (20 minutes here, 10 minutes there), because it’s better to have tasks done in large chunks of time. And when I look at past weeks and don’t see enough blue (family), pink (friends and outings), or purple (creative projects) blocks, I make more of an effort to get those colors in. (Also, as an introvert, when I see too many pink blocks I know I need to balance with more alone time.)

When I first started doing this months ago, the weeks looked mostly covered in orange (work), with some other colors. These days, there’s much more variety in the areas of my life I’m spending my time. Even though time tracking can end up hurting your productivity if you’re tracking time just for the sake of it and not actually getting stuff done, I’ve found this simple method has helped me make better decisions about time—without having to think about it too much.

Diploma in Hand, What Must You Do Now?

While Mom is shopping at Bed, Bath and Beyond for your sheets and comforter, you can start getting ready for the Big Move onto campus. College is the first time that most of us take the reins and take responsibility for ourselves. Prioritize, organize and simplify should be your mantra for the next 3 months. Begin managing your money with a budget so that you won’t be caught short in October with no cash left until spring semester.

Money is a non-renewable resource so plan spending and avoid impulse buying, including pizza every night while studying. Your meal plan may offer unlimited food during meal service but possibly not cover extra purchases or 5 swipes per day.

Read what the Department of Education has to say:

6 Things High School Grads Need to Do Before Leaving for College

Your last high school prom is over and you’re counting down the days till graduation. Some of you may have even already graduated. Yes, freedom and plans for a fun-filled summer are just around the corner. Before you know it, you’ll be loading up your belongings in the family minivan and heading off to college. You’re so ready, right? Well, maybe not. Here are some tips for things to do this summer before you head off to college.

1. Downsize, Get Organized & Learn How to Do Your Own Laundry

You’re not going to be able to take your whole closet and every cherished belonging with you to the dorm. Start downsizing now and make a list of all the things you’ll need to take with you. A clean and tidy space will make things a lot more manageable. Most likely you’ll go home a time or two on break and you can swap out things that you don’t need for things that you do. But, in between those trips home, you’ll need to learn how to do laundry. Those whites can turn into some interesting colors and transform into a smaller size if you don’t know your way around a washer and dryer.

2. Understand Your Financial Situation

Each family’s situation is different – make sure you understand what your family may or may not be able to contribute. You should’ve already applied for financial aid. If not, you need to complete the 2015-16 Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) ASAP! Make sure you list on the application the school code of the college you plan to attend so your information is sent to that school. If you still haven’t decided it’s best to list any school you think you may attend. The financial aid office will then notify you of any financial aid you might be eligible for. Know what each of those types of aid is and in what order you should accept them. Visit StudentAid.gov for information on planning and paying for college. Do you have enough money to pay for school? Will you need to work part-time? Make a budget and know what you can spend on certain things.

3. Get a Good Calendar and Prepare for a Whole New World of Time Management

One of the biggest challenges for a lot of you will be time management. When you head off to college, you won’t have somebody there to wake you up, make you breakfast and send you out the door in clean clothes with completed homework in hand. Set yourself up early with a class schedule (make a course syllabus your new best friend) and a system that works for you. You need to know deadlines for registration, papers, financial aid, coursework and everything in between. Your chance of succeeding academically will rapidly evaporate if you don’t manage your time well. You’re worth the investment – manage it well.

4. Craft a Good Resume and Learn How to Network

No, don’t wait until you’re approaching college graduation to write a cover letter and resume, you need one now. Having a compelling and professional resume and cover letter is vital to applying for part-time jobs, internships, etc. You might want to also consider changing your email address. Employers probably won’t be impressed with an email address like justheretoparty@XXmail.com. Work experience can be just as important as good grades when looking for jobs after college graduation. Internships not only provide you with knowledgeable experiences in your field, but they also provide great networking opportunities. Don’t settle in and nest, put yourself out there and go to as many networking events as possible.

5. Embrace Coupons and Master the Art of a Good Deal

Another difficult thing to learn is skipping those unnecessary splurges. Yes, I know it’s all about YOLO but you need to embrace BOGO. Coupons aren’t just for stay at home moms anymore. Scoring deals whether in newspapers, magazines or with online sites like Groupon and Living Social it’s easier than ever. But don’t get so caught up in the deals that you buy vouchers for things you end up not using. That can cost rather than save you money. Save those splurges for when you score a great “Buy One Get One” free or other greatly discounted offer. Ask about student discounts and if available, a student advantage card. Start practicing this summer. It’ll impress your friends and it’ll be a little more money in your pocket when you get to campus. Another great way to save money is buying used textbooks rather than new. Search sites like bigwords.com, Amazon, and TextbooksRUs to name a few. If you buy new and then resell them back to the college bookstore check online sites first for what they’re worth. College bookstore buy back rates are sometimes as low as 10% of what you paid for it new. Lots of students are also renting textbooks on sites like chegg.com.

