We all know that trust takes time to develop. And when we think of this, we’re almost always thinking about relationships between people. We almost never think about this when considering the relationships we have with systems.
We also know that one of the benefits of using a planner is that it reduces the stress of holding all your tasks in your head. But if you’re a student who has never used a planner, then you’ve been carrying everything around in your head for a long time. Your brain is used to having to do that. So if you suddenly start using a planner, your brain will not feel secure in letting go of its role as rememberer and worrier. It won’t trust the system, at least not for a while. You’ll need to use the planner consistently for a while – weeks maybe – before your brain learns that it’s safe to stop holding everything in your head.
This is a problem because many students try using a planner for a short time, feel no benefit, and give up. And they never get the message that trust takes time, so they don’t stick with it long enough to experience the stress-reducing benefits of a planner. So if a student is really open to using a planner or some other tracking system that’s designed to lighten cognitive load and improve executive function, it would be helpful to warn them that learning to trust a new system takes time.
Chris Loper has been working as a tutor and academic coach since 2014, racking up over 10,000 hours of experience supporting students.
Along with Greg Smith, Chris is the cocreator of Parenting for Academic Success (and Parental Sanity) – a five-part course offered every summer.
Chris’s most recent endeavor combines his academic and habit-formation expertise to help students thrive in college. Visit SmartCollegeHabits.com to learn more.
In 2021, he published a humorous memoir titled Wood Floats and Other Brilliant Observations, a book that blends crazy stories with practical life lessons, available on Amazon and through most local bookstores.
He lives in Issaquah, WA where he is the owner of South Cove Tutoring.