Better Time Management for Teens

- 12 tips for happier teenagers

› Time Management for Teens

Time management for teenagers matters. They have more demands on their time and attention now than ever before. Phones, friends, websites and worries… they all need to be managed.

Better time management has a number of benefits for them and you...

  • Life changing habits and skills for life are learned at an early age.
  • They study, work, rest and play more effectively.
  • Everyone in the house feels less stress, calmer and a better sense of balance.
  • There is more time for relationships to develop and deepen.
  • They are more independent… giving you more time.

12 tips to achieve better time management for teens:

  1. Place value on time. The best way to value time is to become more aware of its finite nature. The best way to make your teens feel valued is to love them. And, as they say, love is spelt T-I-M-E. 'Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.’ - M. Scott Peck.
  2. Deal with distractions. Tip#1 is more of way of life than a specific action, but it’s true -- the more teenagers value their time, the easier they’ll find it to deal with distractions, many of which are teen focused. Having said that, developing good study habits helps.
  3. Timebox. Many teens put things off. One solution is timeboxing. The idea is to work for a ‘box’ of time. A self imposed limit on the minutes worked reduces the resistance to starting. Even if they timebox 5 or 10 minutes, it starts the ball rolling -- usually the hardest part. Try it, adapt it and keep at it -- timeboxing works.
  4. Have a BHAG. Does your teenager have a BHAG? Do you? A ‘BHAG’, or ‘Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal’ excites, challenges and inspires. Chosen well, it will transform a so called ‘lazy’ person into a motivated achiever. The better they get at setting goals, the more effectively they will enjoy and use their time.
  5. Use a system. Teach your teen to manage what comes in and what to do with it using simple time management systems. Deciding what to do and when to do it becomes so much easier when things are written down.
  6. Set priorities. Many people, teens or not, can reasonably judge what’s urgent, but not so many are aware of what’s really important. One useful way to focus on what matters is to use the time management matrix. This is one of the most effective ways to improve time management for teens.
  7. Sell the benefits. A friend of mine is fond of saying that ‘All communication is simply marketing’. If he’s right, share the advantages of good time management with the teenagers in your life. For example, how much more time could they spend doing what they want to do if they know how to get organized at home or school?
  8. Learn how to say ‘No’. Help your teenager to stand their ground and say ‘No’ to things they can’t, won’t or don’t want to commit to. In the context of better time management, saying ‘No’ is a skill for now, and a gift for life.
  9. Learn to delay gratification. Forget the teenagers; many of us adults need to learn this one! The ability to delay gratification is the hallmark of maturity (which doesn’t make it any easier to do). Developing this ability is just the same as going to the gym -- start small and do it regularly.
  10. Consider friends. Friends become more and more important as children turn into teens, and who they spend time with will increasingly affect their attitudes and actions. Whilst it is not always possible (or healthy) to engineer friendships, increasing awareness of their influence is a significant step towards better teen time management.
  11. Embrace mistakes. Mistakes are good -- they mean action has been taken which means experience is gained. As your teens develop their time management skills, encourage them to work through the inevitable slip ups. Nobody manages their time perfectly. All we can ever do? Keep working at getting better.
  12. Sleep well. All of the above are that much easier to implement after a good nights sleep. What are the sleep patterns in your house? How much technology is in bedrooms? What impact does it have on sleep? Some teens stay up and get up late, so discuss how things are working, what could be improved and how to do it.

You may read these tips, but your teenager may not seem to want to know because, well… it’s you, isn’t it?

Sound familiar? If so, communicate indirectly. Show, don’t tell. Modelling good time management yourself and making time is a winning combination to achieve better time management for teens.




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