How to Teach Time Management to Students


Jan 9, 2023

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Time management is a critical skill for students to improve their learning outcomes. When grasped early on, it could potentially serve as a vital component to their lifelong success. 

Studies show that increasing difficulty in academic curriculums inhibits learning productivity and causes many students to feel stressed under deadlines. Therefore, teachers should address time management in the classroom and offer guidance on adopting these eight time management strategies to students of all ages.

1. Use a Calendar

Using a calendar is the most practical method of planning a busy day. At the beginning of the school year or term, have students keep a digital or physical planner to log each of their classes’ assignments, exams, and project due dates. 

Although plenty of calendar formats are available, a daily planner will provide adequate space for students to write in than a monthly or yearly planner. 

Calendars should also include commitments, such as extracurricular activities, homework, study time, and additional non-school-related obligations.

Color-coding their calendar entries by assignment or course is another way to stay on track more easily.

2. Make To-Do Lists

It’s not unusual to forget about assignments while maintaining a long list in your head. Thoughts tend to be fleeting, so creating a daily to-do list is an essential time management tool for students to adopt.  

Students who make to-do lists tend to accomplish more than those who don’t. Many people also find it satisfying to check each item off the list upon completion.

3. Prioritize Tasks

In addition to list-making, teachers should encourage students to prioritize their assignments from most important to least. All work must be completed eventually, but deciding what to do first or put off until later boosts productivity. 

Task prioritization fosters other time management skills, as well. For example, one study recognized that those who prioritize tasks have an easier time assessing complex situations, finishing things they start, and decreasing interruptions.

4. Complete One Task at a Time

Multitasking produces the opposite effect of what many people would hope, with research backing up its hindrance to work productivity. That’s because our brains must constantly switch gears, reducing concentration and raising the risk of making mistakes. 

Students will produce higher quality work and get more done when they focus on one task at a time. 

Attention to single assignments also helps strengthen students’ distraction-resistant abilities, gain proficiency in hard skills or topics, and maximize performance outcomes — this is known as deep work. 

5. Learn Flexibility

Conversely, there may be times when flexibility might be necessary. Learning to become flexible isn’t necessarily the same as multitasking but remains a crucial component of time management.

For example, high-priority tasks might arise, requiring students to set aside less dire assignments. Other projects may take longer than expected, and students might decide to revisit them later.

In the end, switching gears may be a much more productive use of time.   

6. Address Procrastination

Research shows that occasional procrastination is a common trait among students. However, 75% of students admit that they’re chronic procrastinators. Unfortunately, procrastination can cause anxiety over meeting assignment deadlines or exam readiness.

Teachers can assist students in better understanding their tendencies to procrastinate by reminding them to look for the signs. Yet, students should also know that procrastination affects people at any age.

7. Take Breaks

Deep work is exhausting and a long list of due dates might overwhelm students and prevent them from completing assignments on time. 

Reminding students to step away from their schoolwork, whether for a few minutes or a couple of hours, can be beneficial. Sometimes it’s worse to try and force their focus on assignments that demand their full attention. 

8. Set Goals

Of all the ways to teach time management to students, practicing goal setting is by far the most crucial tool. Whether learning at school or working in a career, students will discover that deadlines follow them throughout their lives.

Teaching students how to set goals with writing assignments or extensive projects may be beneficial. Encouraging them to stay ahead of their deadlines and complete the work beforehand is an excellent approach. 

Students will also find that finishing early means they have additional time to revise and tweak their assignments for a higher grade.

Managing Time Effectively Gets the Job Done

It requires patience and particular aptitudes to know how to teach time management to students. However, it’s a teachable concept at any age. Students that gain adeptness in time management tools carry those skills throughout their lives to get jobs done.

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