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20 Time Management Skills For Adolescents

There is so much to balance when it comes to time; think of school activities, chores, sports, time for family, friends, etc. Managing your time effectively will help you get more done and reduce your stress levels.

If you are looking for practical time management skills for adolescents to get the most out of their days, this article is a great resource. 

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Time Management Skills For Teens

time management skills for adolescents

When it comes to time management skills for adolescents, we need to help them learn to set priorities and manage time effectively. In order for teens to manage their time effectively, they need to feel in charge. 

By gaining a thorough understanding of time management, you will be able to make suggestions that will help reduce your teen’s stress.

Here are our top suggestions on how to manage your time more effectively.

1. Create a Weekly Plan

Laying out your weekly plan will not only help you manage your time better but also reduce the risk of getting overwhelmed. Outline all the important things you need to do before you start a new week. 

Having a weekly plan helps you figure out what you need to dedicate more time to and what is more important than the other. That way, you can make the most of your time while accomplishing your personal goals. 

If you are looking for ways to create weekly plans, a notebook or an organizing app can come in handy. You can highlight all your weekly goals, set deadlines, and mark the most important ones.

2. Build a Daily Routine

Having a daily routine helps you take control of how your day turns out. Although no two days are the same, having a rough plan around them can help you manage your time more efficiently.

A good tip for creating a daily routine is to have a series of activities you do at the start and the end of the day. Create a morning routine to start the day off right and get your energy level up. This could be anything from a brisk walk, exercise, meditation, making your bed, or preparing a healthy breakfast

Do the same for your evening to end the day right and prepare for the next day. A daily routine will help you ease into your school day and slow down into your evenings, which is not only necessary for managing time but also for your overall health.

Checking your planner for the next day before going to sleep can also help alleviate any stress or anxiety, as you will have a clearer idea of what your day will look like. 

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3. Identify Your Productive Periods

Teens will differ in when they’re most productive. They might be an early riser or a night owl. Getting to know their own rhythms is the first step to being more productive. 

It is more effective to help teenagers identify their own productive periods than to decide when they should do what.

Allowing teens to control their own time is a key aspect of time management.

4. Break Down Your Goals

It is easier to work on your goals when you break them down into smaller, less-intimidating tasks. When it comes to goal setting, smaller goals are more achievable, less overwhelming, and easier to concentrate on than huge, long-term goals. 

If, for example, you have a math project due at the end of your semester, breaking it down into weekly assignments would be an ideal way to go about it. You will work on the project in smaller chunks, spread across the semester, which will be less overwhelming and engaging. 

As you achieve milestones, you build momentum towards achieving your larger goals. Working on one thing at a time and concentrating on it as much as possible allows you to ease into your projects.

5. Have a To-Do List

Have a To-Do List

The importance of a to-do list cannot be overlooked. To-do lists not only help you stay organized with your tasks but also help you manage time effectively. A to-do list can help you plan for each task and dedicate a specific time of day for each one. 

To-do lists also make it easier to remember everything you need to do at certain times of the day. And, if something comes up, you can add it to your list and tweak your time to suit each task. 

When creating a to-do list, more is not always best. Try to limit your to-do list to the most important things. It’s easier to add some simple tasks when needed if your list isn’t too full and you have some extra time available. 

Lists can be broken down into tasks that need to get done (must do now), that you would like to get done (should do later), and that you want to do (reward). 

6. Set Priorities

One of the biggest enemies of time management is working on tasks without prioritizing. Setting priorities ensures you outline all the important things and set aside time to do them rather than jumping from one task to the other. 

It is advisable to start your day with urgent tasks, then ease into the smaller, less important tasks. The best time to work on your priorities is in the morning when you are most energetic and have a clear mind. 

We sometimes think it’s better to get all the little irritating tasks out of the way first. However, many small tasks can take up a lot of time, leaving less time for more important tasks. 

A key to time management is to always start with the most important tasks first. 

You can use the Eisenhower Matrix to help you prioritize by urgency and importance. Watch the video below to learn how:

7. Use Planning Tools

Managing time can be challenging without a proper planning system in place. You can have ideas of everything you need to do, but without a clear plan of how you will do these things, you won’t have much control over your time. 

Planning tools help you organize your tasks and goals and come in handy to set specific time periods for each task that you have. The goal is to have an effective planning system to help you manage the time you spend handling tasks. 

You can use a physical planner in the form of a book, journal, or sheet of paper, especially if you love writing. But you can also use teen time management tools and apps that you can customize to meet your needs.

With a time management app like Evernote, you can keep track of assignments, notes, and schedules all in one place.

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8. Work in Time Blocks

If you struggle with concentrating on a specific project or task, working in blocks of time can help you. Time blocking means setting time aside for a specific project, during which you do nothing else but concentrate on that particular project. 

If you have a school project to which you need to dedicate time daily, working in time blocks can help you finish the project on time. Time blocks are effective if you incorporate breaks between one time block and another. 

For example, if you have to do something for 3 hours, breaking this down into 3three time blocks of one hour each can be helpful. You can take 5-10 minutes of break time between time blocks to refresh and recharge for your next time block. 

9. Eliminate Distractions

Eliminate Distractions

One of the best ways to manage time is to eliminate distractions from your environment. Keep phones and other devices away if you have struggled with time management, and keep checking on your devices every few minutes. If you do need to check on messages regularly, set a manageable time limit and stick to it. 

If you find it hard working around other people, then find a spot where you can retreat and concentrate. This can be the school library or your room, where the chances of getting interrupted by someone are low. 

