If you’re juggling multiple activities, from tough classes to community service to jobs and everything in between, you may find yourself struggling to manage your time without feeling the undeniable strain that accompanies a full load. As a high school student myself, I can attest to the challenges that come with balancing a boatload of activities without being instantly overwhelmed. In recent years, I have found that there are, in fact, ways for me to accomplish everything on my to-do list — and potentially have time to spare. I hope these time management tips will prove useful to you as well as you weather all of the curveballs that life throws your way.
1) Take short breaks.
Though taking breaks may seem on the surface to be the complete opposite of time management, a short recess from any activity can actually boost your performance and speed on that activity. From going on a short walk to simply stretching your muscles, anything that takes your mind off of an assignment or project can help you uncloud your thoughts and view that activity in a new light later on. Just make sure to keep an eye on the clock so that you don’t spend more time on a break than you do on an assignment!
2) Create a schedule.
Trying to remember everything you have to do without writing it all down often results in forgetting — forgetting to complete that biology lab report, forgetting to send that email to a teacher, or forgetting to attend that Student Council meeting. To avoid this, grab a calendar and create a schedule for yourself to outline everything you need to do in a week. In doing so, you can break your to-do list up into separate days to avoid feeling overcome with stress.
The pinnacle of time management centers on prioritization — doing what is most important first, even if it’s the least exciting. Let’s say you have an English essay due tomorrow and a science project due next week. You may be procrastinating on completing the English essay because you’re dreading the dull monotony of writing for hours on end. However, the last thing you need is to be scrambling to write a five-page paper at midnight, all because you spent the whole day working on your science project!
4) Set time limits.
Sometimes, you may get lost in an assignment and spend far too long on it, leaving you with little time to complete a laundry list of other work. Setting a time limit on certain assignments will not only help you adequately budget your time for other activities, but it can also motivate you to work harder. Just make sure to set reasonable time limits (an hour for a five-page paper might be tricky!), and know that if you don’t finish, you can always come back to that activity after you’ve done everything else on your list!
5) Focus on the task at hand.
You may find yourself sneaking a glimpse at your texts or scrolling endlessly through social media while working on an assignment. When you finally put down your phone, you may yelp in surprise (or even horror) upon realizing how much time has passed. While taking a quick text break never harmed anyone, be mindful of how much time you’re spending chatting away on your screen.
Though you may be struggling to adroitly balance everything on your plate, there are a multitude of ways in which you can turn complete disarray into a more manageable day. By creating a calendar, ordering your tasks by importance, and remaining aware of the time, you can succeed at checking off the boxes on your to-do list while potentially even making room for some much-needed you time. In doing so, you’ll likely notice that the rewards are plain as day: higher-quality work, less stress, and most importantly, more time!