6 Ways to Instill Student Time Management Skills


It takes years for some people to master the art of time management. And while some never do, teaching these skills at a young age is the best time to start.

With student stress at an all-time high, now more than ever, children need tools that help reduce anxiety and promote clear thinking and problem-solving. Time management is one such tool.

When students are in control of their time and schedule, it leads to increased confidence, efficiency, and overall success. In this article, we’ll share six time management tips to help students achieve their goals and get more done in less time.

1. Prioritize Tasks and Make a Checklist 

One of the biggest reasons students struggle with time management is procrastination. By letting their school work and responsibilities pile up, the enormity of work becomes overwhelming and, in some cases, crippling.

The best way to avoid this is to prioritize your tasks in order of importance and set realistic goals for getting things done. Start by writing down everything you need to do, in no particular order.

Then, start prioritizing these tasks in order of importance. Arrange them by due date or group together several tasks that are related.

See if performing one task first will make getting the next few easier to complete. In some cases, one task might eliminate another. But you won’t know that until you sit down and organize your responsibilities.

This final list can act as a checklist. Complete one project at a time, going in order. Avoid trying to do too much at once or you may lose focus. 

2. Set Realistic Goals 

One of the most useful time management tips involves setting realistic goals for getting things done. Trying to complete your entire checklist in one afternoon is not only unrealistic but most likely impossible. Trying to do so will only leave you feeling defeated and disorganized.

Set goals around what tasks you want to get done, when, and how you plan to do them. For example, if you have a big chemistry exam on Friday, set a goal of studying every afternoon for one hour. Decide on a place to study and what techniques you’ll use.

If you’re facing a particularly difficult subject, consider hiring a tutor to reduce your stress and help you grasp the subject. You can also set smaller goals like writing the introductory paragraph of your term paper before bed.

These goals can be personal, as well. Things like getting enough sleep, eating breakfast every morning, and limiting screen time can all help you succeed academically. 

3. Establish a Routine

Humans thrive on routine. Setting a schedule for yourself is a useful time management tip that will benefit you now and well into the future. 

No matter how detailed your checklist is, if you don’t create a schedule for accomplishing your goals, you’ll likely end up feeling overwhelmed and disorganized. While some people keep detailed notes on their phones or laptops, others prefer a traditional pen and paper calendar or planner.

Whichever works best for you, use these time management tools to establish a structured routine for tackling your workload. Start by choosing specific times of day to complete each task.

For example, maybe one hour before bed is when you study or read. Maybe the morning during breakfast is when you review your math or science notes.

By dedicating specific times of day to individual tasks, it takes the guesswork out of when you’ll get these things done and will soon become second nature. 

4. Reward Yourself

Hard work should be rewarded. While implementing these time management skills and accomplishing your goals is a reward in and of itself, most students will need a little more incentive than that.

Rewards help provide motivation for powering through difficult tasks or assignments. It’s much easier to focus on a hard lesson when you know there’s a reward waiting for you at the end. 

These rewards can be big or small and involve timed breaks, material items, or pleasurable activities. Some creative ideas include:

  • Take a 15-minute walk outside
  • Indulge in a sweet treat
  • Order family dinner out
  • Listen to your favorite music
  • Allow yourself 10 minutes on your phone or another digital device 
  • Get together with friends

You can also place $1 in an incentive jar every time you complete a task on your checklist and buy something once you’ve earned enough. Creating rewards for your progress and hard work is a powerful time management tool. 

5. Utilize Your Time Wisely

While establishing a schedule is important, what you do during those blocks of time will determine how productive you are. 

Start your day by waking up early and having a healthy breakfast. This will fuel both your mind and body for the day ahead.

Being productive, though, starts the night before. The average student needs between 9 and 12 hours of sleep per night. Waking up early in the morning after a good night’s sleep will allow more time in your day for getting things done.

During your predetermined blocks of time for school work and test prep, eliminate distractions as much as possible. This might require you to work in a quiet space like a library or study hall. You can also create a study group with other focused students that share your same drive.

Put your cell phone away and turn off the TV and other electronics. Some people work best with music playing quietly in the background or other white noise. Figure out what works best for you so that you get the most out of your schedule. 

6. Take Breaks

Although it’s important to work hard and stay on task, it’s equally as important to take breaks. Without scheduled breaks, you’ll burn out and have a harder time retaining information.

Set a timer for 30 to 60 minutes. When it goes off, stand up and stretch, take a short walk, or indulge in one of the rewards mentioned above. Try not to step away from your schoolwork for longer than 15 minutes. Doing so will make it difficult to refocus and get back to business.

Implementing Time Management Tips for Continued Success

These six time management tips are only scraping the surface of what’s possible. There are countless ways to make the most of your study time and accomplish your academic goals.

Setting a schedule, taking breaks, and rewarding your successes are just a few tips to get you started. At Educational Connections, we’re dedicated to helping every student realize their full potential.

We offer everything from tutoring and test prep to college counseling and executive function coaching. Browse the rest of our site to learn more about our packages and programs or click here to get started today!