A Student’s Guide to Achievable Time Management



These four tips can make managing your time seem easy!

Reilly McGowan, Assistant Editor-in-Chief

John F. Kennedy Memorial High School had just successfully finished one marking period! However, with the remote distance learning schedules changing so much, it can be hard to find your footing and keep it. Students and faculty alike have spent this marking period figuring out what systems work for them; many have developed habits to help them be the most successful worker they can be. As we all try to readjust to the ever-changing normals, and transition into the second marking period, it’s definitely not the time to fall behind on work. It’s becoming increasingly clear that while we are out of the classroom, we as students need to hold ourselves more accountable for our due dates. 

It can be hard to keep track of our 4(or possibly more) classes, after-school clubs, sports and maybe even a job on our own as teenagers. It’s well known that procrastination is common in high school; we’ve all been up furiously typing at 11:57 the night a big assignment is due. Now more than ever though is a great time to start preparing for what our post-high school lives may look like. When assignments start to pile up, it can look intimidating, but The Torch has your back! Time management doesn’t have to be as daunting as it may seem. Below are some tips on how to manage your time in an achievable and easy way. 

Write It Down!

In the age of technology, something as simple as making a to-do list may seem silly. However, in a study done by psychologytoday.com, researchers found point-blank that students who made to-do lists often procrastinated less than students who didn’t. More than that, the article stated, “the more structured, organized and detailed to-do lists were and the more to-do lists were created habitually were related to less procrastination…” This means that not only will it benefit you to plan out all your work, but to have something formal written down. 

This doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy an expensive planner and pretty pens to decorate it with though. A simple sheet of paper with bullet points can be just as much help. If you aren’t a fan of pen and paper, many students at JFKMHS could swear by Google Keep. Fitting to its name, it “keeps” your lists organized and it can be easy to make it look pleasing too(if that’s important to you). 

Creating to-do lists are important for two reasons. Number one, it helps you actually visualize your assignments. If you have a lot of homework and you’re feeling overwhelmed, by writing it down you can see how much you actually have to do, and you can prioritize the most important ones first. Number two, it helps you from forgetting anything! When all of your classes are assigning work and you only keep up in the Google Classroom stream, it’s really easy to lose track of what you have to do. When you make a list, you’re less likely to miss something. 

Plus, there’s no better feeling than finally crossing off all the things on your to-do list!

Get writing!

Make a Schedule 

Scheduling goes hand in hand with making a to-do list. However, with scheduling, your plans can get a little more specific. 

For instance, say on a Monday your English teacher assigns you to read a 20-page chapter for homework, due on that Friday. Instead of putting it off until Thursday night to read 20 pages, read 5 pages a night. In your planner, writing specifically what you should do for your assignments can help each class not feel as overwhelming.

In addition to making a schedule for assignments, you can make a schedule for your after school activities. There are no restrictions on how many planners you can have, as long as it’s helping you. Make a list of all of the events you have going on each day—even if the only event one day is school. Then, once you see what you have to do in a day, you can look at your assignment list and be able to find the perfect time to work. 

High school is a busy time: we all are working, playing sports, joining tons of clubs, on top of studying for our classes. If we only rely on our brains to remember deadlines and how much we have to do, it’s so easy for things to slip through the cracks. We all deserve to do our best on all of our endeavors, schedules are here to help!

Accountability Check

So you’ve written down all your assignments and even made a schedule. Big whoop! You’re probably thinking, “What’s stopping me from just ignoring my schedule?” No fear, though, for the Torch has an answer to that perfectly valid question.

Find someone to hold you accountable! 

Be it a parent, sibling, or friend, just telling someone your plan can help to keep you in check. Maybe tell them to text you at a certain time to see your progress, or to ignore you until you’ve finished all your work. Just having someone besides yourself who knows your due dates can help keep you on track and make sure you’re not going off task. It’s so easy to push off due dates and ignore assignments until the last minute. However, when someone important to you is there to hold you accountable, you might be less likely to slack off. 

Incentivize! (and Put that Phone Down!)

Besides just finding the time to do assignments, it can be difficult to find the motivation to even finish assignments. What’s the point of reading a chapter from your textbook if you can’t remember what it was about because you were checking your phone in between each page? 

The solution here would be to give yourself an incentive to finish! The key to incentivizing is to figure out something that would actually motivate you. Perhaps it’s not eating dinner until you finish your homework, maybe it’s allowing yourself 15 minutes of playing video games in between each assignment.

A major incentive can also be allowing yourself time on your phone. Put your phone in a different room so you can put all your focus onto your work, and motivate yourself to finish up as fast as possible. Cliché as it might sound, our phones are addicting. Even doing something as simple as muting your notification or turning it on airplane mode might help you to stop checking it so incessantly. 

Change up your incentive too! Keep yourself invested and stay away from monotony—it’ll help you stay engaged and excited to finish. 

You Got This!

Whether you choose to use all four of these tips, just one, or maybe none at all, it’s important to find habits that work for yourself. No one person does work the same way. Instead, you have to try out different habits and studying systems until you find a routine that’s exactly your speed. No matter your system though, if it works for you then stick to it! Online can be difficult sometimes, but once you develop these habits finishing assignments will become a much less daunting task. 

Good luck studying—you got this!