Teaching your Teen Time Management

teaching your teen time management

 

 

Your kids have known how to tell time since elementary school.  But even with this background, as teens, they are late, don’t get chores completed, and may turn in assignments late to school.  Time management is more than just knowing how to read a clock.  It’s a struggle for teens to know what to do and how to get things done with time management.

 

According to Psychology Today, time management is just one of the four most critical areas for teens today.  With the level of brain development, teens are not fully equipped for time management.  Because brain development continues into the twenties, teens benefit from our coaching them with time management through high school and college.  Teens are unsure of what to do first, how long it will take to complete, and how to get started.  Teen time management includes coaching in prioritizing, initiation and procrastination, and duration of a task or project.

 

Prioritizing

What’s important and should be done first? That’s a question not only teens struggle with.  Parents don’t always agree on this between themselves.  How do we know what’s most important? It can be a matter of focus for all of us.  However,  you can help your child make these decisions by helping them process what needs to be done.

  • Encourage your teen to write down their priorities. For most kids that includes school grades, friends, church, and activities. If there are too many priorities, too many sports, or too many extracurricular activities, you can coach them to understand just how much time it takes for each activity.
  • Grid out with your kids the time available and where their priorities fit on the grid. Time blocking works well because kids can see what they have to do and when they will be doing it. That includes time for self care like sleep too. Using a paper or digital planner makes time more visual.
  • Set aside time to plan. Weekly planning time with their planner each Sunday or Monday gives your teen time to acknowledge everything that is on their plate and also record due dates. With so much information coming in by text and social media, they need time to consolidate it all in one place.

 

Initiation and Procrastination

Getting started on a task can be the hardest part of any project. Also known as initiation, those with executive function challenges find planning engaging but getting started more difficult. Procrastination can be from fear, lack of skill, or lack of motivation.

  • Plan an initiation strategy. For many, the “warm-up” to the project is gathering the materials, reviewing the instructions, or checking online with others in the class. Creating your own “warm-up” strategy will help for all upcoming assignments.
  • Make it fun to get started.  Find an innovative way to start a project.  You can add in technology or a gadget, work with a partner, or create a new perspective on the project.
  • Schedule the time to start a project. At that time, use a timer, set for 15 minutes, to help you get started.
  • Brainstorm the costs of procrastination. What’s at stake? What will happen? What are the consequences of not getting started soon enough? Coach your student through this process to verbalize the costs.
  • Set up a compelling, organized environment.  A clear workspace, quiet or white noise, and easy to access school supplies make it easier to get started.

Duration

We don’t know how long it takes to get a specific task done. But we do know that we can guess and set a time on our calendar to get a task done.

  • Help your teen create routines that take just 5 minutes. Making their bed, placing laundry in the basket, and putting trash away are 3 small tasks that take less than 5 minutes altogether. Your teen might think these take much longer. Write out routines with only 3 steps so that your teen isn’t overwhelmed.
  • Create more time awareness with more analog clocks.  Clocks should be in all your spaces to be sure you are gauging your time.
  • Your teen can set a timer when they start a task. Clocking the time will help them know how long a task takes.
  • Break big projects or tasks into baby steps.  Map out small sections of a project, and assign a time and date to accomplish them.  Nothing seems as overwhelming when it’s broken into smaller chunks.

 

Transition time

Building in transition time helps your teen be on time. That is the time that is between activities and moving from place to place. Your teen may not allow enough time to get ready, get to school, or clock in for a job. Coach your teen on how much time it takes to drive from home to school, then set use a timer to realistically learn the amount of time it takes. Having sufficient transit time helps your tee feel more confident and less stressed.

 

Tools for time management

Planners

 

Focusing apps

 

On your smartphone

  • Clock with timer for getting started and timing how long a task takes
  • Pandora playlist for organizing or homework time
  • Notes for making lists
  • Reminders and more tech

 

It takes practice, practice, and practice to learn the skills of time management. Don’t get impatient with your teen about how long it takes.  Every experience is a learning opportunity here.

 

 

 

6 Habits that Productive People with ADHD Use to Get Stuff Done

October is National ADHD Awareness Month.

