Time Management Tips for High School Students

written by: Eagle Hill School
High school can be overwhelming. There are new and challenging classes, more extracurricular commitments, lots of social obligations, and of course loads of homework. For new high school students, and even those well on their way to graduation, keeping track of everything can be tough.

While a packed schedule can wear on anyone, there are some simple, easily implemented time management “hacks” that your child can utilize this school year to help manage their workload.

The first step in all of this is to let your child know that they may be doing the work on their own, but they’re not alone…you are there to help guide and support them, along with their teachers and peers.

Chart It Out

This doesn’t necessarily have to be a literal chart, but it’s essential to make some sort of list or visual representation (if your child is a visual learner), to understand the amount and type of commitments and work they have.

Doing this will allow them to begin to get a real understanding of just how much of their time is going to be taken up. They’ll realize on their own that they may not be able to commit to everything they had planned, and this will be a valuable learning opportunity for them when planning future activities.

To-Do Lists

To-do lists are a student’s best friend. Not only will they help in school, but it will be a valuable skill to possess in a professional setting and throughout one’s career. Mastering the art of the to-do list early can only benefit your child in the long run. Here are some things to consider when creating a to-do list:
  • Organize by week and/or due date, not necessarily by day. Trying to organize everything into one day gives the mistaken impression that everything has to fit within a neat 24 hours. While deadlines are a reality, it doesn’t help to view things only on a short-term day-to-day basis. Instead, your child should start thinking about the week’s priorities and what needs to be accomplished when.
  • Tackle the toughest things first. We often put off what we dread the most; however, a huge sense of relief and accomplishment usually accompanies finishing a task we thought was going to be difficult or time consuming. Clearing out these thornier items before getting to the lower hanging fruit can help lighten the overall load.
Create a Schedule

Most people need and thrive off of routine. Creating a set schedule that will allow ample time to conquer everything on your to-do list will not only bring sanity to the week, but will help identify just how much effort is actually going to be required.
  • Set a time each day for homework, taking into consideration other commitments such as sports, clubs, etc.
  • Find a way to stick to it. This might require some coaching from parents and teachers. It’s tough for anyone to stick to a schedule, especially when something can be put off, but keeping a schedule will ensure that what needs to get done is done.
Saying “No”

There are some things your child simply won’t be able to say “no” to in high school, such as homework and going to class. It’s important that they understand they DO have power elsewhere in their lives. Overcommitting to activities, events, social gatherings, etc. can make it feel like it’s difficult to breathe. Your child should understand that it’s great to be involved in a number of different things, but they should feel comfortable ramping up gradually to their goals—they don’t have to take everything on all at once.

The bottom line is that every student is different in their ability and willingness to organize independently. Some may need more support than others. Regardless of your child’s current time management capabilities, implementing some of the strategies discussed in this article should help provide a start. Remember: nothing beats a good night’s sleep and proper nutrition. It’s a tired saying, but ensuring these foundations are in place will greatly benefit your child’s time management in high school.

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Learning Diversity is a blog hosted by Eagle Hill School where educators, students, and other members of the LD community regularly contribute posts and critical essays about learning and living in spaces that privilege the inevitability of human diversity.

The contributors of Learning Diversity come together to engage our readers from a variety of disciplines, including the humanities, social sciences, biological sciences and mathematics, athletics, and residential life. Embracing learning diversity means understanding and respecting our students as whole persons.

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Eagle Hill School is the premier college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 8-12 with diverse learning profiles, such as ADHD and Dyslexia.