teenage time management


I am often tagged by my friends on Instagram for being the tardiest person they know. The posts are usually about tagging the one person you would call for an appointment and you would be rewarded an awesome amount of money if they were late. I truly don’t know what the issue is, I am not sure if I do my stuff way too slow or add too many tasks for a day. In High school, I never had time to do my homework or study. I used to think I had too many chores and  I still do, but I think I have learnt a few things about time management. 

Just before I start sharing those tips, I want you to know that good time management is going to make you a better adult. Time is all the life that you have and will have and therefore what you do with it, is very significant.You must be reading this and thinking, how exactly does time management make you a better person? How does it simplify your  life? Here are a few benefits for good time management.

1.       Reduced stress

For most of my high school life I was not aware that I needed to learn how to effectively distribute my duties throughout the day. May not make sense to you but I was heavily dependent on my mother. My mother always made sure I put an alarm for the next morning, uniforms ready, and always made sure that we went to bed on time. She always had a way of populating my day, if my day felt a somewhat empty i always reasoned i needed to rest from all that child labour (lol).

Only later did I realize that my very laid back approach to time would give me anxiety  as I grew older, now honoring appointments gives me anxiety, assignment due dates, class times, waking up and to-do lists. Basically anything that is directly linked to time stresses me out. If you are like me, then you will be happy to  know that better time management will help you avoid or reduce stress caused by the feeling of time slipping through your fingers.

You will find that when you start practicing the tips I will share with you on time management, you will start feeling more settled, productive and you will always give your optimum performance.

2.       You can do more

Having tried working with  Lists and outlines, I realized that on average I do  more  stuff than I did during my high school days. I do my chores and work and I still have time to study and workout. Before, I barely had time to study and or workout because the chores felt like they took all day.

Once you are international about your time, believe it or not you can do more within the same frame of twenty four hours. 

3.       You do better

Have you ever done an assignment in a rush and your grade comes back as a B and then you wonder, what if I did that assignment with all  my efforts on deck? What if I did it when I had time, no anxiety? wouldn’t you want to try that? Because you and I believe you can do better. 

The honest truth is, if you give each project or portion of your life the amount of time it demands you will always produce beautiful results. Same principle applies to your school work, manage your time and you will almost always give your best efforts to everything you do.

4.       Personal growth

When you know how to manage your time well and you realize there are more hours in the day, then you will quickly learn that you can always add more stuff to do. You can do things that make you a better person, like acquiring skills and developing your talents.You can  read and work out, practice personal hygiene and self care.

You can volunteer to orphanages and old people’s homes, and local churches. You can get time to reach within yourself and learn who you are and you can also improve who you are.

5.       You get some resting time

You may not use the resting time to rest but you would have definitely made time for it. I am still struggling to decide what time I should go to bed or how long my lunch break should be, but in just trying to manage my time I know that I could have my 8 hour sleep and plus or minus one hour lunch break. You will always have time to rest if you practice good time management

6.        You will be a better adult

    I have already said this, you will be a better adult, as we grow older responsibilities keep adding on. You move from keeping your sneakers clean to keeping your car clean, from smaller things to huge life changing things. You will learn that each responsibility demands time and if you know how to manage your time well, you will adjust into adulthood better than the rest of us and you will do better than most of your peers as an adult.


Alright, now that you know just how important it is to be able to manage your time well, here is how you could go about it!

1.       Identify your Priorities

What is most important to you, what keeps you moving? What keeps you inspired? That should make first spot in your priorities on a daily basis. You need to search deep, think about it clearly, what really inspires you? Do you wanna be a scientist? Do you wanna be a soccer star? Or an iconic singer, who do you wanna be, make the activities that pour into that image a priority, do them first every day.

 Even with academics, you must choose which subjects you like, what do you  want to study at tertiary level, what do you have to give most of your  energies in, what are you  struggling with? What do you need to focus on at this moment? Do I have to do a few assignments before I resume my normal study schedule? I can go on and on with examples but I hope you are getting the point.

 Whatever things make you who you are, things that you find important , those things should make your priority list. In the order of most important to least important.

2.       Set academic goals/set goals

I used to struggle with Setting goals because I am an overachiever and I am terrible at planning.I really love organizing my stuff, but I wind up spending too much time organizing. I never put time frames to tasks and I never wrote down what needed to be done. Yes, you guessed right, I was a highly unproductive person.

Lucky for you I made that mistake so that you don’t have to and I will give a very detailed way to set goals. Here is what you need to understand about setting goals, goals are defined as an aim or desired result. They are classified under two main categories but I like to make them three. They are classified as long term goals and short term goals and just to balance that i like to add intermediate in between them 


Short term goals are the goals you have to work on now because they must be achieved soon. A good example of a short term goal is preparing for an upcoming test. I define an intermediate goal as a transitional goal, a goal that brings you closer to your long term goal. An example would be aiming to pass your current grade. It’s long in terms of time span when compared with a short term goal but it is still a temporary goal. Long term goals as defined by me would be the ultimate goals, “the reason why”. For example, a long term goal for me would be becoming a Doctor of medicine. I therefore spent years and years in school just preparing to be a doctor. Please note that the long term goals are also subject to change and are not and should not be limited to academics, space and time.  

