3 Ways to Organize Your Time
For high school students, the ability to manage time effectively can be the difference between having a stressful school year and a well-balanced productive school year. Learning to organize and prioritize time effectively in high school will also prepare students what to expect in college and employment. The goal of better time management is to take pressure off the student and help them find a routine that works best for them individually to achieve their academic, personal/social, or career goals.
There are three main steps to organizing time effectively.
The first thing a student can do to understand how to manage their time is to collect raw data on how they are currently spending their time. This is assessing where their needs and problem areas are so they can address them. There are a few options that students can do for this step. For example, if the student has a smart phone, there is a useful app called ATracker. ( http://www.wonderapps.se/ATracker/home.html) In this app, the student can create the task they are doing for the day such as: studying, entertainment, chores…etc Once they have their set categories, they simply press the task button and it begins recording their time spent doing that. When the day is complete, there will be a pie chart under the report tab that visualizes what they have been doing with their time. It is a free application to download. If a student does not have internet or a smartphone, they can write the information down on paper and chart it if necessary, for visualization. They can do this for a week or two to collect enough data to look for patterns and areas for improvement.
Once this is complete, they can find the areas they want to change. For instance, perhaps a student fins they are spending much more time on entertainment and not enough studying. They can rearrange their schedule accordingly. They can keep a schedule through the same application, they can use a daily calendar on Microsoft Outlook, or a hand-written daily planner can be helpful as well. Now the student can implement the change in how their time is spent. They can do this for a few weeks to see if they have made any improvements in the areas important to them.
After implementing their plan for a time, the students can then evaluate their progress. They could find their stress level is much lower, their grades are better, they are turning in homework on time, they are not as tired or exhausted in school, or their attendance could be better. Whatever the case, once evaluated they can start the steps over again. This is perfect for high school students because even if their plan does not get the results they wanted, they can re-evaluate, reassess, and try another schedule.
The most important takeaway about time management is that it is a useful skill which will help high school students throughout the rest of their lives. It is not a skill that is limited to only school. They will be able to find gaps in their day where they can fill it with much needed things like self-care, socializing, or a need to find additional study time. It is a skill that will lead them on a path to learning about accountability, responsibility, and eventually becoming an adult.
Stephen Keck is a graduate student in School Counseling at Florida Gulf Coast University in my final year. He obtained his Bachelor's degree in Film at The Ohio State University. His goal is to advocate and help students achieve their goals.