To “celebrate” this month, I am sharing 4 very important habits for living your best life with ADHD

in 4 blog posts throughout the month.

We think that in order to be more productive we need a new app, digital tool or planner.  The role of habits is often overlooked as a way to get more stuff done. Habits are powerful productivity tools because these bridge the gap to getting started, creating a work flow or finishing up your tasks and projects. Check out these habit productive people use to get stuff done.

 

Write dates and tasks in a planner

Productive people use their planners with skill.  They write all the tasks and dates in their planners to be sure they are accountable for their work. By making it a habit to write stuff down, they are able to work on deep work without having to remember all the details.

 

Work as a team

Team work makes the dream work. Together everyone achieves more. Working as a team, productive people do what they do best and delegate the rest. They are accountable to each other in accomplishing assignments because everyone relies on each other.

 

Get organized just good enough

Productive people organize papers, digital files, and emails just good enough to get your work accomplished.  Being overly organized with complicated systems or not organized enough with distractions can stall you out and prevent getting started. Productive people start a work session with a warm up of getting materials together to get stuff done.

 

Break tasks and projects into manageable chunks

It is overwhelming to see so many tasks and projects ahead, especially if there is a lot do for one project. Productive people break tasks and projects into manageable chunks. They act on one task or step at a time to keep moving forward with work.

 

Set up time blocks for email and administrative tasks

Email becomes a distraction as much as social media.  Administrative tasks are boring and can be neglected.  Productive people set a time block for these tasks throughout the day and week.  They check email just often enough and work from the Two Minute Rule (If the task takes less than two minutes, do it.) Setting up time blocks keeps you from getting distracted and allocates time for what might be missed.

 

Prioritize every list

Lists grow and grow. Productive people know that every list requires prioritizing. That is they choose the three Most Important Tasks each week. They limit the number to three tasks that align with their Quarterly Objectives. Some projects on the list  also move to the “Parking Lot,” waiting for a better time to begin or determine importance. Productive people know that not everything can be done at the same time.

 

Use one of these tips productive people use this week. See how much more productive you can be!

 

ADHD Friendly Time Awareness Tools

 

adhd friendly time awareness tools

Time awareness is an intuitive sense of how time is passing. For some of us, that’s a built in sense of time passing. For some of us, time varies when we do something we love and something we hate.  Review these analog and digital tools that can help you build your time awareness and help you track your time.

 

TimeTimer

This innovative tool displays time as a red disc that gets smaller as time elapses. It is available as an app and a product.

 

On-Core Time Master

On-Core Time Master simplifies the process by having an app handy on your iPhone or iPod Touch, ready at all times, for you to track your time. You can quickly start tracking time with a few taps on the screen.

 

Pomodoro Tomato Timer

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management technique created by Francesco Cirillo for a more productive way to work and study. The technique is alternating work and break times for a series of three work sessions.

RescueTime

Rescue Time is a  desktop app, browser extension, and mobile app that tracks where you spend your time. From the reports you can see exactly where your time goes and block distractions that keep you from being productive.

Alexa and Siri

Use “Routines” (under main menu) to set Alexa to play on whatever hours you schedule. Use audible clock for a variety of sounds.

Apple watch

A variety of settings on your watch help you.  You can set an auditory reminder every 15, 30 or 60 minutes. There are different watch faces, displays, reminders, timer and alarms.

Timer on your phone

Set a timer to help you get started and finish a task.

Month at a glance planner

Use this planner to process and plan dates and deadlines.

 

Analog clock

An analog clock helps you visually assess time moving.

 

What tools can you recommend for time awareness?

The Value of Transition Time

 

Transitions are a part of every day life. There’s big transitions, like going on vacation.  As well there are little transitions all day with text alerts, or changing the laundry while making dinner or working on a project and answering a phone call. Whether it is coming and going to work or school or starting or ending a vacation, these times can be especially challenging with ADHD. It’s not easy to switch between tasks.  Set-switching, the official name for transitions, is an aspect of self regulation, intertwined with time awareness, hyper focus, indecision and procrastination.  The value of transition time, the time between tasks, meetings and family, gives you time to reset and get ready for what’s coming next. For people with ADHD, this is especially valuable.

