Time Management

Item *Introduction to Time Management

Welcome to Time Management!

"Try not to have a good time...this is supposed to be educational." -Charles M. Schulz


Does it seem like there is never enough time? Do you need to be more organized? Accomplish more? You've come to the right place! Over the next three weeks, you'll get tips on how to better manage your time. These skills will be useful to you in school, at home or at work.

If you sometimes feel overwhelmed by all that you have to do, you're not alone. In a study by daytimer.com, 62% of people felt they are always or frequently rushing to keep up with school, family, work and social commitments. In fact, in their senior year, students spend only an average of only 10 hours a week with their families!

So, how do we get started making the most out of every day? That's easy - go to the next lesson!

Item How Do You Currently Spend Your Time?

"Half of our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save." - Will Rogers

In school, you're expected to keep all of your homework straight- managing different assignments for different teachers. At home, there are always family responsibilities, whether it's cleaning your room, cutting the lawn, or helping out by taking care of younger brothers and sisters. Some of you might also have jobs, or other activities such as sports and clubs which take up a lot of your time. Of course, you probably would like some free time too!

Picture of clock

We all know there are just 24 hours in each day. How you CHOOSE to use that time is very important. While in high school, students spend about 35 hours per week on class time. If you are planning to go to college, it might surprise you to learn that college students spend only 15 to 18 hours per week in class, but are expected to manage the rest of the time it takes to complete their work (at least 20 hours per week), on their own, so that all of their work gets done. Learning how to manage your time NOW will help you LATER. As a freshman in college, you will need to balance your NEED to study with your WANT to socialize!

Managing your time is a lot like creating a budget, except that you're spending time - not money! To many people time is money, especially in business. Businesses don't like to waste money on employees who waste time. The time management skills you develop now will be useful to throughout your life, so what are we waiting for? Let's begin!

Your Reading

Not sure you want to begin? Don't know how to get started? Read about Overcoming Procrastination (blogs.ibibo.com) by clicking the link below (use Back on your browser to return here when you're done reading) and find out how you can stop pushing off 'till tomorrow what you can do today!





Once you're done your reading, take a moment to think about the lessons learned. Be sure you can answer the following questions. Think about how these concepts apply to you. Be sure to go back to your reading, if necessary, to refresh your memory.

1. Think of at least three reasons why people procrastinate. Have you been using any of these reasons to stop you from completing your work?

2. Do you sometimes need help understanding your priorities? What are some of the tools you can use to help you prioritize the things you need to do?

3. If you are putting off doing something because the task is unpleasant or you're overwhelmed, what are some approaches you can use to "get over it"?

Since procrastination is now a thing of the past for you :-) ... your next step is to discover how you're spending your time, so you can manage it more appropriately.

Your Assignment

Your first assignment is to make a Google calendar of the activities you have due over the next month. Your calendar can be electronic or hard-copy, as long as it contains space to list your activities each day. The most important thing is to make a record of where you will be "spending" your time.

Start by adding in the things that take up most of your time. The most obvious one would be school! Don't forget to list the time it takes you to get to and from school. (example: School with Travel Time 7:00AM-3:30PM). Next, list the important items that you know are coming up over the next month, that are within your school day (example: US History Final Exam May 1st). Next, list any special dates or social events you have coming up (example: John's 16th Birthday Party February 10th). If you have a job, add your work schedule to your calendar, including the time it takes you to get to and from work. Next, list any chores you are responsible for (example: Take out trash Monday), and any items you just don't want to miss (example: Watch The Office Monday 9PM)! Finally, add to your calendar any club meetings, music lessons, sports practices and games, volunteer time, and any other activities you need to remember.

Now, take a look at your calendar. Now that you can "see into your future" you should have a good idea of your busy (and not so busy times) over the next month. Take a moment now to identify any problem areas. For example, if your cousin's birthday party is on the 3rd, and your French test is on the 4th, you need to add time on the 2nd to study for your French test - or ditch the party! Make additions to your calendar now to help you manage these busy times. Be sure to keep your calendar with you each day, and add new items as you need to.

HINT: Use the blank blocks at the end of the month to list the things you have coming up next month (example: Football double sessions start August 1st) so you can "see" into the future :-)

The calendar you have created won't help you get things done - but it will give you a "big picture" view of the many things you need to do. This is the first step to managing your time well!

Food For Thought

According to pbskids.org, the right amount of sleep is an absolute must, especially for teenagers. Doctors agree that young people need at *least* eight hours of sleep every night. If you plan to sleep less so you can do more, think again! You'll find that because you are sleepy, you're more sluggish, and tasks will end up taking you longer to complete. If you're reading the same sentence over and over and losing focus, it's time to step away from the keyboard and get some sleep!

Item Using Your Time More Productively

"This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

In your last assignment, you created a monthly calendar. Now that you can "see into the future", it's time to start getting things done!

When you look at your monthly calendar it can seem pretty overwhelming. It might also seem that as a student, everyone else (but you) is in control of your time! To stay motivated, it's important to celebrate your accomplishments. Reward yourself when you complete a challenging task or finish a big project - this gives you something to look forward to so you keep your eye on the prize :-) Remember that you are not alone. There are almost always mentors (teachers, older brothers or sisters, a parent, your guidance counselor, a close friend) who can help keep you motivated by giving you suggestions - or sometimes just listening. Having a support network and relying on that network to help you through the rough times can help you accomplish your goals. Don't be afraid to use them!

Your Reading

It's time to take the next step along your path to good time management. Take a moment to visit the College Board web site and read their Time Management Tips for High School Students. When you're finished, use the Back button on your browser to return here.


