Young People Ask
How Can I Manage My Time?
“I overheard someone joking that if you wanted me to be somewhere by four o’clock, then you should tell me to be there by three. That’s when I realized that I need to manage my time better!”—Ricky.a
HOW many more hours could you use in a day? What would you use the extra time for?
□ To hang out with friends
□ To sleep
□ To study
□ To exercise
□ Other ․․․․․
Although it would be great to get a few more hours in the day, that’s not going to happen! So, what can you do? Many young people have learned that managing their time has helped them to find those few extra hours they so desperately need. They’ve also noticed that being in control of their time has reduced their stress, improved their grades, and gained them more trust from their parents. Let’s see how time management can work for you.
Challenge #1 Making a Schedule
What might stop you. Just the thought of scheduling makes you feel trapped! You like to be spontaneous, and you don’t want every minute of your life controlled by a planner.
Why do it anyway. King Solomon wrote: “The plans of the diligent one surely make for advantage.” (Proverbs 21:5) Solomon was no doubt a busy man. He was a husband, a father, and a king—likely all before he was 20 years old! And his life got busier after that. Similarly, your life is busy now. But probably it will become even more hectic as you get older. Better that you get organized sooner rather than later!
What your peers say. “About six months ago, I started planning my schedule regularly. I was trying to make things easier, and having a schedule seemed to do the trick!”—Joey.
“Lists help keep me on track. When I have an extra-heavy load, my mom and I write it all down to figure out how we can help each other reach our goals.”—Mallory.
What will help you. Look at it this way: Suppose you’re going on a road trip. Each family member randomly throws his or her bags into the trunk of the car. It looks as though there won’t be enough room for everything. What could you do? You might take everything out and start again, putting the biggest bags in first. Progressively, space is found for the smaller bags.
The same is true with your life. If you start filling up your time with smaller things, you risk not being able to fit in the important things. Make space for the big things first, and you’ll be amazed at how much more time you’ll have for the rest!—Philippians 1:10.
What are the most important things you need to do?
Now go back and prioritize—number the things you need to do in order of importance. If you get the big things done first, you may be surprised at how much time you will have left over to take care of the little things. But, remember, it doesn’t work the other way around!
What you can do. Get a pocket planner, and prioritize what you need to do. On the other hand, perhaps one of the following alternatives below would work for you.
□ Cell-phone calendar
□ Small notepad
□ Computer calendar
□ Desk calendar
Challenge #2 Sticking to a Schedule
What might stop you. After school you just want to relax and watch TV for a few minutes. Or you planned to study, but you get a text message inviting you to a movie. The movie won’t wait, but you can put off studying until tonight. ‘Besides,’ you tell yourself, ‘I seem to do better under pressure.’
Why do it anyway. You may obtain a better grade if you study when your mind is more alert. Plus, don’t you already have enough pressure to deal with? Why add to it by cramming for a test late at night? What will the next morning be like? You may oversleep, feel more stress, have to rush out the door, and possibly be late for school.—Proverbs 6:10, 11.
What your peers say. “I love watching TV, playing the guitar, and being with friends. These things aren’t wrong; but sometimes they push the more important things back, and I end up rushing.”—Julian.
What will help you. Don’t just schedule things you have to do—schedule things you enjoy. “It’s easier to do what I have to, knowing I have enjoyable things planned later,” says Julian.
Another idea: Have something to aim for, and then set little goals along the way to make sure you’re still on track. Sixteen-year-old Joey, mentioned earlier, says: “I would like to be a full-time Bible teacher. That goal helps me stick to my schedule now in preparation for an even busier life later.”
What you can do. What are one or two realistic goals that you could achieve within the next six months?
What is a realistic goal you could achieve within the next two years, and what do you need to start doing now to reach that goal?
Challenge #3 Being Neat and Organized
What might stop you. You’re not sure how being neat and organized has anything to do with managing your time better. Besides, being messy seems so much easier. Cleaning your room can be done tomorrow—or not at all! You don’t mind the mess, so it’s really not a big deal. Or is it?
Why do it anyway. Having everything neat and orderly will save you time when you are looking for your things. This will also give you much-needed peace of mind.—1 Corinthians 14:40.
What your peers say. “Sometimes when I don’t have time to put my clothes away, things I need find a way of getting lost under all the mess!”—Mandy.
“I couldn’t find my wallet for a week. I got pretty stressed over that. I finally found it when I cleaned my room.”—Frank.
What will help you. Try to put things back in their place as soon as you can. Doing things regularly rather than waiting until clutter gets out of control will make cleaning quicker and finding things easier.
What you can do. Try making neatness a habit. Keep everything neater, and see if it makes life easier.
Start small—start today! Which suggestions from this article were most helpful to you?
I’ll try these tips for ․․․․․ week(s) and see if they help.
More articles from the “Young People Ask” series can be found at the Web site www.watchtower.org/ype
a Names in this article have been changed.
TO THINK ABOUT
◼ How many hours of sleep do you need to have to perform best?
◼ Who might you ask to help you with your schedule?
◼ If you already use a schedule, what adjustments might you need to make?
[Box/Picture on page 20, 21]
In a week’s time, youths between the ages of 8 and 18 spent their hours this way:
with their parents
watching TV, playing video games, instant messaging, and listening to music
WHERE DOES MY TIME GO?
Add up the hours you spend each week
watching TV: ․․․․․
playing video games: ․․․․․
using the computer: ․․․․․
listening to music: ․․․․․
Hours I can easily use for more important things: ․․․․․
[Picture on page 20]
If you put the small things first, you won’t have room for the more important things