 

Build in and write in transition time

Take your awareness of the need for transition time to the next level by building this time into your schedule. You can do this by adding slots of time into your planner. Think through the time needed to transition as it is not all the same. To transition after a meeting, add 10 minutes between meetings and your next task. Add 30 minutes if you want to finalize notes and organize your action plan. For zoom meetings plan on logging on 10 minutes early. Write in the travel time between in person appointments and add a cushion. That means that you will likely be on time or possibly early. Adding in this time lowers your stress too.

 

Create transition rituals

We can use physical rituals that happen during transitions. No matter if the meeting is in person or zoom, we need time to reset after a meeting. Make it a habit to walk around the office of your work from home office to reset your thoughts and give yourself a physical break.

Movement and breathing can be physical ways to transition. Stretching and deep breathing give us a lift as we move to the next activity.

You can pair a ritual with a transition.  If you always have tea with your task, you can pair up to ease the transition.

 

Use technology to create a buffer

Technology can helping us prepare and transition to the next activity.  We can use the “Countdown Method” with multiple reminders set to alert to transition. Setting multiple reminders on your smart devices and home digital assistants reminds you a transition is about to happen.

 

Add structure

Giving yourself permission to stay on a task for a duration of time is a strategy too.  If you have assigned a single task to a day, such as Financial Friday, then you have permission to keep on that task all day.

Time blocking adds structure to your transition as well. This happens when you set aside to do specific work at a specific time. By deciding ahead of time the assignment, you can transition in another time block without making an additional decision. You are freed up to do the work rather than decide what is the next transition.

 

 

Work from home tips

While we are currently working from home, you need stronger transitions to help you work productively and create a boundary between home and work. Here are a few suggestions to create a transition time during your work from home time.

  • Walk the dog
  • Drink a glass of water
  • Add analog clocks to important transition locations
  • Create work boundaries with alarms to end the day

 

Incorporating transition time is a work in progress. Keep it in mind as you start these new strategies.

COVID-19 Get Organized for the New Normal

get organized for the new normal

 

Thinking of all that we have been navigating together, I want to congratulate you! You have been resourceful and creative, finding new ways to accomplish tasks.  In thinking of others and acting with kindness, you have supported small businesses, donated to help others and sewn masks for our community and medical professionals.  You have been with family in small spaces, working from home and working on corona school. It has been a learning curve with new technology and adjusting to old school phone calls as needed to resolve challenges.  For all of this time, you have had ups and downs too. High Five and Way to Go! You are a champion!

We are again entering a new phase with transitions.  I learned that there are five phases and soon we will enter phase 3. Who would have thought that masks, hand sanitizer and temperature checks would be a daily part of our lives? And here we are!  After our quarantine, we are venturing forth into the New Normal. It’s time for us to get organized! Getting organized means reorienting ourselves to tasks, time management, and self care.

 

Get familiar with the New Normal

From the grocery store to the work place, we have a new set of ways to communicate and go about business. It’s important for us to feel comfortable with the changes and incorporate these into our lives. Masks may be required or not, so keep your mask easy to access and clean. Your work place or other places may require temperature checks. Check your own temperature at home if in doubt or if you feel a bit off. Social distancing of 6 feet continues as we work and shop which means more time to do anything. We continue to clean and disinfect all areas including offices, bathrooms, common areas, and shared electronic equipment routinely. Knowing what to expect will require some reading and research.  Feeling familiar with the new “rules” will take a little time. Acting on each of these new ways to engage will also take more time.

 

Give yourself time

We have certainly been existing in a time warp.  What seemed to be seamless before is often a bit clunky.  This is the case with ordering through websites with delays in delivery due to USPS or Amazon. You may be applying online for unemployment or loans which take more time that you imagined. Checking to see if your applications are complete and accepted are cumbersome. There is curb side pick up for purchases which takes extra time to connect by text and then receive your goods. You use Open Table or call your restaurant to make reservations for dining in.