After reading these ten tips, some might have seemed obvious, and others, more difficult. Think about what *you* might do, in these situations:

  1. Your best friend just broke up with her boyfriend, and she's very upset. Even though you have a Chemistry lab report due tomorrow, she NEEDS to see you NOW. You've just started working on your calculations. What do you do?
  2. You are not a morning person, at least not until that first cup of iced coffee with extra sugar! Tomorrow at school, you have a math test second period. Lucky for you, you have a study hall first period. You decide to prep for your math test during your study period so the material is "fresh" in your mind. Is this a good decision or a bad decision? Why or why not?
  3. You've got a soccer game right after school on Tuesday, and your boss asked you to work the "graveyard shift" on Tuesday from 8:00PM until midnight. What do you do?

Making difficult decisions is a necessary step toward good time management, and you're more than half-way there!

Your Assignment

Your next assignment is to create a prioritized to do list. First, find a small notebook that you can carry with you during the day. Next, use your notebook to make a list of the things you need to do today, tomorrow, and by end the end of the week. By breaking your "to do" items into these three categories, we are prioritizing your schedule, deciding what is most important to do right away. Remember, you can refer to your calendar to see the long-term stuff you have coming up - right now we are focusing only on the things you MUST get done THIS WEEK.

Take a look at today's list. Are there too many things on the list - way too many to accomplish in by the end of today? If so, pull off some of your "today" items and break them into chunks, leaving some of the pieces in "today" and others" for "tomorrow" or even later in the week if possible. Really think about each item on your today list. What MUST be done and what can wait? Be ruthless! You might consider this procrastination because you're putting off some of your today tasks until later, but in reality you're using good time management skills! Instead of getting nothing done because you are overwhelmed with the size of your list and don't know where to begin - dividing most of your large tasks into small, manageable pieces is a great way to get things done - as long as you stay focused and use your calendar and to do lists as guides. For example, if you have a research paper due in two weeks, it's time to start planning how to divide, and conquer! In this case you could start by spending one day identifying your research subject, another creating your topic outline, and a third beginning to gather research. As they say, slow and steady wins the race!


At the end of a week, take a look back at your week. What did you have to do, and what did you accomplish? Think about what worked well, and what didn't work well. Use your experience to develop your list for the next week.

HINT: When creating your prioritized to do list, be sure to build some free time into your schedule. If you think a task will take you half an hour to complete, give yourself an hour for planning purposes. By keeping your schedule flexible, you have more time for the unexpected items that come up, and some much-needed down time!

Food For Thought

What is personal time? Who does it belong to? We all know that there are 24 hours in a day, but does all of that time belong to us? If you have a job, or are in school, you have traded part of your personal time so you can earn money, or get a good education. Your personal, or "free" time is the time that is truly yours to do with as you wish - the time that has not been traded for something else. According to timemanagementhelp.com, the average person, in an average day, spends:

  • 8.5 hours sleeping
  • 1 hour devoted to personal care (bathing and personal hygiene)
  • 2.5 hours on household chores (cooking, cleaning, shopping)
  • 8.5 hours at work and/or at school or school activities on weekdays
  • 4 to 5 hours on work and/or school activities on weekends
  • 3 hours caring for others (children, spouses, family members, volunteer work).

As you can see, there's not much "free" time left!


Item Review, Revise, and Keep Your Eye on the Prize!

"For time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future." - John F. Kennedy


 We've reached the summit, the end of our journey, and it's time to put into practice all of the things we've learned.  

Your Reading

As students get older, many choose to get part-time jobs to earn a extra money. In this lesson, we're going to take a moment to learn more about how to balance school and work. Visit the College Board web site and read Balancing High School and Part-Time Work.  When you're finished, use the Back button on your browser to return here.  


Next, read how to Take Control of Your Homework, So It Doesn't Control You! When you're finished, use the Back button on your browser to return here.  


Your Assignment

Your final assignment is to create a 2-3 comic in Comic Life, summarizing what you've learned about time management. You are to use the tips and techniques we've discussed in the lessons and readings, and your experiences creating your monthly calendar and weekly prioritized to do list, to create your paper. To begin, think about issues you have had in the past, with managing your time.  What areas gave you the most trouble - school, home, work, all of the above?   Of the techniques we learned, choose at least three that you'll be able to use to help you overcome the issues you've encountered in the past.  To help you get started, read the "Lucky 13"  time management tips in Food for Thought, below.

HINT:  Good time management is really the same thing as good organization. Use your monthly calendar and your weekly to do list to keep details on your routines. You don't need to schedule every move you make, but listing every-day tasks will help you remember what you need to do, to accomplish your goals. Baby steps lead to big accomplishments!


Food For Thought

Here is a quick summary of some of the most important time management tips.  Although we can't "buy" or "save" time, hopefully these tips will help you "spend" your time wisely! 

  1. Keep a detailed schedule so you can keep your eye on the prize - those high priority "to dos"!
  2. Divide big tasks (anything with a deadline) into smaller tasks that can be done over a larger period of time
  3. Stay up-to-date on your school work, and if possible, work ahead
  4. Schedule time to relax and do the things you like, so you stay refreshed
  5. Build flexibility into your schedule, for those unexpected tasks that pop up
  6. Be realistic - don't overestimate or underestimate the time it takes to complete tasks 
  7. Don't be afraid to ask for help from mentors or friends if you need it, and delegate (pass work to others) when you can
  8. Write yourself a note (or better yet, add to your to do list) when you want to remember to do something
  9. Finish what you start - put things away when you finish with them so they're where you expect them!
  10. When you stop working, mark your place so you don't have to wonder where you left off next time!
  11. Prepare for each new day the night before (lay out your clothes, write your tomorrow to do list, and leave your keys in the same place)
  12. Get enough sleep - at least 8 hours per night!
  13. Learn to say "No!" in a courteous way - the most important rule of time management!