3 Best Strategies for High School Teens to Manage Their Time
High school can be tough. From balancing your workload with your social life to figuring out what
college to attend, it can feel overwhelming. A critical part of your happiness, well-being, and success is managing your time. But how do you get better at managing your time? Here are three strategies for high-school teens that will help you manage your time better so that you can live your best life both inside and outside of the classroom.
Strategies for Managing your Time
Budget your Time: The first strategy for high-schoolers is to budget their time. This means making a list of all the tasks you need to do and how estimating how long it takes to complete them. You can either utilize a physical planner (there’s great benefits to writing things down) or blocking them out on your online calendar. With this strategy, you'll be able to see how much time you have to do each task and how much time you can spend on your social life or other responsibilities.
Plan Ahead: Take time to write in all the things you need to do and deadlines into your calendar. We recommend not only doing this for the day or week, but also a few months out or even for the year if you have large projects or papers due. By planning ahead, you can try to spread out the work so that you aren’t trying to do large assignments while preparing for finals - which may also help you study better because there won't be any distractions.
Reduce Distractions: Once you've planned out your tasks, take a few minutes to write down what might prevent you from completing them. For example, if you want to study but want to eat dinner first, write down "eating dinner" into your schedule. Or perhaps you need a break to check in with friends on social media or to game, block it into the schedule. Then come up with a plan for how to avoid the distraction outside of the time you have set aside for it. For example, you could place your device in a separate room or log out of all of your social media accounts while you do your work.
Track your time: It might sound tedious at first but using an app can really prove helpful when trying to manage your time more effectively. You'll just need a timer on your phone and set a goal for yourself - like 25 minutes per day or an hour per day - then start tracking! Keeping track of how much time was wasted on things like social media and watching TV will help keep those distractions at bay. Alternatively, using a timer to stay focused on the task in front of you (aka Pomodoro Method) so you can wrap it up efficiently, can also help you make good use of your time.
Prioritize your Tasks
One way to manage your time better is to prioritize your tasks. The first thing you should do when you get out of bed in the morning is to look at what needs to be done that day and schedule your time accordingly. If there are several activities that need to be completed, identify the top 3 that need to get done (non-negotiables), a few others that would make you feel great, and the rest that can wait. Then, take a look at your day and set aside time for the top 3 first, then the next few that would make you feel great, and so on.
Learn to say "No"
A crucial component of time management is the ability to say "No." You might think it's best to say ‘yes’ to everything that comes your way. To many, this is seen as a sign of strength and confidence. But what if you could make more time for yourself by saying ‘no?’ It's difficult because it goes against our natural instinct, but if you want to be better at managing your time, you need to start developing the habit.
The first step is practicing saying "No" with small commitments. You may be able to say no to taking on an additional project at work or joining a club at school, but will you have the willpower when it comes to turning down friends who invite you out? Saying ‘no’ in these situations means setting boundaries and prioritizing your own needs. It also means reducing stress and overwhelm. If you're spending all your time with others, there won't be any left for yourself! Don’t be afraid to ask for help from fellow peers when working on shared responsibilities to avoid overcommitting yourself.
By understanding your priorities and gaining awareness for how you spend your time, you’ll be able to better manage it so that you can accomplish what is most important to you. If you haven’t started utilizing a planner or schedule, now is the perfect time to start.
Before you know it, you’ll be living your best life in no time.