- Plan Your Time Ahead of Time
- Make a to-do list every day. Put the most important things at the top and do them first. Keep track of the chores, tasks and homework assignments that need to get done that day. It allows satisfaction when you can cross off completed things.
- Make a plan for the week. On Sunday evening (or early Monday morning) look at
what needs to get done that week and set a time to do it. School schedules and class
calendars are a great help to organize a large part of your day, leaving a few hours in the
afternoon and evening to plan for.
- Make a plan for the month. Anticipate the time demands for activities coming up in the month ahead. Keep track of the due date of long term assignments and major tests/ exams. Budget your time to prepare well in advance of the due date.
- Keep a master calendar – Keep a large, wall sized calendar for the household, listing the family commitments, schedules of extracurricular activities, days off from school, and major events at home and school. This will help family members keep track of each other’s activities and avoid scheduling conflicts.
- Be flexible in your planning. Stuff happens, plans change. Have a Plan B.
- Write things down. – Sounds simple, but it can make a huge difference. When you write things down you remind yourself what it is that needs doing, and keeps you from feeling frazzled because you forgot when an assignment was due or you missed an appointment. Carry a small notebook to keep your to-do list, a small calendar, important due dates or special occasions, and important phone numbers or email addresses. E-tablets or smart phones are ideal for these techniques.
- Sometimes you just have to say No! – There is always a distraction or something else to do.There is many different people who will make demands on your time, asking you to do this or that. There is always an alternative activity (texting, checking emails, watching TV, surfing the internet) that can draw you away from what you need to be focusing on. Don’t let yourself get distracted. Don’t over commit to doing more things than you could possibly fit into your schedule. Sometimes you have to say no to others, sometimes you have to say no to yourself.
- Use a timer or a watch. Learn to time how long you will need to complete a specific task or homework assignment (e.g., my algebra homework usually takes 25 minutes). This will allow you to be more effective in scheduling your time. You can also use it to time how long you will study in one sitting (e.g., 45 minutes) before taking a break (e.g., 10 minutes). Breaking up study time into manageable intervals allows you the opportunity to get your blood moving (e.g., stretching), take a deep breath, or get something to drink. A quick refreshing break improves the effectiveness of your study strategies.
- Develop other executive functions. Effective time management involves the effective use of other executive functions in the brain, including the ability to concentrate and avoid distractions and the ability to prioritize and organize the tasks at hand. These executive functions develop naturally in most people or they can be helped along through various interventions.