6. Learn How to Keep You and Your Things Safe

Yes, you need to remember to lock your dorm room and place that lock on your laptop. Losing your laptop can wreak havoc on your studies and a theft due to an unlocked door can also ruin your relationship with your roommate. Start practicing being more aware of your surroundings and keeping yourself safe. Program your school’s campus security number into your phone. You never know when you might need it. Safety also applies to protecting your social security number, usernames and passwords. Your social security number is one of the main identifiers when checking on things like financial aid, grades, and registering for classes. Make sure all your passwords and important numbers are not on a post-it-note on your desk. Store them in a secure place. Not protecting your identity and important information can have lasting long-term effects on your ability to get a job and apply for credit.

Congratulations on a job well done and making the decision to advance your education!

Susan Thares is the digital engagement lead for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid.

High School Doesn’t Necessarily Prepare You for College

An article in the Harvard Crimson addresses some problems faced by students who come from less than stellar high schools in the US or abroad.  While aimed at academic disadvantage there are lessons for all students preparing to make the leap to college academic work.

College writing can be very different from your experience in high school where teachers tend to have expectations.  Professors are more likely to use their own rubrics and to follow what is typical for academic writing in their discipline.  Five courses per semester and you probably have five sets of challenges.

For every subject in high school there are many text books, therefore, a variety of preparation for college work.  You may find that your professors interests align well with you pre-college background-or not.  If others in the class have previously learned similar material to the college course, you may feel inadequate and frustrated.

Time management, especially for those who never had to study much to get fine grades, is the most challenging hurdle to overcome.  With only 3 grades per course it’s important not to allow yourself to get behind.

As you make the leap to a higher level of academics, as first year students, you are also making social adjustments and learning about personal finance in real time.  The all-in, everything at once, can be overwhelming.

And top students aren’t accustomed to asking for help.  There is some    prickle of embarrassment at being a college student and not being able to write well, or not being able to get reading done.  This is where the successful find a mentor, reach out to professors, make friends with their advisor or drop in at the writing or math tutoring centers.

Leave your pride in the drawer and get help as soon as you start to feel uncomfortable.  Its easier to fix a small problem than to bring up a low grade with only one exam left.

Read about Harvard and imagine how these scenarios will play out on your campus.  Even if you don’t identify with the subjects of the article, imagine yourself having the same problems and how you would solve them.

Bridging The Gap To College Academics by Melissa Rodman



HS Juniors Are the Bridesmaids of College Admissions

Everyone asks high school seniors “Where are you applying”. “Where did you get in?” “How much financial aid did you get?” Seniors are the stars of the show.

Juniors, however, are the ones doing the heavy lifting. This is the year when they must visit colleges, near and far; develop criteria for those they will eventually apply to; take standardized tests and attend to details.

Oh yes, they are also taking a challenging course load and keeping grades up.

One of the details they are taking care of is developing or maintaining relationships with teachers and their guidance counselor, people who will be asked to write letters of recommendation. It is so much easier to write positively about a student known well by the rec writer than about one who is a face and id number.

Juniors also need to assess their proficiency in their course work and choose 2 or 3 subjects in which they will take SAT II exams at the end of the year. Many colleges expect to see the results and may use them in placement as well as admissions. Typically, one math or science and one non-math or science are selected. If a foreign language is one of the choices, it should include the listening component.

A final pressure on juniors is planning a summer that will perhaps offer experience in a potential area of study or will generate income for college expenses. The pre-senior summer must also leave time to finalize the college list and begin filling out applications and writing essays.

Juniors carry a heavy burden. The year is a training ground for time management and organizational skills that will be very important when the first year of college rolls around.

College Bound: Time Management

One of the most pressing problems college students face is that of time management. As a high school student you are given a few days warning about tests and due dates for assignments. Homework is usually due the next day.

College is a different animal altogether. On the first day of class in a new semester you will receive a syllabus with the in-class topics, readings that pertain to each discussion and the dates for exams and turning in papers for the entire 15 week semester.

When you have to read up to 500 pages  or more for each of your 5 courses, getting behind isn’t an option.  To pass, you have to stay on top of the work or be eaten alive come exam time.

No one will ask if you’ve done the reading: it will be assumed that you have. The only way anyone will know if you didn’t bother is if you are called on to answer a question and flub the answer.

Start today to develop your time management skills while you have your high school safety net. Plan a study schedule considering how much time it typically takes you to complete assignments. If you are a slow reader you will need to pad your estimate accordingly.  Use your schedule diligently.

Study your notes carefully everyday or every weekend so that it won’t take as much study time to prepare for quizzes and tests.

When you get to college you will have to budget time for eating, laundry, walking across campus to class, time for the gym and clubs and just hanging out. Get prepared by blocking out sufficient time to complete all your assignments and to work a little ahead.

Time management is one great gift you can give yourself right now!