High school students are expected to accomplish a lot in their years leading up to college. With so much on their plates, it can be difficult to balance a heavy course load, test preparation, extracurriculars, college applications, and academic clubs, while still striving to maintain a social life and a healthy lifestyle.
Here are some tips for high school students to make sure they make the most of their time and manage their time well.
- Make A Schedule And Stick To It
The first step to better time management is setting a schedule and sticking to it. Start by making some lists. What do you need to get done every day? What do you need to get done every week? What do you need to get done every month? Once you pin down everything you need to do, make a schedule to ensure each task gets done when it needs to get done. It is a good idea to focus on creating a schedule that includes breaks. High school students can take steps to avoid burnout by making a daily schedule that allows for ample sleep and plenty of time for breaks throughout the day.
If you are focusing on all the things you need to check off your list at once, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Focus on organizing your time each day, week, and month to break up the high volume of responsibilities.
- Set Goals For Yourself
Setting goals is another great way to manage your time, avoid procrastination, and maintain motivation to finish every task you start. Set short-term goals and long-term goals to outline accomplishments. When you set goals you have accomplishments to look forward to and celebrate.
Short-term goals for high school students may look like this:
- Finish your homework and turn it in on time every day
- Join a study group
- Get an after-school job
- Join an academic club
Long-term goals may look like this:
- Research and decide what you want to study in college
- Study hard and score well on the ACT and SAT exams
- Get into your dream school
- Improve your grades and raise your GPA
- Build strong study habits for college
- Prioritize your sleep and consistently stick to your schedule
Setting short-term and long-term goals will keep you motivated and gives you something to look forward to. To avoid wasting time, give yourself some goals that hold you accountable. When you achieve any goals you have set for yourself, acknowledge the work, commitment, and time it took for you to succeed. These “wins” throughout your time as a student are important to celebrate.
- Use An Agenda Or Planner
If you want to improve your time management, writing everything down is a great idea. Staying organized requires work and commitment; writing down your plans for the future is a great way to stay organized and on task. Get an agenda or planner that you can take everywhere to keep track of your daily and weekly goals. Setting a schedule is crucial to ensure that you stay on track, so give yourself visual reminders and lists rather than relying on your memory by keeping it all in your head. Relying on memory can result in missed deadlines or forgotten assignments.
Keeping all of your goals, habits, and scheduled deadlines in one place will help you stay organized and is a great way to keep track of what is ahead week by week. Look at your agenda every morning. You can set realistic expectations for yourself by checking your agenda daily, crossing things off your list, and adding ideas, tasks, events, and deadlines to the book or calendar that is always with you.
- Pinpoint and Minimize Bad Habits
Bad habits, like scrolling through social media, take time away from reaching your goals. To manage your time better you may need to set boundaries that you can stick to and hold yourself accountable. Pay attention to the things that distract you from your short and long-term goals. Distractions play a huge role in your ability to accomplish all that you need to accomplish. Distractions also take away from important things, like sleep which is crucial to your mental well-being.
If you want to manage your time wisely as a high school student, it is important to realize your priorities. If you have goals to improve your grades, your studies will take time. If you want to get into your dream school, your application essays and test scores will take time to perfect. It is important that you have the self-awareness to pinpoint the habits that take time away from your academic priorities.
- Plan In Advance
Planning ahead is a great way to use your time wisely as a high school student. It is a good idea to start big projects early to avoid cramming all your work in before the deadline. Procrastination is a huge vice that so many students fall into. If you have a lot of work on your calendar, do your best to start assignments early and plan to work over a couple of weeks on the big projects on your to-do list. Spreading your work out in this way ensures that you have time to go back and fix mistakes, submit quality work, and seek support from teachers, tutors, or peers if you need it.
- Take The Pressure Off
It is important to be aware of the effects too much stress has on your ability to stay on task and perform. Some students find that overwhelming expectations or too much on their plate harms their performance and focus. You can manage your time wisely to avoid this kind of stress by working ahead and avoiding procrastination. Do not allow the pressure of your grades, applications, and life decisions to stop you from doing what you need to do. If you feel like the pressure to perform is inhibiting you from completing assignments, you may find that talking to your peers and friends about your concerns provides a helpful perspective.
Leaning on your friends and peers who are feeling the same pressures and expectations is a good way to alleviate stress. High school students do not need to feel alone in the high-pressure environment of college applications, ACT or SAT exams, and GPAs. To take the unhealthy pressure off, talk to other high school students about how they cope with stress, how they prioritize their time to succeed, and how they manage their busy schedules. To manage your time, unhealthy stressors (including extreme pressure) should be minimized. If you are looking for tools to alleviate performance pressure, talk to other students going through the same thing. Different perspectives and camaraderie can make a big difference in your motivations.
- Do Not Over Commit Yourself
It is a good idea to set boundaries for yourself to avoid having too much on your plate. An overbooked schedule limits your ability to give what you need to give to each project. If you only have five minutes to complete an important task because you have ten other things to get done in one day, then each of those tasks will suffer from your lack of time. If your performance is suffering because you do not have time to do the things you have committed to, it may be time to reevaluate your commitments or reorganize your schedule.
If you are not able to devote the appropriate time to your short term goals and long term goals, your ability to reach those goals is weakened. Be realistic with the time you have available to you.
- Make Time For You
Taking breaks and rewarding yourself when you achieve the goals you have set for yourself is really important. If you are struggling to produce quality work, check in with yourself and remember that breaks are important to keep up with the stress and pressure of high school.
Habits like reading books outside of your assigned curriculum, playing sports, joining clubs, and spending time with friends are important to your mental health. If you want to be consistent in your academic life, diligently take time for breaks. Fostering your passions and relationships is important.
- Be Consistent When Working Toward Your Future
Consistency is key to ensuring that you keep working towards the goals you have in place. Some students are able to better manage their time by working in a calm workspace with no distractions. If your workspace changes day by day, or if you struggle to stay focused while working from home, then it is time to change your routine.
Some students work best in a quiet space. Others like working in libraries or cafes where other students are quietly working too. Find a consistent workspace to come back to in your daily routine. This location should be a reliable and functional space where you know you can stay efficient and on schedule with your work.
High school students who are looking to improve their time management can start with these steps and strategies. Make a schedule and stick to it, set goals for yourself, use an agenda or planner, pinpoint and minimize bad habits, plan ahead, take the pressure off your performance, do not overcommit, make time for yourself, and be consistent when working toward your future.
It is important that you dedicate your time to submitting work that you are proud of. Going through the motions of turning in assignments while stressed, exhausted, and unmotivated is a far less productive use of your time, than submitting quality, thoughtful work that you have planned and executed to your fullest potential.
If you are looking for more tools to manage your time wisely as a high school student, FLEX College Prep has expert instructors and proven resources to boost your academic success. FLEX offers tutoring services, test prep courses, and college application consulting to guide high school students to their full potential. If you are looking to manage time wisely as a high school student, FLEX College Prep’s services and expert instructors can offer strategies and guidance to help you stay on track and reach your goals.
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