THE BLOG
11/16/2015 03:09 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

7 Time Management Techniques for Teens

Some weeks, it seems like we have no time.

Your high schooler may feel the same way. And when they're stressed about upcoming tests and losing track of assignments, their grades can suffer.

To help your teen get organized and on track for school, introduce them to these 7 time management techniques (and maybe steal a few for yourself!).

1. Map out the weeks
Every Sunday, take some time to discuss the upcoming week with your student, and make a list of things that fall into these categories:

  • Need to get done ("Bottlenecks," that need to get done immediately)
  • Would like to get done (Can wait a bit longer)
  • Want to do (Recreational things like watching TV)

Then have them write out Monday - Friday and note the amount of hours they have for each. There should be a start and end time for every day. Help them place the different tasks based on priority and time.

2. Use Calendar Updates
In today's world, kids are practically glued to their phones, but this dependency can be used to their advantage...because it means they can use calendar updates!

If your child never uses their calendar, help them find it and show them how to set up alerts. They should make a habit of transferring info from their planner to their phone calendar every night.

Or, here's an alternative -- introduce your child to one of the many helpful high school planner apps!

3. Break big tasks into smaller ones
When we have a huge task to complete, we tend to put it off because we're not sure where to start.

For example, "Cleaning the bathroom" can seem like a simple task, but what does it really entail?

  • Cleaning the grout
  • Washing the rug
  • Sanitizing the counter
  • Mopping the floor
  • Putting everything away
  • Emptying the garbage...

No wonder you can't get around to "simply" cleaning the bathroom, because it's not simple! You have to break it into smaller, less-intimidating tasks.

Show your child how to do this. Have them write the big task at the top, and then break it down into littler tasks. Turn these smaller tasks into a checklist that they can follow.

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4. Prep for school the night BEFORE
Your teen may be losing sleep trying to keep track of everything they'll need for school the next day. They may be skipping breakfast or not packing a lunch because they don't have enough time in the mornings.

To remedy this, have your student lay out their school clothes, and pack their lunch and backpack before they go to sleep.

5. Have a place for everything
Teens don't always understand the importance of having things in order, but this doesn't mean it won't significantly improve their life if they learn!

Some tips to help your student organize their space:
  • Have them sort their stuff into categories.
  • Ask them to find a place for each category of things to go
  • Show them how to use a label-maker for drawers and shelves
  • Remind them to return things to their proper place

6. Time yourself
When your student gets a sense for how long things REALLY take versus how long they THINK they take, your student's productivity will soar.

30/30 is one high school app students can use to time themselves. The Pomodoro method is another optional time management technique, and Toggl is another time-tracking app.

Frances Booth of Forbes states:

"Allow yourself spells of uninterrupted time to get on with important tasks. Build up your concentration in stages, from 15 minutes, to half an hour, to an hour. Notice how much work you're getting done."

Encourage your child to pick a time-tracking method that suits them and stick to it.

7. Use Google Docs
Our beloved technology is not as secure as we may think.

For example, you may not realize that a USB is predetermined to self-destruct at any given point, with no warning at all. Phones and computers die.

Your student can lose a 5-page research paper if they don't have it saved at an inopportune moment of reckoning.

Introduce your student to Google Docs so they will never lose another assignment.

If you're new to Google Docs, it comes with Gmail, and saves your work in real-time. If your kid's computer crashes, they can hop on any other internet-connected computer and pick up right where they left off!

Conclusion
Staying organized and on track is something many teens struggle with, but if they can make a habit out of these 7 time management techniques, they will feel confident, relaxed, and perform better in school.

And once they get the hang of these techniques, they will be able to see the benefits for themselves, and you won't have to keep reminding them!

Do you or your student use any time management techniques or time management tools that I didn't list above? Tell us in the comments!

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(Note: A longer version of this post appeared on Student-Tutor's blog. For the full experience, click the link!)