Time management is a topic that many students struggle with. Here are some tips from students we’ve worked with that they have found useful. We hope you will consider using them when you are struggling with an overloaded schedule.
Create a to-do list
It may be a no-brainer, but putting a list together can help you understand what needs to get done. After that, the next step is to highlight, circle, or otherwise indicate what are the three most urgent, must-do tasks, and focus on them. And figure out what method works well for you, and use that – some kids still like paper and pencil, others use apps, others use notes on their phone.
Schedule time for important tasks
Instead of waiting until the day before a big test or paper is due, plan time in your calendar ahead of time that is specifically set aside for high priority assignments. Many students share that planning out their week each Sunday is a helpful way to not get overwhelmed by how much work you have to do. Some even color code different assignments in their calendar, or set aside one day for each core subject to get the major assignment/ studying for that class completed on that day. Try out a few different methods and discover what works for you.
Break big things down into smaller chunks
Many students can feel overwhelmed by having to write a long paper, so they procrastinate. We often hear that just taking the time to write one paragraph, and then a few more the next day, and so on, is a better way to mentally approach it. Make sure to schedule these pieces of the assignment so they are a priority.
Turn off wi-fi and other distractions for periods of uninterrupted focus. Some students say they can only go for 10-15 minutes at first, but once they get into the habit, they are able to expend these periods of focus for longer and longer periods of time. At the end of each “focus session”, give yourself a break (check email, texts, social media, or get a snack).
Get enough sleep
You may hear this from your parents, but we hear it from students as well. Getting a good night’s sleep before a big test (and we would add, in general) can help you have the energy and focus needed to do well.
Following these time management tips can help you feel in control of the work you need to get done. Good luck!