Whether your student is gearing up for the new school year with in-person classes or continuing virtual learning, they are sure to need to brush up on their time management skills before the school year begins. As many us noticed during the spring, when classes and workplaces transitioned to working from home, time management can be challenging, even for those of us who pride ourselves on our productivity. If your student struggles with time management, especially while learning from home, take a look at the list of Tips for Effective Time Management for Students compiled by our Staying Ahead of the Game academic coaches.
- Structure your days around non-work activities
School tasks can seem daunting without an academic schedule to provide structure to your student’s day. When days are unplanned, things often get put off until the last minute. A useful tip that many of our coaches utilize while working from home is to structure their days around non-work activities. This organizes your student’s free time into small blocks of time and allows you to plan each block of time for a specific task. So, try organizing your student’s schoolwork schedule around periods of exercise, short breaks, and small tasks. Make sure you set a time limit for each activity so that you don’t run into your work time.
- Have a reward system in place
A simple self-imposed rewards system can help stir up the motivation your student may be missing, especially if your student is working from home. Whether it’s promising a small treat, 20 minutes of TV or screen time, or a bit of outside time, a reward system can help keep your student on task. Our academic coaches often use reward systems to keep our students on task for the duration of our academic coaching sessions.
- Designate a proper workspace
Working from home often means working alongside a plethora of distractions like pets, siblings, and even parents. To minimize distraction and maximize productivity, our academic coaches always recommended designating a workspace specifically for homework. Preferably, this workspace will be somewhere your student can work daily without interruption. An ideal workspace has plenty of desk/ table space, proper lighting, and even a little area for breaks.
- Dress for success
If your student is learning from home during the beginning of the fall semester, it may be helpful to have them dress as if they’re going to school. No, this does not mean they need to wear their school uniform to learn from home, but rather, it means they should avoid wearing PJs and sweats when learning from home. Instead, favor a slightly more formal attire. Dressing for the day is an industry secret amongst entrepreneurs and others who work from home. It’s a great way to kick start productivity and start your off on the right foot, no matter where you are working.
- Utilize airplane mode / snooze mode
Technology is both a blessing and a curse for the learning process. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has allowed offices and classrooms to be transported into the living rooms and home offices of millions of students and employees. However, technology also can distract us from our goals and allow us to waste time that could be spent productively. Social media, texting, Facetiming, and phone calls all require an internet connection or cell service, so while working considering setting your students devices to either snooze mode or airplane mode for a set amount of time. This method can work in tandem with a rewards system. For example, after 45 minutes of device-free concentration, reward your student with 10 minutes of device access.
- Take breaks
Office days have lunch breaks, classes end every 45 minutes to an hour with a bell, and truck drivers occasionally pull over to rest. There’s no reason working and learning from home should be any different. Taking breaks allows your student to take a moment to recharge in the way that he or she chooses and will ultimately lead to a more productive work period on either side of the break. Like the airplane/snooze mode tip, taking a break from working can be incorporated into a reward system for your student. Even in our hour-long academic coaching sessions, our academic coaches regularly implement the use of small breaks to keep our students focused and motivated.
- Plan ahead and hit the ground running
This tip applies more to homework than it does actual classwork, but having your student plan their work schedule the night before will do wonders for their time management. Planning should start at the beginning of each week in your student’s academic planner and then be adjusted each night for the next day based on current productivity and new assignments. Our academic coaches check our student’s planners regularly until we can ensure that our students are using their planners to the fullest extent of their potential.
- Exercise regularly
Daily or weekly exercise is one of the most powerful weapons at our disposal for combating unproductiveness and procrastination. Exercise raises our energy levels, helps fight stress, reduces fatigue, and improves general happiness and well-being. If your student is restless and has trouble focusing, exercise will help reduce their unrest. If your student is lethargic and generally bored with academic work, exercise will help improve their energy levels. When we say exercise, we’re not suggesting you sign your students up for a spin class, but rather encourage outside or active play, whatever that may be.