The New Normal will take more time in many ways.  It will take more time to get tasks accomplished. There will be glitches where we feel frustrated and anxious.  Give yourself the opportunity to be your best self by taking this extra time into account.  Going in and out of your work place will take extra time. There may be a single entrance, possibly temperatures taken, and social distancing in place.  Give yourself extra time to get to work on time. Many people have been enjoying working from how and will need to re-adjust to travel to and from work. Be sure you have extra time rather than rush to get on the road. By adjusting our expectations, we will be better prepared when oops happen. Giving yourself time for tranquility helps as well!

 

Continue with easy, simple organization

Now that you are a pro with technology, keep going on what is making your life easier.  For grocery ordering online, be sure to continue your regular routine for shopping.  Banking with your device app has simplified your deposits and financial work. Using the Notes app is our best way to capture thoughts and ideas.  Keeping contacts in your smart phone keep us connected, as well as our Zoom Happy Hours with long time friends.  We have learned a lot of useful, helpful technology to continue.

 

Ongoing Self care

The first thing we stop when things get busy is self care.  That’s not an option in the New Normal. Your self care should continue as a priority.  If you are exercising more outside and loving it, build that into your routine. As for time together for family dinner, block that time as sacred. Self care is what we learned must be continuous and ongoing, pandemic or not.

Crafting calendaring habits that will change your life

Calendar and planner

 

Truly crafting calendar habits can change your life.  Calendars and planners are our road map to fulfill our goals and intentions. With a plan and tools you use well, your life will be easier, more productive and more rewarding.

Most especially at the start of the year, however all year long, we search for creative solutions to calendaring. There are two parts to this search. The search for the “perfect” tool” and the search for how to put it to use.  This year more of my clients with ADHD are crafting calendaring habits that are changing their lives.

 

How to get started

Get started by finding the right tools.  Know if you are a paper, digital or hybrid planner person.  I am learning that my clients do best with all three styles and a hybrid variation of these styles. In this case, my clients have a large month at a glance view, a week at a glance view, on both paper on a wall and in a medium sized paper planner. My clients use their phone, laptop and other devices to lay this out too.

Typically I have conversations about having one planner and this is not the case here!  While it does add time and focus to maintain these planners, it is valuable because all the view of all the information helps with processing. It gives context to the data.  On a month at a glance you see your information in comparison to other activities. On a week at a glance you know what you must accomplish in the short time span. With a digital version, you create recurring events and routines. While investing in these tools, you are investing in the opportunity to process information and keep all your balls in the air.

 

Routines to get started

Front loading is the way to start. This term means to add all dates and plans right away, as soon as you receive the information. It also means to front load the level of work required on a project. Front loading takes advantage of your natural energy and interest in both your tools and your projects.  Having these dates, projects and information easily accessible creates a foundation.

 

Keeping on keeping on

There are two elements that keep you on track with your new habits. First, keep adding information and dates as soon as you know about them. This information is in text, email, papers, conversations and meetings. It can be easy to lose track of these. Take time each day to record this in your planner.  Second, review your planner each morning and each evening. It is not enough to record and reviewing daily keeps this information top of mind and fresh.  When I learn that your new calendaring habits are failing, the root is often these two parts.

 

A weekly calendar review time keeps you moving forward. Once a week, check in from a big picture and detail view of your planner. This weekly review is familiar to those following GTD.  It is time for mind sweep to capture all ideas to keep your brain working on work and not remembering.  Capture your mind sweep on paper or digitally, then slot in all the information in your planner. Schedule your weekly calendar review at the start of your week or the end of the week.  Planning is what keeps you up to date and on track.

 

The most important element in your life changing calendaring habits is to not give up. Developing new habits takes time. This is a work in progress each week for you to create a pattern with a combination of dates and projects, as well as work-life integration.  Remember if you skip or miss a week, just get right back to your calendar tomorrow or next week.  Your tenacity  will pay off!

 

Check out my ADHD Friendly tips here on YouTube.