Go ahead and make a list of your goals and then when you are done with it. Write on a different paper, page, software the three classifications of goals and then place each goal under short term, intermediate and or long term.


While we are speaking about setting goals, get yourself a journal. Not the kind of Journal you use to offload your thoughts and feelings but the planning kind. A journal where you write your dreams, goals and aspirations. You can even write business plan ideas in this journal, you write every goal in complete specificity and clarity. You could either get a software that can help you with this, if you are interested in getting a physical book try getting one at amazon and or daily designer. You could also get a regular journal from your local stationery store and just start writing. 

Under the same thoughts of journaling, plan your day, to be relevant, journal your plans for the day. Here is another book you should get, a planner. You got to amazon, happy planner, power house planners for well set up planners. You could also use planer boards as opposed to journals. The point is to be able to keep up with your goals and also knowing how to spend the next week pursuing in small bits your big dreams.

Now let’s try to set those goals. Setting goals is not complicated as physics experiments but it’s an art alright! Here is how I go  about it. It’s not a new technique and was not coined by me but I find it very helpful. I use the SMART mnemonic:

  • S          – SPECIFIC ( make sure you know what you want and how to get to it, for example, if you want to start exercising, you must know why you are doing it. Are doing it to keep fit, are you working on your cardiovascular strength, do you want to get toned, getting rid of cellulite…..and …..and…..and. being specific will keep you motivated)
  • M        – MEASURABLE ( if you decide for example to work on your cardiovascular strength, you schedule within your week regular cardio workouts like Jogging, you start at 10 minutes of a constant jog no walking, then you find you can jog for 20 minutes straight the following week. It’s about being able to quantify your progress, therefore keep record of your progress and take time to look back to where you have come from. You will be able to appreciate your efforts)
  • A         – ATTAINABLE (using the same example of getting fit, Imagine that you decided to start working out because you want to gain cardiovascular strength, you have never worked out, never played a sport or danced. Then you decided that you will workout everyday for seven days a week and you will start at Jogging 5km a day. You will get worn in a week, you will hate the idea of fitness and you will loathe Jogging. Do not bite more than you can chew, take things lightly and slowly but go ahead and make a change. Do not set impossible targets for yourself)
  • R         – RELEVANT (almost self-explanatory, understand your goal. You want to gain cardiovascular fitness, don’t find yourself at the gym doing weight training, it may be related but not relevant for you in the season that you are working on cardiovascular endurance, unless of course strength training is your goal too)
  • T          -TIME BOUND goals (have a time frame for your goal, decide that in the next 6 months you will focus on working your cardio strength so that you could jog 12 km straight without stopping, or maybe you want to make an upcoming marathon as benchmark, whichever way you want, make sure you set times for it).
  • R -This R may not make  part of SMART but it’s equally as important as the rest of those mnemonics, this R is for review. You have to keep up with yourself, see whether or not you are moving in the direction you want to be in and check if there should be any adjustments.
  • When you start setting goals you may struggle with figuring out what it is that you want, or struggle with planning your day…. whatever it is, it should not stop you. You are allowed to slow down but you can’t afford to stop.  
When setting goals it's important to pay attention to the person that you are, learn your strengths and weaknesses, and find out what you are good at. What you do with the least amount of effort, find out what you need to work on, what you can never win on. Study your energy levels and get to know yourself. As you grow and get to learn yourself you must know  that knowing yourself it’s a progressive process, which means it can never come to an end. 


Discipline is a big part of setting goals, I once stumbled across a video about motivation vs discipline and a famous South African businessman and Motivational speaker was talking. He said, motivation is needed in the success journey of a person, but discipline is the currency that produces success. You could either choose to be your own cheerleader and motivate yourself to be disciplined each day or you could choose to remove your emotions from it and just  commit yourself, it’s up to you as long as you do!

Creating a study schedule

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty of creating a study schedule, you thought we were done …of course not, there are a few things we need to iron out. When you want to create a functional schedule, you must evaluate your commitments starting from the ones you have presently.

That involves thinking about how many subjects you have, which ones do you need to give extra attention to. You have to also consider your extra-curricular activities, how many they are and which ones you want to maximize on, how much time do they take? Think about your family and your responsibility to them, when is family time, how long is family time? What do I do for the family on a daily basis, how long does it take?

You must also consider your energy levels; I am generally very energetic in the morning so I prefer to take on my hardest tasks before midday and then wing the others as the day continues. However, I hate waking up early, any time before 6am I just feel abused. You might find you make part of the 5am club or you are the midday gang or you are in between like me. 

You must also look at your day, observe how it generally moves, consider if there is space to study, and calculate how many hours you could dedicate studying. Then, depending on what is top priority to you, I will just assume its  school,place studying as the thing you do when you feel your best.

