Time Management for High School Students

Time management for high school students is a big issue, for two groups of people:

1. Parents, teachers and carers (who want their kids to do well at school)

2. Students (want the same, but with a much bigger slice of fun pie than those adults realize).

Taking a few minutes to improve your time management can keep everyone sweet.  You’ll do better, feel better and have more time to do what you want.

A little effort will pay a lot.

Worth it?  

Okay, let’s do this…

There are three common issues that affect the quality of time management for high school students:

  1. Workload
  2. Distractions
  3. Motivation

Let’s ‘How to’ each one…

How to manage your workload

When you’re at school everything is structured for you. 

Your job is to be at the right place at the right time, do the work and make sure you know what you have to do at home.

And it’s that bit that is so often the hardest.

Here’s what to do...

1. Use your planner

Either the one you got from school or your own -- whatever works for you.

Don’t rely on your memory -- make your planner do the hard work of remembering for you.

Whether it’s paper or digital, make it a habit to record what’s due when.

2.  Do one thing at a time

Pick the next thing from your list and do it.  Trust yourself -- you are the best person to decide what to do next.

You don’t always have to do it in one go, but it is much more effective to focus on one piece of work and to finish it before you start the next.

If you keep one big list of what’s due when, you can easily pick what you want to do next.  This is really effective, but it has to be easy to use.

Keep it somewhere you will see it.

3. Do it well enough.

Homework should always be done to the best of your ability, right?


If you did that, you’d go nuts.

Yes, sometimes you do need to produce your very best.  But there will be plenty of times that you don’t.   

Do it to the level of quality it requires.


Many students don’t put in enough effort and this is usually counter productive -- they have to do it again.  

A good rule of thumb is to submit it only when you can say you’re proud of it.

Okay, so that’s how to manage workload.

Now let’s work out...

How to deal with distractions

Increasingly, time management for high school students is a major problem because of digital distractions.

So how do you focus?

Here's how...

Clear your workspace -- put all the stuff somewhere you won’t see it (sort it out later). Leave just your work.

Turn off your phone and keep it away from your workspace -- out of sight, out of mind really does work wonders.  Your phone will still be there when you finish.

Use a timer -- this will help you to focus on your work.

There is no easy way to make distractions go away -- some self discipline is required -- but there are useful resources online that can help you stay focused:

onlinestopwatch - easy to use timer while you work online

selfcontrolapp (Mac only) - helps you avoid distracting websites

focus@will - good if you work with music on

*  *  *

Okay, so you can manage work and focus on it.

But can you actually do it?


How to motivate yourself

Do you put things off?

It’s probably because the really intelligent part of your brain is telling you that the work is

  • too difficult
  • too boring
  • irrelevant

Whether a deadline is soon or a long way off, many people meet it at the last possible moment.

This is a good motivator, but bad in terms of quality you produce and stress you feel.

To get tough stuff done, the key is to make it easier.

You can do this by breaking it down into smaller actions or into chunks of time -- work for a set length of time and then stop.

I talk fully about this here.

Time management for high school students sum up:

  • Manage work: Get it out of your head
  • Focus: Set your yourself up to succeed
  • Do it: Break it down

Struggling for Motivation?

This can help...

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