3 Tips on Time Management

Almost every teen struggles with time-management at some point. Time-consuming and less important things are somehow more tempting to spend time on than things I need to get done. I know what I need to accomplish, and sometimes I have motivation to do those things, but other times I don’t. I even procrastinated drafting this article.

There are days when I simply don’t want to get things done. I would rather sit on my couch and relax after a long day of school than do my homework, write, and read my Bible. 

However, spending time on the important things is much more worthwhile. I try to push myself to spend time on these things even when I don’t feel like doing so. There are three tips I’ve found that help me not to procrastinate (though I still do sometimes). I need to put the most important things first. I need to acknowledge that I do have time to get things done—if I’m not getting them done, it’s because I’m not prioritizing them. And I need to set small goals for myself. 

Tip #1: Put first things first.

What are the most important things in your life? What I value the most is God, family, friends, my health, and school. And because these are important to me, I want to prioritize them. If a certain thing is first in importance to us, that thing should also come first in terms of time.

That means that since I value my family, I will put spending time with them over less important activities. Since I value my health, I shouldn’t neglect my sleep for the sake of getting more done. Since God is the most important thing to me, I will make time to spend with Him consistently. 

As a general rule, people should come first in importance (only after God). Jesus put other people first in His time on Earth. This was shown when He healed, taught, and rebuked people—He did so out of love for them. Jesus put others before Himself to the extent of death on a cross. 

Maybe, if we put people first, we won’t get everything on our to-do list done. But I’d rather end a day knowing I spent quality time with my family and God than end a day knowing I completed my to-do list but didn’t spend time building relationships with people. A productive day is a day spent serving God and loving others. 

Tip #2: “It’s not a priority.”

Sometimes, I think, “I just don’t have time for fill-in-the-blank today.” It might be reading my Bible, playing with my brother, or exercising. 

But I have 24 hours in a day. If I don’t have time for something, then I am replacing my time for that activity with another activity. 

It’s not that I don’t have time for an activity, it’s that I’m not prioritizing that activity. I’m choosing to spend time on other things that I deem more important. Some days, something that is normally a priority isn’t. Sometimes I don’t have the energy to work out and more pressing activities come first. Sometimes I have a friend or family member who is going through something hard and it’s more important that spend time with them than prioritize my schoolwork. But there are also things that should always be a priority, like spending time with God. 

When I say, “I don’t have time for fill-in-the-blank,” I replace that with, “Fill-in-the-blank isn’t a priority today.” Sometimes that’s true—what I’m not spending time on isn’t a priority for me. But when I’m tempted to say I don’t have time to read my Bible and replace the sentence with “Reading my Bible isn’t a priority today,” well… it stings. I want time with God to consistently be a priority. 

What are your priorities? I’d guess they’re pretty similar to mine—God, family, friends, and school. Are you putting the most important things first in terms of your time?

Tip #3: Set small goals.

Many of us were faced with a thick summer reading book or packet this summer in preparation for our English class. And most of us weren’t able to finish the book or packet in one sitting. 

Imagine if you tried to read a 200 page book all at once. Some of you are avid readers and could definitely do so, but for many of us, reading for a long time is difficult. The task would seem intimidating and we would be less excited to finish the story. 

But if we broke up a book into segments and focused on one chapter at a time, the goal of finishing the book by a certain date would seem more manageable. We would know exactly how much you need to read in each sitting. 

Compare this to doing the tasks on your to-do list. If you decided to complete them all at once, it may be possible, but the task would be somewhat intimidating. When hard tasks are ahead of me, I start to procrastinate. But when I sit down to do one low-pressure thing, I feel prepared to complete the task. 

For example, when I write these articles, I tell myself, “I just have to write an outline.” That’s not hard; an outline doesn’t have to be perfect, and I can complete one pretty quickly. Then I tell myself, “I only have to write a first draft now. I can edit the draft later–I just have to get words on the page.” Often, my first drafts are bad, but I accomplish my goal of putting words on a blank page. Then I say, “I have to do one round of edits on this,” or “I am going to work on fixing the introduction.” Before long, I have a finished article because I focused on one small task at a time. 

Brett Harris compares finishing one task at a time to washing dishes—you need to start with one dish, then proceed to the next, and the one after that. You have to work with one dish at a time to get all of them done. A huge pile of dirty plates may seem intimidating at first, but after a few have been cleaned, the task isn’t so daunting anymore. What dish do you need to wash?

When I look at how I spend my time, I see certain things that need to change. There are many days when I haven’t put the most important things first or have set unattainable goals for myself that have only discouraged me. 

The Bible tells us to make the most of our time and opportunities in Ephesians 5:16. Making the most of the time means prioritizing the most important things. There is a difference between spending time and investing time. Time can’t help but be spent, but invested time is spent on worthwhile things. Things that will have benefits in the long run, like building relationships with family, reading the Bible, or dong well in school. Everybody spends their time, but are you investing yours?

6 responses to “3 Tips on Time Management”

  1. Love this! I don’t go to school (public or private) – I’m homeschooled. But I feel like this is super applicable to everyone and anyone no matter your stage of life. Time management is always something I need to work on! Thank you for this, Isabella!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed—time management is something that I need to consistently work on too. I’m glad you the article helped you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oooh. That hits hard. Heh. I am definitely going to be putting those tips into practice (like as soon as I finish this comment and go force myself to actually write something for once XD). Wait, you’re on Ydubs?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so good! I’ve heard a lot about the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and I want to read it, but I don’t have time… aka it isn’t a priority. 😛 Which I’m fine with at the moment. Tip #3 has saved my LIFE when it comes to school and personal work.

    Liked by 1 person

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