Ask for help from your guardians if you cannot stick to your routine and study schedule, you could even ask for their input on how to structure your day.You can also start or join a study group with your friends so that you create an accountability system for yourself. I would advise that there be adult supervision or some accountability system in place.

Practice time blocking

The concept of time blocking has to do with literal blocking, putting your tasks in blocks and blocking out other tasks and other things. The first blocking involves you separating your day into sections or blocks. Say for example you normally get up at 7am and prepare for school and then school ends at 2.30 and then you have a dance class after and you will probably get home 18:00, just before supper. So generally this is what your time block would look like,

1st part of  the day 7am-3pmSCHOOL
teenage student time management – time blocking

What you need to be mindful of when creating these blocks is that you must understand when the time comes and goes for a particular section in your life you can not let it affect the next block of activities. In those blocks you want to make sure that whatever tasks related to school should be done during the school hours, attending classes, noting your homeworks and assignments. Chit chat with friends during lunch, do what must be done at school during school hours. 

Similarly for the dance, you practice to your best, you entertain no school related stuff and the same goes for everything else. Doing this will help you focus on one important task at a time and keep you from wasting time.

As a way of practicing time blocking, you can try the pomodoro technique, which involves working in intervals. This is a technique you could do while studying. Have 30 minute intervals of uninterrupted full focus study and then take a 7 minute break and then do it again and again, then after doing that rep about 3 times you can take a longer break.

 It is advisable that you also break down your study material, if you choose to study biology on that day, put it down in your schedule which topic or subtopic you want to understand for that specific session. 


I am one person who is easily distracted, a bit of music and I am ready to sing along, if I do not know the song my whole brain shifts to learning it. I have also tried studying while watching something and I have watched more series than I have covered my study goals. Once I wake up an hour later than what I should……,noooo, I am not playing catch up all throughout the day, I’m thrown off because I do not know whether I should try to catch up or I should let it go. I know my limits and I also know that you have your struggles, things that distract you. It could be social media, tik Tok or YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and twitter that swallows your brain into the lives of strangers, friends or family, pets.

You need to get to a place where you know what your distractions are and how to shut them out when you need to be productive in any of the areas you want to excel in in your life. This is how you could go about it

1.       Create a study environment – make sure it has very minimal distractions, and noise from the outside environment. Make it interesting for you, if you are minimalist make sure your study area is always tidy and use fewer colors for your décor material and stickers. If you love color, make it look colorful and intriguing for you, add flowers if you want, get creative.keep your study space tidy, it kind of encourages productivity.  Do not shy away of using files, stickers, notice boards and whatever else you feel you may need to keep organized!

time management for teenage students - study space

2.       Let them know – it’s very important to let your people know your schedule. Inform your friends and family about your study times, your dance practice times, tell them about when you will be available for chores and catching up. This way you can avoid being given an errand that will eat into half of your study time, you will also avoid disappointing a friend who came over during your study hours.

3.       Silence the phone – keep that phone in a silent mode or better yet turn it off during your productive hours. Focus only on the task at hand.

4.       Practice the Pomodoro technique.

5.       Noise canceling – remove all noise from the background, no headphones or EarPods , no background ,music. If you are like me and silence gives you anxiety then try soft instrumental music or any music with no lyrics could help you study (be careful in your music choice, try to keep it very soft)

6.       Have a priority list – whether it’s studying you must do or its chores or dancing, have a priority list. If you have to mow the lawn and do the dishes. Consider which one is time pressing, maybe because the sun will set in 2 hours, do the lawn first. Same applies to your study schedule, test in 2 weeks ?an assignment due in a week, do the assignment.

7.       Remember you are not just a student – spend time outside your books, find things that interest you and do them. Take some time off serious things and enjoy being young.

Seek support and accountabilty

I would have not done justice if I did not speak again, about the importance of a support system. You may have been equipped on how to manage your time and to be a productive person in your studies and all the other areas of your life. You need support, from the people who may otherwise be counterproductive, you need support from people who have been also working on time management a little while longer than you.

Seek help from your guardians and teachers, your church leaders and whoever else has a direct impact on your life. Let them know your plans of wanting to improve your time management, show them your vision, ask for their opinions, and make modifications. Do not just stop there, go back to them for regular check-ins and make sure you are still moving in the right direction.

Let your friends know so they learn to respect your time and may also be accountability buddies, you can form a community of support and study buddies.  


Good time management is a treasure and the earlier you start the better, you will mature to be a balanced adult. You will find that transitioning from phase to phase becomes much easier. I don’t know if you noticed, but learning how to manage your time comes with learning how to set goals, how to maximize your productivity and self love and discovery. It is a whole module on its own and it has positivity all over it.

As a side note, the strategies given in this article may not work for everyone, therefore if you feel that none of the things cut it for you, continue to do your own research, keep reading and keep learning yourself. We are all different people and what works for me may not work for you and that’s alright! You just have to note that the principle behind this article is time management, figure out what that looks like for you.

Starting on good time management early will help you usher in success early in your life, whatever version of success you have. There is so much potential to be unlocked, there are so many dreams to be realized, won’t you give this a shot, you have nothing to lose.