The Balancing Act of Student Time Management

Saturday, May 11, 2024
Pexels Ivan Samkov 4458554

The Balancing Act of Student Time Management

Being a good student involves hard work, dedication, and understanding the concepts you learn – but many people forget the importance of another factor: time management. When you're juggling classes, homework, extracurricular activities, and social life, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and lose track of time.

One of the best ways to succeed in academics and personal life is to master the art of time management. The earlier you can do this, the more you will be able to carry time management skills into higher education and your career.

Many of the members of National Society of High School Scholars have cultivated time management skills to excel. Read on for some of our best tips on how and why to become great at time management.

Why Time Management Matters for Students

When you can effectively manage your time as a student, you can make the most of all elements of your life: academic success, extracurricular activities, and personal time for rest and joy. This work-life balance is known to reduce stress levels and ultimately even increase productivity, and it will be important to carry throughout your career.

When you have control over your time, you can allocate it wisely to achieve your goals, whether they are academic or personal. In developing these skills, you may also learn important lessons about organization, discipline, and self-motivation, all of which are invaluable in all aspects of life.

When Students Don’t Learn Time Management

On the other hand, poor time management can have a detrimental effect on your life. When you fail to manage your time effectively, you may constantly rush to complete assignments, cram for exams, or miss deadlines. This can lead to a decline in academic performance, increased stress levels, and overall dissatisfaction with your educational experience.

Not only that, but poor time management can also spill over into other areas of your life, affecting your relationships, mental well-being, and even physical health. Taking proactive steps to avoid these issues is important to your overall well-being.

Time Management Skill #1: Understand Your Priorities and Set Goals

Before effectively managing your time, you must have a good sense of your priorities and set clear goals. Take some time to reflect on what matters most to you academically and personally, thinking about questions like:

  • What subjects or activities require the most work?

  • What long-term goals do you want to achieve?

  • Which things are non-negotiable, and what can be optional?

  • What are things that bring you joy to balance out stress?

 With these in mind, you can allocate your time accordingly and ensure that you are making progress towards your goals. Setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) can be a good way to ensure your goals are clear from the beginning.

Time Management Skill #2: Use Daily and Weekly Schedules

Notebook to-do list NSHSS

Creating schedules is one of the simplest, most effective ways to master time management.

Start by mapping out your daily and weekly commitments, including classes, study time, extracurricular activities, and personal obligations. Use a planner or digital calendar to visualize your schedule and ensure that you have allocated sufficient time for each task.

Then, look at each day. Consider your energy levels throughout the day and assign tasks accordingly. For example, if you are more alert in the morning, schedule your most challenging subjects or important assignments during that time. Be sure to include breaks in your schedule to rejuvenate and avoid burnout.

Time Management Skill #3: Study Efficiently

Studying will likely be a big element of your schedule, which means it requires time management. One way to make the most of your time is to be sure that your study methods are effective for you. Instead of spending hours mindlessly reviewing material, adopt study techniques that maximize your learning potential.

One example is the Pomodoro Technique, where you study for 25 minutes then take a non-negotiable 5-minute break. This may sound counterintuitive, but it has been shown to improve focus and prevent mental fatigue.

You can also consider active learning, in which you actively engage with the material through activities such as summarizing, discussing, or teaching the concepts to someone else.

Experiment with different study techniques to find what works best for you, and you will see your time management improve.

Time Management Skill #4: Balancing Academics and Extracurricular Activities

One of the most difficult things for students can be finding a way to balance school and other activities to have the most well-rounded experience possible. While academics are top priority, these activities may enrich your life or even help with college applications, so it is important to find room for both.

The key to balancing academics and activities is being realistic about how much time you can dedicate to any one thing and saying no when it doesn’t allow you that boundary. Quality, not quantity, is most important for extracurriculars, so find something you can give your all to instead of struggling to do many things.

Time Management #5: Utilizing Technology and Productivity Tools for Time Management

student with IPad #NSHSS

In the digital age, you don’t need notebooks and planners to manage time (unless you prefer that!). You can utilize apps and software that help you create and organize your schedules, set reminders, and track your progress. Some popular tools include Google Calendar, Trello, Todoist, and Forest.

These tools improve your time management, provide insights into your productivity habits, and help you make necessary adjustments. Try out some tools to learn what works best for you.

Time Management Skill #6: Seek Support and Guidance

If you struggle with time management, don't hesitate to find support. Reach out to your teachers, academic advisors, or mentors who can provide insights and strategies for effective time management. They can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, offer personalized advice, and hold you accountable for your commitments.

Another idea is to join study groups or find tutoring services if you require additional assistance in managing your workload.

Working Toward Time Management

Mastering time management is a continuous journey that requires self-awareness, discipline, and a willingness to adapt. Your time is a precious resource, and it is up to you to make the most of it. Start implementing these time management tips today, and you'll be on your way to a more productive and fulfilling academic journey!