Use Weekly Planning Time to Create a Calm, Organized and Productive Week

 

weekly planning time

 

Organizing your time takes many different steps to get the job done.  Having one great calendar and an effective way to manage your tasks and lists are the first step.  Carving out a Weekly  Planning Time pulls together these great tools.  Stephen Covey and David Allen both incorporate this routine into their strategies, as well as Asian Efficiency and The Productivity Show.  This time helps you create a proactive plan and gets you ahead of the curve.

 

Basics of Weekly Planning Time

  • Weekly planning time is when you pull together your lists, assess upcoming events and add a plan to your calendar.
  • Start by setting an undistracted time for you to “meet” with your planner.  This should be added to your calendar as an appointment!  A good time may be Friday before the end of work, Sunday afternoon as you are getting ready for the week, or any time that really works for you.
  • Gather together your tools of your planner, your lists, any emails or papers with upcoming events, projects you are leading or collaborating, and any other date driven activities. You want to consolidate all this information into your planner and an organized list.
  • First, add all new dates and update any existing dates, then add small reminders, consolidate errands, project out baby steps for a big project, and generally scan for bumps in the road coming up.
  • Next, scan ahead for new projects, events or recurring annual projects for that time period. This includes for work and home. Consider taxes, financial reviews and home maintenance. Make notes of who to meet with for these upcoming tasks and projects.
  • Finally, create a “think big” section of your planning time. What is a major goal you have thought about and would want to take action on?  This is where you have the opportunity to be creative and act on your dreams.  It’s also about being strategic about life goals.  Take this time to spend a few minutes on goals and dreams.
  • If you use a technology planner, no problem! Same strategy with this tool!
  • Make it fun! Grab your favorite beverage, sit in an inspiring spot and enjoy this planning time.

 

Upgrade your Weekly Planning Time

  • Use a planner that adds focus to your time.  I love my paper planner pad! A digital tool to do this work is To Do ist.
  • Set a day of the week for certain activities.  Money Monday and Financial Friday are the days you work on money matters.  By allowing yourself one set day a week for an important task, you give yourself permission to be dedicated to one specific task instead of many difference ones. This strategy works well for people who know that they can do one thing well.
  • Be consistent about your weekly planning time. The more consistent, the more you will notice what’s working and what is not. “Noticing” can lead to enhancements too, such as knowing what works best for you and what are your strengths.
  • Level up with this podcast featuring the weekly review of Getting Things Done (GTD) with David Allen.
  • Take this routine to the next level with a Family Meeting too.  Gather your family on Sunday evening, with all their calendars and your family calendar (paper, Cozi, or google calendar) and set this time for planning purposes.  Not only will you have family communication, collaboration and cohesiveness will be a big bonus.

 

What obstacles might you have incorporating into your week this planning time? Be sure to set this at at time that works well for you.  In order to be consistent, the time that you work on Weekly Planning Time makes the most difference. How do you do know this is working well? Now you feel in control, ahead in your planning and confident in your tasks and projects.

 

More time management tips here!

Professional Organizers’ Favorite Planners

professional organizers' favorite planners

 

My clients and my colleagues are often searching for the perfect planner.  There’s a range of options for all of us, from digital to paper.   I polled my colleagues to help you determine what planners are most popular and why!

 

Planner requirements

What helps you determine the planner you choose?

  • Ability to quickly assess and add appointments
  • Agility in adding information to your planner
  • Size and portability
  • Attractive cover and interior pages

 

Here’s the responses

MaryJo: I’m a 100% digital calendar. I can color code and set reminders. I don’t leave home without my phone so I always have my calendar.

 

Melony: I’m old school. Franklin Covey Classic, ring bound 5.5×8.5, leather zip planner with lots of pockets.

 

Michelle: I have Erin Condren, Life Planner vertical layout this year. I like the format but it is so bulky.

 

Judy: The planner I love is the discbound planner with inserts (happy planner). I use the Louis Vuitton Monogram cover to hold everything together. I love this style of planner because you can customize it to your liking.

 

Me: I love the planner pad and love Outlook reminders. I have a hybrid system that works for me. I am visual so a paper planner lets me see it all and easily write in appointments. I have a few pockets for papers and use a binder clip to keep a pad of paper in the front.

