Do you find yourself often feeling like there is too much to do, but not enough time? Between school, extra curricular activities, a part-time job and other priorities high school students often have, it wouldn’t be surprising if some students feel pressed for time. However there are ways to manage some of those stresses and time crunches and that is with strong time management skills.
Why Are Time Management Skills Important?
Learning skills for managing time is something you’ll be able to carry through your entire life. Whether you pursue post-secondary education or in your future career, being able to manage your time is a soft skill that will make you an effective team player and help you reach and be successful in your goals. They help you structure your work in a way that will allow you to be successful. A great example from popular job-search site indeed.com, highlights that good time management allows you to be present. If you’re late for a meeting at work or if you’re late for a class at school, you may miss critical information for the job you need to get done. Having strong time management skills will ensure you don’t miss those important times in your schooling or work life. It’s never too late to learn new skills and as the blog Social Barrel highlights learning new things is a fundamentally fulfilling aspect of being human. It can help foster a sense of personal pride and achievement, and allow you to see the world in a new way. As humans, we are lifelong learners but establishing routine and skills like those for time management can help set us up for success.
Now we know why time management is important, but how do you start to develop those skills?
- Start Your Day With Purpose
Setting a morning ritual or routine is one great way to get the juices flowing and help you plan out your day. As the world has shifted to working and learning from home so have the routines we have. It is well known that productivity can start to wane as the day progresses. You become more tired or fatigued as you make decisions through your day, therefore making the most of your morning can often ensure a more productive day and create the energy to be productive throughout your day. Ensuring you take advantage of that first hour or two of your day can help you make the most of your time.
One of our previous blog posts Tips For Back To School highlighted the importance of setting a morning routine. There are a few things you can do to be prepared for an effective morning. Try exercising in the morning by going for a run or doing some yoga to start your day off. It will put you in a positive mindset and get your juices flowing. Ensure you eat breakfast. You’ve been sleeping for 8 hours and eating breakfast prepares your body and mind for the day and allows your brain to think about learning, not eating. Try accomplishing some small tasks such as making your bed and having a shower every morning. This can help build a routine and are small victories or a task accomplished every morning and can give you the feeling of starting off productively.
- Set Goals Using the 1-3-5 Rule
One method of time management is the 1-3-5 Rule. It is based around the idea that in a given day, there is one main thing you need to accomplish, along with three medium level tasks and five smaller tasks. Consider that it’s difficult to accomplish an endless number of tasks in a day. Sometimes you may just have too much on your plate to get done. Of course there are items that others will rely on you for, so you should uphold those commitments, but on days when you’re looking to complete an assignment, and a number of other items for homework, consider using this rule.
Think about the one thing you must get done today and add that to the top of your list and focus on it first. Then, what are the three things you should get done today? Add those to the list next. Finally, what are five things that you need to get done, but you don’t have to get to them immediately because you either have time or they’re a lower priority. Add those to the end of your list. That is how the 1-3-5 Rule works. The blog, The Muse created this handy Google Drive To Do List template you can use to help you manage your tasks and your time.
- Prioritize Your Tasks
Another way to manage your time is to prioritize tasks based on the level of difficulty. Human beings have a tendency to want to complete the easy tasks first. This is because we are hit with endorphins and a sense of accomplishment when we check something off our list. It feels good to feel like you’re accomplishing something, doesn’t it? That’s not necessarily the best thing to do though.
Business Insider highlights that research has shown the most effective way to be productive is to complete the hardest tasks first. Why is that?
A study by Northwestern University in the United States examined the tendency for people to tackle easier tasks first. One of the studies they examined, looked at doctors working in a clinic and what percentage of easy or difficult cases those doctors took on. They found that “doctors with a higher workload were more likely to choose “easier” cases. But doctors that took on a higher fraction of difficult cases were more productive in the long run.” This all came down to fatigue. Doctors often took on more easy tasks first and then were too fatigued to tackle the harder tasks. This made it more difficult for them when they finally needed to complete those hard tasks.
The study recommended breaking down complex projects into smaller milestones. This can give you the endorphins that come with completing a task, such as those that would come from completing a bunch of easy tasks. while still supplying the challenge and opportunities for development.
This doesn’t mean you should ignore the small tasks and certainly if you have classes to attend or if an online course you’re taking requests that you complete tasks in a certain order, you should follow those directions. But, this is great advice for time management when you have homework assignments and you need to prioritize those assignments.
- Stay organized!
