Time management for teens is challenging for all concerned.
They have more demands on their time and attention now than ever before. Phones, friends, studies, websites and worries… they all need to be managed.
Better time management has a number of benefits for them and you...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A friend of mine is fond of saying that...
‘All communication is simply marketing’.
If he’s right, it's not a bad idea to 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 learn how to get organized at home or school?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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You may read these tips, but your teenager may not seem to want to know because, well… it’s you, isn’t it?
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.