Time Management Tips for High Schoolers

Time management can be a tricky thing to learn.

It is something that both high school and college students often struggle with, along with adults. Here are some strategies that can help you learn how to better manage your time and stay on top of your commitments and obligations as a high school student. 

Try these tips out in all apects of your life!

These tips are school-focused, but can also be applied to other parts of your life!

1. Schedule Everything

Use a planner.

Seriously, it works. There are many different styles and sizes of planners out there, so if your school-issued planner isn’t cutting it, go out and find one that works for you! Make sure that you have enough space to write everything clearly and neatly. 

Though scheduling apps can also work, writing your commitments down in a physical planner will help you remember and keep track of them better.

Keep track of all your time commitments.

Write down your daily and weekly schedule in your planner, then write down any other time commitments. This includes school-related commitments, such as sports practice, club meetings, school events, study time, etc., along with personal time commitments, such as family obligations and plans with friends. 

This will help you stay on top of everything, so you don’t over-schedule yourself. Try to keep this up and write down time commitments as they come up. If you go to write something down in your planner and find there is no space for it, you may need to reevaluate your plans. 

Keep track of important school deadlines.

Keep track of important dates for school by writing them in your planner as soon as they are set. This includes tests, quizzes, class assignments, and project deadlines, along with any other important dates for school. Don’t let these due-dates sneak up on you. 

Note: If you’re a senior, don’t forget to include college application deadlines! 

Color-code your schedule.

Color-coding your schedule will help make it more organized and easier to read. You can group commitments together by assigning specific colors to each type (ex: blue for homework assignments, green for extracurriculars, red for tests and due-dates). 

Note: Want to be more creative? Check out how to start a school bullet journal. Remember not to get too carried away with aesthetics though, using your planner is more important than how it looks.

isometric illustration group of students schedule class on calendar

2. Prioritize Tasks

Make a to-do list.

Write down everything that needs to be done for the day, including both big and small tasks. This is a good place to start if you’re feeling overwhelmed because it will help you visually map out what needs to be completed. Make this list at the start of the day or before you go to sleep at night. Don’t worry about the order of the list, that will come next. Remember, to-do lists can be as general or specific as you want them to be. 

To be more organized, you can also make to-do lists that cover the whole week, month, or even school year. Keep these broader to-do lists in your planner to help you stay on track with your goals. 

Use the "ABC Method".

Alright, you’ve got everything you need to do written down, now what? Your list may look daunting, but don’t worry, it’s about to get easier. 

To prioritize your tasks, you can use a method called the “ABC Method”. This organizes your list into 3 specific lists: List A (highest-priority tasks), List B (medium-priority tasks), and List C (lowest-priority tasks). List A items have close deadlines and consequences if those deadlines are not met on time (i.e. writing a paper that’s due tomorrow), while List B items should be completed sooner rather than later, and List C items can be completed at a later time with little to no consequences. Go through and mark your List A items first, then create a new list for these highest-priority tasks. Do the same for List B and C. 

Note: Remember to be flexible. A lower-priority task may suddenly become more important, in which case, you may need to reevaluate your lists. 

Figure out the order of the tasks.

You can prioritize your lists further by breaking down each task. What needs to be completed first? Can any items be grouped together? This is especially helpful for big tasks that will take a lot of time. 

Budget your time.

Take into account how much time each task on your list will take and budget your time accordingly. Give yourself enough room, so you won’t feel rushed.

3. Self-Reflect

Make sure that you are not taking on too much.

If you are overwhelmed with too many commitments and obligations, it may be time to reevaluate your schedule. See if there is anything that can be dropped or modified. Remember, you don’t have to agree to everything.

If there’s a certain task you’ve been avoiding, look at why.

There is often a deeper reason behind procrastination than laziness. Whatever the task is, taking a good hard look at the reason why you keep putting it off will help you accomplish the task instead of wasting time procrastinating. 

For example: Are you feeling overwhelmed? Are there too many other things to work on? Do you not know where to start? Were the instructions unclear? Are you stuck and don’t know how to continue?

Clearing this up will help lessen some of the anxiety surrounding the task, which will make it easier to accomplish it. If you are still stuck, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone for help! 

Remember your goals.

Write down your goals somewhere you can easily see them to help keep you motivated.

4. Relax

Focus on one thing at a time. 

Multitasking can seem like a good way to take care of multiple things at the same time, but oftentimes it takes away from your efforts and can make things more overwhelming. This can lead to having to re-do tasks because they weren’t done right the first time, which just adds more time. 

Instead, focus on one task at a time. You will be able to work far more efficiently this way and you will be less stressed. Taking the time to focus your energy on a single task may take up more time in the moment, but it will ultimately save you time and energy in the future! 

Break up tasks into smaller sections.

If you have a big project to complete, break up the project into smaller sections and work on each section at a time. This will make the task less overwhelming and easier to accomplish. 

Limit distractions.

Procrastination thrives on time-wasters. Try to stay away from the things you know will distract you, such as social media, texting, watching tv, etc. so you will not waste time on them when you should be working. Save these for after you’re finished.

5. Make Time to Relax

Take breaks.

Taking small, frequent breaks will help you be more focused and productive. During these breaks, try not to go on your phone or computer. Instead, get up and move around! Get a snack, do some stretching, or go outside and get some fresh air. This will help you come back to the task with a clear head. 

Give yourself rewards.

Rewards can help increase motivation. Save something fun for after you are finished with your work for the day. This could be hanging out with friends, getting a treat, or watching your favorite tv show. 

Make sure you have time for yourself.

Make sure there is time in your schedule where you have no obligations or commitments. Use this time to relax and unwind or go do something fun! Time management is also about making sure you have enough time for the non-school-related things in your life. This will help prevent you from getting burned out or overworked. 

Need more personalized recommendations?

The above tips and recommendations are broad strokes on study habits. If you have further questions, feel free to contact us for a personal consultation. We look forward to helping you.

About MathTowne

MathTowne is a locally-based tutoring resource. We are here to support students through the key phases of their academic journey: middle school, the transition to high school, all four years of high school, and college preparationOur staff has years of experience in creating personalized lesson plans for all of our students.

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