To me, life runs on time, and how much I have. Right now I am going through the college application process, and I always have so many things to do. I'm still waiting to get a break and this has been going on since last summer! It's alright though, because I am dealing with my time the right way and getting done what needs to be done. When it comes to school, I used to be really bad about managing time, because all I wanted to do was watch TV and play video games. This wouldn't help me and I always felt I was pressed for time. Now I come home and just start on homework, and make sure it's always first on my agenda. This way I have so much time for everything else. The things I always make time for are my family, my homework, school, and friends. Those are the things that are most important to me. My best advice for time management is this: always do first what needs to be done, no matter how much more fun other things sound. Why? Because one way or another, you're going to have to finish it and get it over with, so why not get it out of the way?
Time management seems to be the greatest challenge for me in high school. I
have to balance my academics, activities, social life, and REST. I often get into quarrels with my family members just because I didn't plan my time well. For instance, I may yell at them for disturbing me when I'm working and I may blame them when I miss deadlines, even though it's actually my fault for cramming everything in the last minute. But there's one thing that I always make time for: horseback riding. It's a way for me to relax, to reflect on what I'm doing. Reserving a few hours every week for the sport makes me realize that there's always time for something important; it just depends on how great my desire is to do it. I think the best trick to deal with time management is the classic "break it into bits." It's really important for you to learn how to break a big, overwhelming project into small, manageable tasks. Then you can work progressively and have a sense of achievement whenever you're done with a small part. Another trick is to devise a timetable for yourself. It doesn't have to be one that you follow faithfully. It's just there to serve as a guide. You can compare your actual schedule with the planned one to see how well you actually use your time. A final tip is to always set deadlines for yourself.
As I have gotten older, the pressures of school and extra-curricular activities have become increasingly harder to bear and more stressful. Now that I'm in high school, there's even more work than before, and time management has become extremely important. I think the best advice I can give is that you should always leave time to relax and have fun. Teachers, parents, and peers can put a lot of pressure on kids to do more and do well in school. My parents have definitely put high expectations on me, and sometimes they are very hard to live up to. I think the best way to deal with all that is to make sure you have time for everything you need to do, while leaving time to enjoy yourself. If you get lazy sometimes, you'll probably pay for it through bad grades but at the same time, if you overwork yourself, you get burned out. Finding the right balance between relaxation and work will lead to success in all things you do.
I often feel overextended when it comes to time management. I'm either doing something for school, for my family, or trying to squeeze something in for myself. Not managing your time can lead to negative results. When I don't study for a test like I should, there's a chance I'll do poorly on my test and receive a low grade. It's nobody else's fault but my own because had I planned my time better, I could have accomplished more. So I simply take my defeat as a lesson to learn from, and next time I'll study harder and study longer. The one thing that I DO always fit into my schedule is time for myself and my friends. If I become bombarded with homework, I take at least an hour to relax, dance, talk to my friends, or listen to music. If you don't take time for yourself, the only thing you're going to do is burn out and not be able to accomplish anything. One time trick that I've learned is to purchase a planner. This way, if I have a class project due, I can write it down so I know when it's due and when I need to start working on it. If I have plans to hang out with friends, I look on my planner to see if I have enough time to hang out with them and complete my schoolwork. At least once a day I'll check my planner for homework, projects, appointments, or gathering dates. When I can see what I need to accomplish on paper, it's easier to decide how much time I can devote to each task. I may not get the task completed, but at least I know I tried to and put enough effort into it.
I feel as though it's almost impossible to manage my time well. However, I've noticed over the years that having afterschool sports has helped greatly. It may sound strange, but by actually leaving less time for me to do my work, it forces me to get all of my work done. Also, sports calm me down so I can concentrate better. I find that if I want to do work, I have to tell myself that I HAVE to do it by a certain time. The hardest part is getting myself to start it, but once I do I usually can finish it.
For more advice, read our IML Time Tips, starting with some ideas for squeezing in Chores and Duties.