There are not enough hours in the day! It seems like for every one thing I check off my to-do list two more things pop up. As a teacher, wife, and mom of 3 very energetic boys, there is no doubt that managing my time has been one of the most difficult things to do. Every morning I roll out of bed long before any of my kids wake up so that I have time to drink a cup of coffee and get my mind right for the day ahead. Looking at my long list of to-do’s can be overwhelming but the brimming feeling of accomplishment I feel at the end of each day keeps me motivated to get everything checked off my list! Teens undoubtedly experience the same overwhelming feelings when it comes to managing time in their lives. This is why time management is important for students! The benefits of teaching teens how to live a balanced lifestyle are endless.
The Benefits of Scheduling Time
Teens need to learn how to balance their time in order to develop a healthy lifestyle. A tremendous amount of growth takes place during middle school and high school. Social networks, academic workloads, and rising responsibility loads can put a lot of stress on teens. Developing valuable time management skills allows teens to complete more tasks in less time. Effective time management helps students focus their attention to be able to check off items to-do list items. Mastering time management will allow teens to be less stressed and the feeling of accomplishment will serve as motivation. Teaching time management to students will drive out bad habits like procrastination and reduce their fear of failure. Most teens procrastinate because they have not been taught how to manage large workloads, not because they lack intelligence. Teaching teens study skills rather than focusing solely on content is sure to bring about much greater success for students. Not only will students be better learners but, they will also develop more independence and better decision-making skills.
Time Management Tips for Teens
Give Teens Time Management Tools
We can’t expect teens to be able to handle a heavy academic workload if they are never taught how to do so. Work with your students to develop planning skills by showing them how to effectively use a planner. Explain to students what to include in a monthly and weekly planner. Then show students how to prioritize the tasks they have written on each day of their weekly planner. Once students understand how to prioritize their time, they become much more successful at managing time. Help students cope with large workloads like studying for tests or working on a long-term project by showing them how to break the workload down into smaller, more manageable parts. This free time management handout provides an opportunity for students to thoroughly plan their time and actions for large academic tasks.
Help Teens Set Goals
Talk to students about their personal goals. Often a teen is more motivated to work toward a personal goal rather than an academic goal. (Don’t worry though, the sense of achievement from reaching personal goals will serve as motivation to work toward academic goals.) Teach students how to write effective goals by using the SMART goal strategy or the CAMP Success strategy.
Show students how to create an action plan to achieve their goal. Creating a step-by-step plan allows students to break down their work toward a goal into smaller time frames.
Help Teens Reduce Distractions
If students have planned properly they will know exactly what time they should start studying or working on homework. When teaching time management skills, encourage students to put away their cell phones and other electronic devices during work time. Time spent talking with friends, browsing social media, or playing video games causes unnecessary loss of time. Research has shown that cell phones have a negative impact on student learning. Even when silenced, research has proven that cell phones lessen the ability of a student to focus which prolongs the time it takes to get a task done.
Encourage Teens to Take Breaks
Teachers often focus on using every bit of time in the day for work when teaching time management skills rather than acknowledging that working on something for too long most often leads to a loss of focus. Using time effectively is more important than simply using all the time we have. We have to keep in mind that our end goal as teachers is to help our students learn well, not learn fast. Encouraging students to take short breaks during their work time to keep their attention spans up serves as one of the most important time management tools for students. One of the benefits of scheduling study time is the ability to include short breaks.
Help Teens Motivate Themselves
Sometimes just getting started on something is the hardest part. Have students use a timer to get motivated. If a student is feeling unenthusiastic about their task at hand, have them set a timer for a few minutes with the idea that once the timer goes off, they will start working or studying right away. This will give them the short break they need to regain their focus and energize themselves to tackle whatever lies ahead. Mastering time management is no easy undertaking but when teens develop the skill of task initiation, time management is quick to follow.