 

Whatever your system, remember to have a weekly planning time with your planner and task list. It’s time to schedule your tasks and check on appointments.

 

More on planners and time management here!

How to make Time work for You

Be on time and be productive

 

Staying aware of time is one of the foundations of time management. It may be that you have a bit of “time blindness,” where you don’t see or feel time passing. Without this time awareness, you may be losing time and being less productive. Let’s admit it, when time passes we feel less effective and caught off guard.

 

Here are timely tips to help you track time and use it as you plan. You can rely on clocks, routines, and work flow to help you be your most productive.

 

  • Place a clock in all the important spots in your home or office. Time awareness begins with an analog clock.
  • Have a work flow, not necessarily a set schedule. Rather than a packed time table, set up work times that naturally flow in the context and content of your work.
  • Routines are the automation of time management. Establish routines that build success and structure for you. These routines begin and end your work day, and begin and end your daily life.
  • Use the Maximum and Minimum strategy to help you know how long a task or project can take. Assess what is the most and least amount of time for these and schedule your work accordingly.
  • Check out apps that can help you with time management. These include RescueTime, Toggl, and StayOnTask.
  • Use multiple alarms to keep you on track. These include one day out, one hour out, and 15 minutes out from a deadline.
  • Bedtime is the remedy for all time management challenges. Getting a great night’s rest solves many time management issues.
  • Schedule in free time, fun time and family time. Intentional time to disconnect and reconnect makes you more productive.

Choose a simple start for yourself with just one tip from this list to make you more aware of time and more effective in how you use your minutes and hours.

 

time flies and you're the pilot

Choosing Time Management Tools

Time management tools

 

Say the words time management and we say how can be manage time?  We can’t really. What we can do is track how we use time, understand how long a tasks takes, and prioritize what we spend out time on.   Time management tools help us track and record how we spent our time.   By tracking and recording our tasks and how much time each takes, we can be more productive about how we use our time.  These basic, elementary tools also empower us to be more productive.

 

Capture tools: planner and task list

A planner is where you place dates and appointments. It’s also where you can create a plan for your work by breaking tasks and projects into smaller units. Planners come in a variety of formats so choose what works for you.

 

A task list is where you record all the details. It’s the spot for all ideas, whether actionable or not.  The task list evolves into the 3 Most Important Tasks (MITs). Those the tasks that are assigned by date and recorded on your panner. These capture tools can include a simple notebook to the online tool Trello.

 

Both capture tools are essential for productivity. Knowing the high priority tasks, choosing which to schedule when, then you can use your planner.  Your planner is your every day map for getting stuff done.

Focus tools

These tools help you stay on track with your plan and ensure productivity.

 

A timer can help you start, finish and stay on task. Setting a timer helps make the shift into action.  It’s set to help you with the duration of the task. Using the Pomodoro technique, you can break up your work into chunks too.

 

An analog clock can help you gauge the beginning of a task.  Placing an analog clock where you can see time elapsing is beneficial in that you can assess how much time has passed and when to move onto the next step.

 

There are many apps that create more awareness about your own productivity.  RescueTime is a a digital tool to assess where you have spent your time.  This time management software helps you stay on track knowing that your time is being assessed. TimeDoctor give you tools for analysis for you and your team.  Trello helps you set up an online tracking tool.  Check out of one these on one of your devices.  Use these focus tools together to help you keep to your plan.

 

Time management concepts

Time management concepts provide the perspective of how to use your tools.

 

The Power of One highlights how important a single capture tool can be for you.  Capture your tasks and assigments in one place. It’s easier to know what you have to do and when you are doing this tasks.

 

Chunk your  work into segments that work for you. If you are someone who likes long time periods to work, create theme days to do this work. If you work for an hour at a time, break your work into these units.  Chunking is a powerful way to be sure you are accomplishing and not procrastinating.

 

 

Now you have the tools. It’s time to put them to use!  Be sure to have your planner, task list, clock and timer at your side at all times.  Put them to work today as you start your work day.

 

More time management tips here! Join my newsletter!