Activities are the things we do that fill our time. This includes everything from getting ready for the day, going to school or work, exercising, to relaxing and even sleeping. Being able to manage activities successfully is crucial to successful management of your students’ time. You’ll need to teach your students to take a closer look at their activities to help them manage their time.
Here are five important concepts of activities to teach your students:
- Activities should serve your goals
- Assign time limits to activities
- Know when to say no to an activity or request
- Take breaks
Activities should serve your goals
Teach your students that once they’ve set goals, they need to make plans to reach them. Most goals are more achievable if you break them down into smaller tasks or activities. As you complete these smaller tasks, you get closer and closer to reaching your goal. For example, if you want to learn to play guitar, your first task or activity might be to get a guitar. Your next might be to sign up for lessons, and so on.
Remember, we defined time management as effectively using the minutes, hours and days available in order to accomplish goals in the most effective way. You students will run into trouble with time management if they are spending a lot of time on activities that do not help them reach their goals.
Assign time limits to activities
In order for your students to manage their time, they’ll need to know the tasks they need to accomplish as well as when those tasks must be completed and how long they will take. For example, if a student has a big test coming up, he or she may estimate that it will take two hours to study. If the studying actually takes four hours, the student has not accurately estimated or allotted the correct amount of time to complete the task. Teach your students they must accurately estimate time in order to not be thrown off schedule. Have them practice estimating the amount of time different tasks will take as well as assigning time limits to activities.
Delegating is giving responsibility to another person to complete a task or activity. Why would anyone want to do this? There are a number of reasons for this. Maybe there is just too much to do in the amount of time before a deadline. Or your students have other things that need to be done at the same time. These are all good reasons to delegate, or ask someone else to do those activities or tasks. Delegating can make more time available for your students to focus on the important things.
Teach your students that the best use of time often means asking for help. Ask them to practice delegating some tasks to others who can help them.
Know when to say no to an activity or request
Sometimes it is hard to say no. For your students to accomplish their goals, it is important to know what tasks to focus on and what tasks to say no to if there is not enough time for them. Taking on too much can have other negative effects. Taking on too much at a time may mean not do anything the way you would like. It can also cause you a lot of stress. It could end up leading to failure to meet your deadline or not doing a good job because you are too busy with other tasks. It could actually end up being worse to take on a commitment you can’t meet than to say no in the first place.
Studies show that taking short breaks can help you clear your mind and help you to get more done. Instead of going, going, going, periodically take a break to clear your mind, refresh and refocus. The key to taking breaks is to keep them short. Before you take a break, decide how long the break will be and then stick to that timeframe. These breaks can give you something to look forward to and motivate you to accomplish your tasks so you can take your break.
Some ideas for a quick break include taking a short walk, doing a couple minutes of stretching, or meditating. Taking a little bit of downtime helps manage your energy and concentration, which helps you get more done in the end.
Thanks for tuning into our series on teaching planning and time management to your students. If you want to learn more about developing or teaching soft skills, sign up for a free soft skills webinar here.