Time management tips for teens

Life gets busy.

Between your dance class, hockey practice, and piano lesson, there never seems to be enough time to study for that test, finish that assignment, do those chores, and still have time to spend with your friends and do your favourite things.

But there are ways to make sure you won’t have to worry about being too busy and still make time for fun. Here are five surefire tips to help you manage your time so you can do all the stuff you have to do and have plenty of time left for the stuff you want to do.

Prioritize your activities

You have a lot of responsibilities, and they all need your time. But some tasks are more important than others.

Figure out the most important parts of each day and write them down. Then, make it your priority to do those things before starting on anything else. Prioritizing helps you finish the most important things right away so you don’t find yourself worried or stressed about them at the last minute.

It might seem less fun to get home from school, work, or practice and get started on homework or chores right away. But getting those things out of the way first will free up your time later to do the things you like and keep you from stressing.

Create a schedule

Each day, you have certain things you have to do, like go to school, help with chores, or do homework.

Then there are the things you do a few times a week, like going to volleyball practice, working at your part-time job, or tutoring a younger student.

It all seems like a lot but, before you start each day, you can make a list of things you have to do and estimate how much time each task or activity will take. Do everything you can to schedule the most important things earlier in the day.

If you have a big test to study for, schedule your study time for as soon as you get home. Decide how much time you want to spend and write it into your schedule. For example, you could decide to spend one-hour studying before setting the table for dinner. If you write that into your schedule, you’re more likely to get it done and feel good when it’s out of the way. Plus, it’ll mean you have time to do the stuff you want to do later on.

Avoid distractions

Now that you have a schedule, you can get to work. Unfortunately, when you have homework to do, nothing is more tempting than texting, SnapChat, and Netflix.

Find a place to work that’s quiet and where people won’t distract you. It’s easy to fall into a conversation with friends when studying in the school library or cafeteria, but you might find it helpful to have a study buddy who will keep you on track to work hard. Choose that person carefully, or pick a place that keeps you away from distractions.

Make sure your phone, iPod, or tablet is on silent, then stick it somewhere that you won’t be able to see it. If you’re at home, this could be in another room, under your pillow, or somewhere behind you. If you’re at school or somewhere public, hide it in a safe place, like inside of your locker or book bag. Not being able to see or hear your phone will help keep you from being distracted by it.

When you need to use a computer for homework, make sure you keep your school-related tabs open and nothing else. Keeping your favourite apps and Websites closed is a great way to focus on the work you have to do and get it done more quickly, which will give you more time for fun stuff later.

Give rewards

Even difficult, seemingly boring tasks become more interesting when you know you have something to look forward to.

Set reward goals for yourself. For example, tell yourself you’ll eat a snack when you finish reading chapter five of your book for language arts. Or decide that you’ll open Netflix and watch one episode of your favourite show after you’ve finished your half-hour of piano practice for the day.

You know what you like best, so you know what rewards will motivate you. Pick rewards that are exciting to you so that you’ll want to work toward them.

Giving yourself rewards when you finish a task not only feels good but also, wanting to get the reward gives you the motivation to finish that task quickly and well.

Take breaks

Just like rewards, breaks feel great and have major benefits to your productivity.

Taking a break after finishing a task will give your brain and body the rest they need in order to keep working. You’ll be able to think straight and get through more items on your busy schedule without feeling so tired. Breaks also give you the opportunity to check in with your friends or do other fun things you enjoy without taking time away from your scheduled activities.

When you work with breaks, be sure to stick to your schedule. If you planned a fifteen-minute break, set a timer or have someone remind you when it’s time to get back to work. This way, you get the rest you need, but you still get back to finishing your to-do list.

Putting it all together

You have a lot of things that want your time, but with tricks like these, you can get all your work done without becoming stressed out or overwhelmed by your many tasks. Using these tips to manage your time will help you choose where your time goes and leave you time to relax and enjoy life.

Article written by Nancy Razkalla