How to: Time Management


Photo: Lyndsi Winfield

Students in today’s generation find themselves overwhelmed with so many tasks on their plate. Time management is an important skill that can help when trying to complete everything in a timely manner.

By Lyndsi Winfield, Business & Social Media Director

One of the most important skills you need to learn in your life is time management. An easy way to reach your goals quickly and efficiently is to make sure that you use your time wisely. Every student knows the struggle of trying to juggle school, work, sports and a social life. Here are eight steps to follow as you try to get your life in order as high school student. 

1. Figure out your priorities

Before starting your tasks, you must figure out what you want to prioritize. What is most important to you? School? Work? Sports? Something that can help you decide is a pro’s and con’s list or even just a top five list of your most important things. Another method you could use is the “maintain, improve, change” test. While reflecting on the last few months of your life, write down things you want to maintain, improve and change from all the aspects of your well-being (relationships, health, finances, work, spirituality and personal life). Go through what you wrote and create specific actions that correspond. Keeping something the same in order to receive the same result or changing the way you do something in order to gain a different result are examples of how this test can work.

2. Plan ahead

An easy way to organize your time is to set a plan and create goals ahead of the time. Take an hour at the beginning of the week to make your game plan. This may be writing it out or just mentally planning each day. When will you finish your report? What is your work and or sport schedule? When will you hang out with your friends? Give everything in your week a place and a time so that you don’t have to worry about it each day. But, don’t stress about this too much because sometimes things just don’t go according to plan.

3. Keep a schedule

Going along with your game plan, keeping a schedule can help you remember due dates and where to be at what time. Whether you use a physical notebook like a planner, bullet journal or just an app on your phone, it’s always a good idea. Teachers constantly hand out deadlines, which are easily forgotten without a constant reminder. Color coordinating can be a huge help when trying to see the difference between plans and deadlines. If your work and or sport schedule is not consistent each week, make sure you are always checking it so that you don’t risk being late or missing something unintentionally.

4. Learn to say no

Such a small word, yet so hard to say. The word “no” can be crucial in your time management plan. Train yourself to only say yes to things that will definitely benefit you in the end. Valid excuses like “I have too much homework” and something as simple as “tonight doesn’t work for me” could be your best friend when you are trying to stay on track with your goals and priorities. If you feel too bad to blatantly say no, provide an alternative like a plan in the future or a way to compensate. 

5. Eliminate bad habits

The biggest time-wasters students have are their bad habits. Imagine all the work you could have gotten done during that three hour Netflix binge or going out with your friends for the fourth night this week, knowing you have a paper due soon. Another big habit students need to cut back on is excessive social media surfing. This doesn’t mean you need to delete your accounts or completely zero these things out, but you can start little by little. Maybe limit yourself to only one episode of Netflix or only 30 minutes of media surfing a day. Learn to put your priorities first and bad habits second.

6. Get ahead of the game

Procrastination can be your worst enemy. When you get assignments that have a far out due date, why wait until the last minute to get started? Maybe today’s time is too precious to waste, but you will end up spending the time on it anyways. Teach yourself to start now and if it is easiest for you, allot a few chunks of time until it’s due to work on the task. See extended due dates as an advantage, so that you don’t have to cram everything into one stressful sitting the night before it is due.

7. Avoid only producing perfection

When trying to make the most out of your time, being perfect in everything will take up way too much of it. How much effort you should put into a task can be gauged by how important the task is, and if the product is just for now or forever. Some of the most important things you can learn will come up on the way, so try to focus on the ride and not just the destination. We all love a perfectionist, but in the grand scheme of your time management plan, also be realistic.

8. Take a day to regroup

At the end of a crazy busy week, you may feel like you are on the edge of a mental breakdown. Don’t worry, this is normal. Take a day, or even just an hour to gather your thoughts. This time could also be used to create your next daily or weekly game plan. Silence your phone, get rid of any distractions and use this time to work on yourself. It may be as easy as organizing something that has been bothering you or writing down your thoughts so that you can organize them for the future. 

Following these steps may not prevent all of your stress in regards to time management, but trying them out will definitely get you started and help alleviate some unnecessary pressure and tension. The best time to start getting your life in order is … now.