Tips and Tools to Improve Time Management
Do you manage your time, or does time manage you? Does the clock run out on the day before everything gets done?
Running out of time is a big issue for families and it’s also a big issue for students—there’s never enough time for homework, family, chores, play, and sleep. There’s not enough time to get that extra project done and go to soccer practice, and not enough time to read that chapter and clean the bedroom. Time management skills can help.
So, what is time management exactly? Time management is being aware of time restrictions and developing a sense of how long tasks take.
Why do students need it? Time management is an important skill for students and families, as having a sense of how long homework (or any school project) will take helps to put an end to last-minute rushes and to the stress of not having enough time to complete an assignment.
Getting Started—Time Management Schedule
Luckily, there are more than a few tools to help students and families develop strong time management skills. A Master Schedule is simply a page that breaks up the day’s hours. Here’s a helpful template you can print off and use today!
By filling in a Master Schedule, you can tell in a single glance all the things you need to get done in a day. Here’s how:
- Fill in the day’s activities, including school
- Fill in chore times
- Fill in homework times (estimate 10 minutes per subject per grade)
- Fill in play time or free time
TIP: Schedule in TV and computer time—these are notorious time suckers. Putting them on the schedule helps to moderate viewing and regulate tech time!
In-School Time Management: The Agenda
The single best tool in a student’s time management toolkit is the agenda. Students’ memories are not perfect, and they already have so much to remember in a day, that’s why many schools provide agendas. But simply having an agenda and writing down tasks doesn’t help improve time management skills—there is a right way and a wrong way to use an agenda effectively.
Check out these effective agenda usage tips:
- Plan ahead and gather all the supplies needed for the next day and put them in a book bag to avoid morning rushes.
- Keep all study and homework materials—pens, paper, calculators, dictionaries, whiteout—whatever you need—in a single spot. Get a clear Tupperware bin to keep everything easily accessible. Don’t waste time searching for items you need to have at the tips of your fingertips.
- Don’t multitask. It’s been shown to be inefficient when studying and has been linked to problems with attention. It also wastes time because you’re doing two tasks half as efficiently than if you were focused on a single thing.
Like any skill, developing time management take practice. A little bit of change in a routine over time helps to turn time management from a vague concept into a reliable habit and helps to improve overall organization – both in and out of the classroom.
Read more about Time Management and Organization: