With a phone in your pocket, the opportunity for diversions mushrooms. Texting and social media alone can and do engulf hours in a day. Time management for teens is a bigger need now than ever before.
The Teen Vogue Article
In an article entitled 11 School Organization and Time Management Tips, Emma Sarran Webster publishes tips from 11 different people. Each gives their view on how teens can become better organized and better managers of their time. I was one of those 11.
The suggestion I have for teens? Make the most of your downtime. Here is my contribution:
Even the busiest people tend to have bits of downtime between classes, commitments, and activities — the ones that are too short to go home and nap or relax, or get any major project done, but long enough to accomplish something quick and easy. The key there is knowing what you can accomplish. “Have tasks at hand that you can complete quickly [like] answering emails, returning a phone call, reading a section of an assignment, or writing a thank-you note to your grandmother,” Frank Buck, author of Get Organized! Time Management for School Leaders, says. “You will be amazed at how much you can accomplish during a break between classes, standing in line, or waiting for that notoriously late friend to show up.”
Making Good Choices Easy
When spare minutes present themselves, texting and social media gobble them up. Why? Because those tasks are easy. What if we could make better choices easy? Here is a starter list:
- Use a “signature tool” to trap to-dos as soon as they occur. A digital task manager is my preference. A paper planner works. A book small enough to fit in a pocket or purse will do the job. Consistency is the key.
- Organize the list so that it “flows” logically. Batch similar tasks to make their accomplishment quicker.
- Word tasks clearly. When you look at a task, you know exactly what you need to do.
- Make tasks bite-sized. When you have 5 minutes, it helps to have tasks on the list you can do in 5 minutes.
- Have what you need. When you look at your list for the day, ask yourself what materials you need to have with you to make them happen. Have a few thank-you notes to write? You can crank them out during spare minutes, but only if you have the blank cards with you.
- Let your list be the compass that drives the day. You made choices about what goes on the list and organized the list logically. Look at the list throughout the day. Plan your work and work your plan.
Each of us is given the same 24 hours every day, regardless of our ages. How we use them makes all the difference. A leaky faucet wastes gallons of water over time. Our ability to make use of the small pockets of time goes a long way towards making today count.