Your kids have known how to tell time since elementary school. But as teens they are late, don’t get chores complete or other things done on time, and they may even turn in papers 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 our 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, duration, and initiation/procrastination.
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.
- Model your priorities and talk about them with your kids.
- Encourage your teen to write down their priorities or create a vision board to see their priorities.
- Grid out with your kids the time available and where their priorities fit on the grid.
- Take time to plan. Have plan A, B and Z. It’s important to set tasks into motion, but not be rigid.
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. Make their bed, place laundry in the basket and put trash away are 3 small tasks that take less than 5 minutes all together.
- Create more time awareness with more analog clocks. Clocks should be in all your spaces to be sure you are gauging your time.
- Use the 3 minute rule. If it takes less than 3 minutes, just do it.
- Break big projects or tasks into baby steps. Map out small sections of a project, assign a time and date to accomplish them. Nothing seems as overwhelming when it’s broken into smaller chunks.
Initiation and Procrastination
- 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.
- Brain storm the costs of procrastination. What’s at stake? What’s will happen? Is there is compelling reason to do this?
- Set up a compelling, organized environment. A clear work space, quiet or white noise, and easy to access school supplies makes it easier to get started.
Tools for time management
On your smartphone
- Clock with timer for getting started and timing how long a task takes
- Pandora play list for organizing or homework
- 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 on how long it takes. Every experience is a learning opportunity here.