According to the JagWire’s recent poll, 64% of Carrboro students say they need to improve their time management. All over the country, students are struggling with keeping up with schoolwork, extracurricular activities like clubs and sports, and in some cases, work.
Not only is the amount of activities hard to balance in a 24-hour day, but there are also so many distractions teenagers face. Phones, computer games, TV– all of these are appealing and take away from “productive” time.
Zadie Taylor, CHS freshman, said that it is hard to get work done with her day-to-day activities. “I have track practice, or field hockey practice. That takes up about two hours, so I get home about 5:30. Then I procrastinate before I eat dinner. . . then I don’t do anything [after dinner] because I keep telling myself I can do it another day, even though I literally can’t.” said Taylor. She continued to explain the various distractions that take away from her work time. “My phone, for sure . . . the television, food . . . overall I would say I spend about three hours on my phone every day. But sometimes I get on my computer and start to play games.”
Peyton Buebel, another CHS student, said she has good time management skills. “I am involved in afterschool sports,” said Buebel, who plays field hockey, track, and soccer–a sport each season. Buebel also said she was involved in “homework after school [and] hanging out with friends”. Buebel also mentioned that she spends 1-3 hours on homework depending on the day. Upon being asked how she successfully keeps up with her tasks, Buebel said, “My favorite thing to do is make a list. If you make a list, you can put it on paper and see what you need to do to get all your work done that day. . . If you put everything down, you can see how much time you need to work on each thing to manage your time well.” According to the Guardian, making to-do lists also eases our stress and adds structure to our thinking.
However, lists aren’t the only way for students to better manage their time. Below are a few more strategies to help students keep track of their tasks.
Adding Screen Time Limits
Like Zadie Taylor said, phones are a big distraction that get in the way of productivity. It’s easy to sit down to “check one thing”, and end up on the phone for forty-five minutes. A way to combat this is adding screen time limits to the phone. Since procrastination is often the thing that gets in the way of good time management, this is an important step. Apple phones have a built-in program to create screen time limits, but there are other apps like Space and Flipd. There’s even Forest, which users can turn on when they want to stay off their phone for a specific amount of time. Forest plants a seed that grows into a tree, but if they go onto the phone during the set amount of time, the tree dies.
Using Online Calendars
Using a calendar– physical or online– is a helpful way to manage one’s time. Online calendars allow for users to “time block.” Time blocking lets students create a section of time for set activities. Not only does this help students see what’s on their agendas, but it also lets them create set amounts of time for doing homework. For many people, seeing their schedule and what they’re meant to be doing is very helpful.
Using a planner
While it may seem like an obvious step, using a planner and remembering to check it can make all the difference. Most planners have spaces for their owners to write what they’re doing on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Seeing everything on their plate laid out for them helps students see when and how much time they should set aside for “productive” activities– whether that is homework or cleaning their rooms. They also incorporate the to-do list element Peyton Buebel said she favored.
Using Resources on Canvas
Canvas can also be a helpful tool for CHS students: While you may think of it as just a place to find assignments, it has many helpful resources. Students can choose to switch their dashboard to “list view”, essentially a to-do list by day with the assignments that are due. It also has a calendar that allows students to create a time slot when they are doing activities. Since students visit Canvas everyday anyway, using its features to help their time management is an added plus.
Having better time management can improve all aspects of a student’s life. When asked whether she would like to improve her time management, Taylor responded, “I would love to! I think I would have more free time, even though I spend so much time on my phone I’d have more free time, and I’d be less stressed out on the weekends.” When students use their time wisely and productively, it frees up the rest of their time for things they want or like to do.