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10 Time Management Tips for Students

Helping students develop a set of strategies for managing their time is never wasted time.

By Lani Aquino

It certainly can seem like there is never enough time in the day. This is a dilemma that plagues students and persons of all ages. Finding ways to manage the time that is available during the day can go a long way toward alleviating many daily stressors. By offering implicit instruction and discussion of time management skills, teachers are offering students the foundation for a lifetime of improved productivity and mental health. When those time crunch stressors start to overtake, having the strategies to look at the big picture and make a plan can be priceless. These 10 time management tips offer timeless support for an overloaded schedule and/or the ins and outs of everyday life.

  1. Eliminate Distractions- This can look different at different ages. Headphones with white noise or instrumental music (Baroque music is known for its positive effects on memory and attention.) could be used in learning spaces with lots of distractors. Making wise choices for study buddies and/or peers in proximity can also be effective. Placing distracting apps (e.g., social media, games) in an off-limits folder for study time can also help students maintain their focus and removing any push notification updates can alleviate distractions as well.
  2. Create a Schedule- Yes, there is a schedule in place at school, but are there student choice times that need to be managed within their own mini-schedules? There are also a lot of hours outside of the school day that could benefit from time management. This could be completed as a whole class activity to analyze how after school hours are spent and determine where more effective time usage could benefit. This can also be an eye-opener for healthy lifestyle choices with sleep, exercise, nutrition, etc.
  3. Pinpoint Productive Time- Everyone is different; the most productive time of the day varies from person to person. By pinpointing when students feel they do their best work and helping them find ways to utilize that time slot for their most challenging activities, they are likely to be more efficient and productive in accomplishing necessary tasks. This may translate to a study period, right after school, after dinner, or another slot that is the perfect fit for each individual student.
  4. Supply Centers- By having supplies accessible in learning spaces at home and at school, time lost in gathering the necessary materials is regained. Organized work spaces at school translate to more efficient learning time. Sending suggestions to parents for creating and maintaining learning spaces at home can do wonders for improving the quality of work and the motivation to complete it.
  5. Utilize Travel Time/Down Time- When students reflect on how their time is spent throughout the day, it can reveal large chunks of time that could be managed more positively. A long commute can be spent in a more productive fashion than zoning out with earbuds pulsing favorite tunes. Students won’t set up work stations on the bus, but they could listen to a podcast, look through study materials, read, etc. Travel times to games and activities can be used as review time for any upcoming assessments. This doesn’t mean that all time must be study time because being social is also a priority. But, if there is an overloaded schedule, these are times when some out of the box thinking can be beneficial.
  6. Record Deadlines- A digital or pencil paper calendar for deadlines and due dates is an essential practice to share with students. Reminders are also an important component to add to said calendars. Whether it’s an alert as a deadline approaches or a breakdown of progress checkpoints, students need to record the big picture and scaffold their way toward reaching it.
  7. Chunk Time- With goals and deadlines that are created, it is imperative that teacher-created checkpoints and student self check-ins are instituted. Students need to see the importance of chunking big tasks into smaller ones. Without the breakdown of the larger projects and assignments, students can procrastinate, get overwhelmed, and feel defeated. By chunking goals to check in on progress, time-intensive studies become manageable and achievable.
  8. Prioritize- Helping students determine priorities and order them accordingly is a lifelong skill that can make a huge difference. There are different levels of prioritizing. Students need to look at big picture prioritizing as they choose how to spend their time inside and outside of the classroom in relation to school, activities, screen time, social interactions, etc. They also need to learn to prioritize work time and areas of focus. While the artistic portion of a project may be what a student enjoys doing the most, time must be prioritized to ensure that all learning goals are being met.
  9. To-Do Lists- Calendars are a great place to start when creating to-do lists. They give students a chance to see what should be prioritized. Not every aspect of the day will appear on the calendar though. If students keep a thoughtful running list of daily goals, it can help them maintain focus. Teachers typically post a log or agenda for the day to keep everyone on track. A student to-do list helps students stay on their personal track and feel a sense of accomplishment as each task is completed.
  10. Be Realistic- Just because it’s written down, prioritized, or scheduled, doesn’t mean that this equates to its successful completion. A lot of time management falls into the realm of being realistic too. When goals are set, it helps students move toward completing them. Flexibility and wiggle room go a long way toward building a healthy psyche. No time management tip out there can help someone manage too much. With a healthy and realistic outlook though, students can know they’re putting their best foot forward as they work toward being the best version of themselves they can be.

Helping students find ways to balance their responsibilities is a lifelong skill that will benefit them long after their time in the classroom ends. Through the purposeful introduction and facilitation of time management strategies, teachers are giving students the ability to positively manage everyday life. With these 10 tips, students and teachers can make the most of their time in the classroom and beyond.

If you enjoyed the thoughts and ideas shared here, check out the trainings and tools (for teachers and for families) that we offer.


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