10. Have a Reward System

Have a Reward System

You are likely to finish a task or a project if you have a reward at the end of it. You can create a reward system to motivate you to complete tasks and manage your time well. Rewards trick your mind into wanting to accomplish a goal since something good will come at the end. 

A reward system can be something like, if you finish your assignment on time, you get to play a video game for an hour. Or, if you work on something you have been procrastinating on, you get to go to the movies over the weekend.

Rewards can be small. For example, you can make a favorite snack once you’ve finished a task or go sit outside in the sunshine and have a break. 

11. Take Short Breaks Between Tasks

It is easy to get overwhelmed when you jump from one task to another without taking breaks. You are bound to overexert yourself and get tired if you do not take time to recharge and refresh your mind. 

Taking breaks can help you do more with your time, especially when handling intensive, urgent tasks. You can focus on what you need to do for a specific period and take a few minutes to rest before you concentrate on another task.

It isn’t good to sit behind a desk or computer for extended periods of time. Setting up a reminder to get up every hour and stretch is an excellent way to ensure you take short breaks throughout the day. 

12. Manage Stress

You are less likely to manage your time effectively if you are overly stressed. Learning how to manage high-stress levels can help you calm your mind, allowing you to focus on all the essential things you need to do. 

You can manage stress by incorporating physical activity into your routine, organizing your daily tasks and space, breathing in and out when anxious, taking timeouts when necessary, and practicing relaxation techniques like meditating. The idea is to learn how to calm your mind when overwhelmed. 

Suggested reading: Coping Skills For Teens With Anxiety, Depression, And Anger

13. Plan the Night Before

The morning rush can be overwhelming and gets you started in an anxious state. The best way to deal with this is to plan your day the night before. Have a list of what you need to do the next day and outline your priorities. 

This will give you a rough idea of what you have on your plate when you wake up and helps you manage your time wisely. Prepare your next day’s outfit, have your school bag packed the night before, write a to-do list, and set your alarm clock. 

14. Organize Your Space

Having a place for everything can help you build time management skills more than you would imagine. Your space ranges from small spaces such as your backpack to big areas like your room. 

Sort through your stuff and get rid of clutter. Categorize items to find what you need quickly and cut the time looking through the clutter. It can be helpful to label boxes in your room, customize some and stay organized. Remember to return things to their proper place.

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15. Use the 80-20 Rule

The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, suggests that 80% of the outcomes are caused by 20% of the work. That means prioritizing your work to determine the tasks that will give you the most results. That will be about 20% of all the things you need to do. 

Focusing on the 20% is crucial, but that does not mean you neglect the 80%. Tasks that fall under 80% are equally important. They may not yield as much impact but may be as crucial as the ones that will. 

If you’re short on time, then it’s best to focus on the tasks that will yield the most results.

16. Use an Online Calendar

Keeping track of things you need to do is easy with an online calendar. That way, you can keep track of time and stay on top of your priorities. If need be, you can easily tweak your calender’s outline to suit specific days. 

The good thing with an online calendar is that it can send you updates and alert you of deadlines that you set. This is vital in ensuring you manage your time appropriately and handle all necessary tasks before they are due. 

17. Progress over Perfection

Sometimes you may be stuck in the perfection loop, and while there is nothing wrong with perfectionism, you might spend countless hours chasing it. When you are always trying to get things perfect, you will never think you’ve done enough, causing you to keep going back to things repeatedly. 

Seek to make progress rather than perfecting one specific thing. Do your best in whatever you are working on but do not obsesses about making things perfect. You will spend your time doing much more and will be able to control procrastination.

Watch the video below for some amazing tips:

18. Visualize The End Goal

Researcher Fuschia Sirois from Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke, Quebec, identified an approach called “time travel.” A study of 4,000 people found that those who could visualize themselves in the future and imagine how great it would be to accomplish a task were more likely to avoid procrastination.

They were also trained to imagine how horrible they would feel if they put off their work to prepare them for future negative emotions.

Visualization is an effective strategy that may just work for your procrastinating student.

19. Develop Healthy Daily Habits

Develop Healthy Daily Habits

Create time management habits that will collectively work to help you make the most out of your time. If you have bad habits that deter you from working effectively, replace them with good ones that will contribute to your time management techniques. 

These can be exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, limits on electronics, going to bed early, meditating, engaging in extracurricular activities, resting enough, and maintaining your daily routine. These will help you build essential time management skills that you can sustain.

This technique is also called ‘Sharpening The Saw,’ which Franklin Covey explains in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It might sound counterintuitive to take time away from your tasks to exercise, rest, or cook a healthy meal; however, you’ll take much longer to cut down a tree with a blunt saw. Taking time to ‘sharpen the saw’ will actually give you the energy to work harder and faster in the long run. 

You might also like to read: The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Teens

20. Review And Improve

Set aside time at the end of the week to review what worked and what didn’t. Look at possible reasons why you didn’t manage to complete a task. Tweak the schedule to try and improve areas where your teen struggles with time management. 

Some techniques will work better than others, so try adding a few and work towards the improvement of time management with your teen rather than being perfect. Through this process, they learn to be self-confident in their own decision-making abilities.

Hopefully, these time management tips will help you educate your teen on managing their time effectively.

To get the best results, you should start small, with just a few strategies that focus on your teen’s biggest time management weaknesses. 

Encourage them to create their own systems using a planner or an app they feel works best for them. Establishing healthy habits with digital devices, eating correctly, and getting enough sleep are also all vitally important.