Teens have a lot on their plate. In any given day, they might have to do their chores, fix their lunch, walk to school, participate in an after-school activity, complete their homework, do more chores, and get ready for bed. Here is a list of all the things that teens may need to organize their time for:
• Completing school projects
• Catching up!
• Commuting to school
• Walking around campus
• Playing an instrument
• Attending events at school
• Playing a sport
• Helping a friend
• Checking email
• Revising your essay
• Chatting with friends
• Attending family events
• Going to the gym
• Getting ready for class
• Caring for family members
• Going out with friends
• Cultivating a relationship
• Meeting new friends
• Going to office hours
• Studying for tests
• Doing library research
Of course, you can help your teen with how to use planners, wall calendars, or a notebook to write down their to-do list and responsibilities for the day. For instance, planners can help teens manage not only their daily tasks but also large school projects that span over a few weeks or months. To-do lists helps your teen stay on top of what they need to accomplish. And when they are done with a task, they can cross it off the list, which in and of itself can create a feeling of accomplishment.
You might teach your teen the tools that you use. In fact, when you teach your teen how to manage time well, you’re teaching them a skill that can be used long into the future. In addition to the tools you teach them, here are some tips you can pass along to your teen:
1. Set Goals. Once they know they need to get certain things done by a certain day or time, they can set goals that give themselves plenty of time for preparation and completion of those tasks. Also, their goals should be realistic. Goals should give them time to take a nap, eat, and socialize. If teens are ambitious, scheduling homework and studying all day, every day of the week, may eventually take a toll on their health. For this reason, goals need to be realistic and healthy.
2. Make A Schedule. Once teens are clear about their goals, they can create a schedule that works well for them. For instance, let’s say a teen knows that he or she needs two hours in the morning for swim practice, then they might want to create a schedule in which they wake up an hour earlier so that you have time to eat and shower before heading to school.
3. Revisit and Revise Your Plan. As teens live out the schedule they’ve created for themselves, they should take the time to make adjustments as needed. For instance, once teens are paying attention to their schedule, they might want to answer the following questions in order to make revisions to their schedule:
• How are you actually using your time?
• Which tasks were you able to do? What didn’t get done?
• Was your energy level appropriate? Your stress level?
• What changes need to be made to your weekly schedule?
• What are persistent time wasters?
• Could better communication have helped you stick to your plan?
• Was procrastination an issue?
Remember that by teaching your teen time management skills you prepare them for the future. You give them a skill that they can use long into their future.