Hey champ! How's the school year so far? Are you surviving or thriving?
What's the difference you say? The short answer: time management.
The long answer: having good time management skills allows for a better work-life balance, to have more time, and toenjoy more life while minimizing stress. And school is the perfect time to establish and practice those skills!
Still don't buy it? Explore the importance of time management skills to make your life easier at school andset up your success for the future.
Know What's Ahead of You
When first starting time management, the first question to set a good foundation is: "What do I need to get done today, this week, and this month?"
It is important to not only address immediate work that needs to get done, but also be aware for the future so you are working to keep pace, and not needing to always catch up on work.
Make a list of the work for the week, as well as look ahead up to a month for future work to be aware of.
In terms of school, this means looking at the syllabus to see what major projects and tests are coming up, as well as keeping up with what work needs to be completed weekly. If you feel inclined, do some extra work to not worry about it later!
Make Important Work a Priority
So you have this collection of tasks, but how do you know where to start? Which tasks need to be completed sooner than others?
The Eisenhower Matrix is a perfect tool to organize tasks based on two factors:
Urgency = the immediate attention a task needs.
Importance = the task's value to being complete.
It separates tasks into four categories as seen below:
Organize your work based on the matrix to get an understanding of:
where to start first
where most of your attention needs to be
what work you can schedule to complete later
Now you have a list of prioritized tasks!
In regards to school, it means prioritizing different important tasks, such as daily work (ie. homework for the week), but also making time for studying or working on larger assignments.
While you won't be delegating much because your work is your responsibility, you begin to see which tasks are more distracting than productive.
As a student, which tasks would fit under the "Schedule" (ie. important but not urgent) category? Select all that apply:
Use Your Time Well
Now that you know what to do and in what order to do them, how much time do you need for each task?
It's important to balance how much time you can give to certain tasks — you only have so much time in the day, especially with school.
Always aim for the minimum amount of time needed, but leave enough time to do the task well.
It's also important to understand that the time set for each task is a commitment, meaning a task requires your full deliberate focus to complete in time, not:
getting distracted by a phone or friends
starting on another task
spending more time than planned on a task
You can now begin making a schedule! Use a weekly planner to keep you organized.
For school, it can look like giving more time to finish homework than to study depending on what needs more attention. Also, it means that if you need 30 minutes for homework, you'll take 30 minutes to exclusively focus on homework.
Structure = Freedom
With all those steps, the final question is: "Why? What is all of this for?"
By successfully doing the above steps, you'll find out that there is a lot of time left in the day to do the things you want. Not just your hobbies or socializing, but time to intentionally relax or use your phone!
All the while, you won't have to worry about unexpected work or falling behind. You can just enjoy the moment!
For school, this is important because there are formative experiences outside of school work and extracurriculars. Time with friends and family, experiencing art and media, planning fun trips, resting, or doing nothing at all.
In short, time management allows you to cultivate more of a very valuable resource to fully enjoy as you please: time!
Transferable to Life
So why school? Why start to learn it here?
Because it is the perfect place to practice! Balancing multiple responsibilities and completing tasks will only get more challenging in the future.
Practice comes with making mistakes, and school allows you to learn from these mistakes without dire consequences.
Having time management skills is a superpower when it comes to having a job and starting a career. Employers in any field will be more likely to hire you when you demonstrate you can focus your attention and efforts effectively.
If you are able to master this skillset now, it will benefit you later when establishing a healthy daily routine, work-life balance with your career, and achieving new goals in life.
Remember, that there is a lot more time in the day than you think. Minutes stolen by entertainment, lack of a plan, and small distractions become hours lost.
Place your attention on your life, and live it effectively and fully. That's worth your time and attention!