When you are younger, most of your time is organized and controlled by things and people outside of you. Your parents or teachers tell you what to do and when. When to eat dinner, when to go to sleep, when to do math problems and even when to play. As you get older, almost naturally, you begin to have more control over both what you do and when you do it. Yes, you still have a lot of things controlling and making demands on your time but more is probably under your control than when you were little.
So, as you get older and approach the end of high school, you have to take more responsibility for how you control or manage your time. After high school, you probably won’t have someone regularly sitting with you and helping you do your homework, reminding you to leave for work/sports team practice, helping you figure out how much time you need for various assignments and projects, encouraging you to make time for socializing with friends and time to relax and hopefully have fun.
Here are some of the factors to consider in mastering time management. Try to practice some of these skills before you transition out of high school and onto the next phase of your life. If you do, you’ll feel more prepared, organize and independent.
- Planning. It helps to have a general plan for your day. You pretty much know when you are in school but other parts of the day are less structured. Try to have a sketch of when you will take care of assignments and obligations, meals and when you can take some time for yourself.
- Prioritizing. You know that some things are more important than others. You need to take care of the important and urgent items before the things that can wait. But remember, with the longer term projects, you don’t need to do the whole thing at once.
- Staying organized. Keeping your obligations and activities organized will be a big help. A calendar or task book/list can make keeping organized easier for you.
- Keeping balanced. Finding ways to balance schoolwork, other obligations, self-care (meals, sleep, and exercise) and social life and fun actually helps you to be more efficient and effective in your performance, whatever you are working towards. Turns out, having some time to socialize and have fun is good for you! Taking some time to “chill out” and read or watch a video can even help you think things through and problem solve.
- Learning to handle unstructured time. It is great to have some free time. This gives you a chance to relax, catch up with friends, think, play, or take a nap. Some people find they have a hard time dealing with time when there is no set schedule or activities. Think about making a list of things you like to do that you don’t always have time for on busy school days. Your unstructured times are your chance to do some of these things!