It should go without saying, but staying organized is one of the best things you can do to manage your time. This is highlighted by popular job-search website Indeed.com. “Staying organized can help you maintain a clear picture of what you need to complete and when. Being well-organized might mean maintaining an up-to-date calendar, being able to locate certain documents easily, having a tidy environment and taking detailed, diligent notes.”
In early 2020, we posted a blog post How To Get Organized in 2020. In it, we focused on a number of different methods for organizing and prioritizing tasks. It’s important to find a system that works for you, but one of the simplest things you can do is to simply keep a list. Making a list is a great way to ensure you’re working
- Personalize your list by finding the method that works best for you. Is it a pen and paper list, an app, a whiteboard, or something else? Whatever works best for you is fine
- Prioritize your tasks by listing them in order of importance using the 1-3-5 method.
- Plan your schedule around the list. Once you’ve determined tasks and ordered for priority, try to take it to the next level by using a schedule. Mark a block of time next to the task for how long it should take you.
- Peruse your list and make sure you actually use it. It’s all fine and good to make the list, but make sure you’re going back to it and revising as you have new tasks.
Another great way to get organized is to use a day planner or calendar. You can also use an app such as iCal that has many of the list features available. You can use the monthly and weekly view within your planner to manage your time effectively. The monthly view is best used to track important dates and deadlines that won’t move, such as personal events like birthdays, but can also be work or school related like test dates or deadlines. Meanwhile you can use the weekly view for tracking things that need to be accomplished that week. Be sure to copy the important info from your monthly view to your weekly view so you don’t lose track of it. Time blocking your tasks is one way to do this. If you know a task should take you 30 minutes, schedule a time to work on that task.
The Argument Against Time Management
Often much of the same advice is given to people when learning how to manage their time. We know it is a useful skill to have for boosting productivity, but it can also mean we as humans can become mentally drained or tired. What time management always comes back to, is the idea of productivity, which is something that can be measured in many different ways.
Carson Tate, is the author of a book called the “Work Simply” strategy. He recommends finding your own-personal-productivity style. Manage your time in a way that works for you. Tate describes that there are four major styles of time managers:
- Prioritizers. These people want fact-based analysis and debate. They’re also goal-oriented, consistent, and decisive.
- Planners. These people thrive on details, as well as schedules and action plans.
- Arrangers. These people love acknowledgment, but they also like discussing questions and concerns.
- Visualizers. These people are innovative and open-minded. They do not like excessive details but would rather think about the big picture.
The point is, everyone is different and although some people may be better at scheduling tasks around their time, others may be better off scheduling around their energy levels.
Entrepreneur.com recommends scheduling around your energy levels and not your time. How do you do this? Well, learn to understand when you work most effectively. Some people work best at the start of the day, so consider getting up early to complete your homework and get moving in the day ahead. Others may work best later at night. We know sleep is important, but perhaps completing some tasks before bed is best for you. Schedule some time for interruptions. Plan time to be pulled away from what you’re doing or to allow yourself to procrastinate. You can’t be on top of everything all the time.
Although it is important to work on items when you feel best to do so, there are also important things to remember to keep your energy levels higher. Getting more than seven hours of sleep each night, eating nutritious foods and exercising and allowing yourself time to unplug and relax are just a few things that will help with energy.
Time Management With OES
Learning through Ontario eSecondary School can help you build your time management skills. Our courses are built in a self-guided format, which means it’s up to you to schedule yourself and determine the speed you can or want to work on the course. This means if you possess time management skills, you could finish in as little as five weeks!
OES is a purpose built online high school. Our instructors are experienced in teaching students online and our courses are structured in a clear and concise manner to make it easier for you to guide your learning. As an accredited Ontario online high school, we structure our courses per the Ontario Ministry of Education standards and break up our lessons into very intentional and digestible content that ensures our courses are consistent for all students and creates a positive and streamlined experience so you can earn Ontario high school credits online.
If you’re currently attending high school in Ontario, or if you’re looking for an adult high school in order to upgrade your marks as an international student, OES has a wide range of courses available. From SBI4U to MHF4U, the amazing teachers at OES are ready to support you and help you meet your goals all over the world.
The Ontario eSecondary School has been inspected and accredited by the Ontario Ministry of Education. What does this mean? As a virtual school, all of our courses are recognized by and can be used toward an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) and are also recognized as part of your OUAC application. This makes OES a great partner for upgrading Ontario high school credits online and is also perfect for adult students or international students looking to earn credits for post-secondary.
Learn more about our courses at oeshighschool.com