If there’s one thing that stops teens from reaching their academic potential, it’s their time management skills.
Actually, I mean lack thereof…
Poor time management affects everyone. Even students with the very best of intentions.
I’d say it’s the main thing that separates students destined for College, and those destined for the McDonald’s cleaner position… Pretty damn important.
Any student, current or former, will be familiar with the following situation…
You have an assignment to do, but it isn’t due for three weeks – Facebook/TV/other time-wasting activity here I come!!
Then all of a sudden – as if out of nowhere – the assignment is due in three days…
You’re forced to work like a slave, deprive yourself of sleep, and cancel all other activities simply to hand in a shoddy assignment that in no way reflects your best work.
Yes, we’ve all been there. Some more than others!
We’re all allowed a little bit of procrastination here and there, but as I said, having good time management skills and keeping on top of school-work and study during the year is what separates the students bound for college, and those who are left behind…
We want to make sure your teen falls into the former category.
It’s essential that good study habits like time management are in place before your teen leaves high school and heads off to college/university/whatever they end up doing.
Especially if they leave home, they’ll only have themselves for motivation and discipline, and this ain’t gonna magically happen if they haven’t forged good study habits at high school.
The best way to combat procrastination and poor time management is to set time aside for study in advance.
Your teen is FAR more likely to sit down and study when they know that 4pm-6pm (for example) every day is study time.
Leaving it up to them to decide when they feel like studying isn’t going to suffice. This way study may never happen!
Because structure is everything.
A top athlete doesn’t think, nah, don’t feel like going to the gym today… They don’t even need to think about it. Going to the gym is just part of their daily schedule. They’re used to it.
Just as doing homework and studying regularly should become part of your teen’s normal weekly routine.
The Magic Bullet – A Study Timetable
You can help your teen get their time management sorted by helping them make a weekly study timetable.
This entails making a table of the normal school week – including all of your teen’s extracurricular activities – and then filling in the hours they want to put aside for homework and study.
Notice how I’ve said “they want“? If your teen feels like they’re choosing to study they’ll be much more likely to follow through with it. In fact, if they think you’ve picked all their times then this may even be counter-productive.
The timetable doesn’t need to be anything fancy. A table ruled up on an A4 piece of paper is absolutely fine. Although doing it on a computer may be easier, and would enable your teen to update it if/when they need to.
A study timetable should be as specific as possible.
Once your teen knows when they’re going to study, they also need to fill out the what.
Get your teen to decide every week what subjects or what topics they’re going to study when. This way they’ll always know exactly what they should be studying, and there’s no excuse for not doing it.
Your teen needs to stick their timetable somewhere really obvious.
Somewhere so your whole family can see it all the time. This will make your teen accountable not only to themselves, but to you and anyone else in your family.
On the fridge and on their bedroom door are two great places that are hard to ignore.
Just to be clear, this timetable isn’t for exam study.
It’s only for a normal week.
Your teen will need to make a different timetable for their study schedule leading up to exams when the time comes.
But sticking to a weekly study timetable will mean that when exams do roll around, your teen will be used to being disciplined already.
Most teens experience an enormous shock to the system when exams come to into view because they’re not used to studying regularly.
Your teen by this time however, will be practiced at studying – even when they don’t feel like it! Just like an athlete.
Image Credit: Obscura on Flickr
Clare & Chris (The Study Gurus)
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