As parents, we often struggle with our own time management. Can you imagine how difficult it must be for kids? At their young age they need to deal with school, homework, projects, sport and other activities. I am convinced that kids nowadays have twice as much on their plates than we ever had when we were at school. The best way that we can help them with this is to offer them the best systems possible with regard to time management and being organised.
Here are some tips that you can pass on to your kids – teach them to take responsibility, work smartly and to be organised now and they will take these skills with them into adulthood.
BEFORE YOU CAN MANAGE YOUR TIME, YOU NEED TO KNOW HOW MUCH TIME YOU HAVE AVAILABLE
- Use a time sheet that shows a week at a glance. This should be divided up into days of the week and hours in the day – starting from the time you wake up in the morning, until the time you go to bed at night, and should be in half hour increments.
- Block off times and shade the blocks
These could consist of the following (each in a different colour)
i) School hours
ii) Various sports and extra murals
iii) Supper , shower and bed time
- You will be left with white spaces, which is your time to fit in homework, projects and any other activities that you do, including time to do your own thing.
- You would need to draw up a different time sheet for summer and winter as sports change. You would also need a different one during exam times as school hours and sports times often change during exams.
TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR ALL ASPECTS OF YOUR SCHOOL LIFE
When you are younger, your parents email, write notes and call your teachers and friends parents for you, but as you get older, it is more likely to become your responsibility to do any of the following:
- Excuse yourself from sport
- Call a friend to find out about homework
- Send your teacher a message
- Anything else school related
I would suggest keeping friends and teachers contact information in your diary as it is easier and saves time to have all in one place, instead of having to search around every time you need it.
BE PREPARED FOR THE NEXT DAY
If you are well prepared the evening before, you will feel far calmer for the day and it will save you getting into unnecessary trouble. Do a quick check again in the morning before you leave home.
- Check your timetable in your homework book
- Make sure all your books are packed in your bag for the next day
- Check that you have done all your homework
- Pack in your sports and PE clothes
EXAM AND TEST PREPARATION
Being prepared for your exams will mean that you will go into the exam feeling confident and relaxed. You have a far better chance of achieving your best possible results that way.
Being unprepared will have the opposite effect on you – you will be worried and stressed and it will reflect in your marks in a negative way, leaving you feeling disappointed with yourself.
- Have a page for each subject in your homework book
- Write each section of work under that subject as a sub heading
- List each item that you need to learn under that sub heading
- Have a column down the right hand side where you can estimate how much time is needed to study each section. This will help you with planning your study time when it comes to exams.
- You can also have another column where you can tick once you have studied that section – use pencil so that you can erase it and do it again with the next set of exams.
PROJECTS AND ASSIGNMENTS
Because projects and assignments are given a couple of weeks in advance, they can sometimes get forgotten or left to the last minute and then rushed through.
Sometimes when there is a big job to do, we leave it because it feels overwhelming.
Remember the question “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer is “One bite at a time!”
Instead of looking at one big task, rather break it down into “bite size” chunks that are more manageable and less overwhelming.
- Write down each step you need to do to complete the project (e.g. * buy cardboard *do a mind map to establish headings and some points *research info on the internet & save to Word document *summarise into your own words * find pictures to go with the info *save pictures to memory stick and have them printed *put the project together)
- Estimate how long each step will take
- Write the due date in your homework diary
- Look at your time sheet to see which days are best to work on various parts of your project (it is always a good idea to put some time in over weekends, especially for things like projects)
- Work backwards in your diary, slotting in the tasks that you have identified from the bottom up. Always aim to finish at least 48 hours before the due date, to give you time for anything that may come up at the last minute
SETTING GOALS FOR YOURSELF
A great way to start your year is to think about what you hope to achieve and where you want to be when this 12 month journey ends. If you don’t set goals, you won’t know where you are going or which way to go to ensure you get there.
- Know what you want to achieve
- Pick several goals for the coming year
- Write them down
- Work out your steps to achieve them
- Refer back to your goals on a regular basis
- Reward yourself when you achieve them
USING A HOMEWORK DIARY OR PLANNER
It is essential to be organised at school. Most working people, even top managers use some form of diary. Learning a good system now will help you later in life.
You get many different types of diaries, some are more effective than others.
The School Sorted™ Planner is a diary that includes sheets and pages where you can do all of the things listed above. When your diary is open, you can see the full week. There is a key down the left hand side, which can be broken down into different subjects and sports or activities. Each line then represents a subject or sport. It also comes with colour sticky tabs that represent things like projects, tests, exams, orals, etc – so you can always see at a glance if something is due. It is a format that will help you stay completely on top of all that you need to do.
To order your own copy of The School Sorted™ Planner, click here