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Time Management Strategies for Students

Time Management Strategies for Students

Students live busy lives. They spend most of their weekdays at school, then their remaining hours participating in clubs or completing homework — all while growing up. We've all been there, and we know how overwhelming things can feel. As a parent or teacher, you can set your student up for success by teaching them time management skills.

In this post, we'll talk about the different ways you can encourage and help your student manage their time. Maybe you'll come away with some ideas you can apply to your life, too!

Importance of Time Management for Students

You're likely familiar with the feeling of burnout — every little task seems like moving a mountain, and you barely have enough energy to manage your daily routine. Time management is essential to prevent these feelings of burnout.

Burnout is a common occurrence in young adults in college and adults in the workforce. According to health professionals, burnout causes include:


  • Lack of control
  • Unclear expectations
  • Lack of social support
  • Poor work-life balance

Burnout isn't only an adult phenomenon. Children can experience it too, caused by:


  • Loaded schedules
  • Procrastination
  • Situation avoidance
  • Social stress
  • Poor school-life balance

Students need to learn time management skills to help prevent school fatigue now and work exhaustion later in life. Time management teaches students how to prioritize their time and delegate tasks to better control their energy. It prevents students from feeling like machines and allows them to experience the rejuvenating joys of their youth.


Throughout this post, we'll cover techniques that will help your student take control of their to-dos, set clear expectations on what they need to do and carve out recovery time to socialize with friends and participate in clubs or other activities.


Time Management Tips for Students

Here are some time management tips students can use at school and home.

 Time Management for Elementary Students

Most elementary-aged students don't have the cognitive skills to manage intensive schedules, so they'll require more teacher and parent guidance. Here are some ways parents and teachers can encourage time management skill growth in elementary schoolers.


  • The Desk Fairy: You surely remember the excitement of losing a tooth and getting a visit from the Tooth Fairy. Well, the Desk Fairy works similarly. Create an imaginary character who rewards children when their desks are clean and orderly. After school or during lunch, check each student's desk and give them treats or prizes for staying tidy and organized. Having a neatly arranged desk instills good organizational skills, which will help students manage their day-to-day routines later in life.
  • Use a visual timer: At school, putting a timer in front of the classroom helps students visually track how much time they have left on an assignment. Similarly, keep a timer at home in your student's work area to help them better gauge how long it takes them to complete tasks, a necessary skill for scheduling.
  • Set achievable rewards: Younger students tend to require incentives to complete their assignments. Establish a reward system for students to encourage them to achieve their goals. If any students fall short, work with them to develop a game plan to achieve their future objectives.

Also, it's smart to start a planner with your children during elementary school. As students are learning time management soft skills, help them fill out their planners. Adding this habit to their daily routine also makes it more likely that they'll keep a to-do list in the future. We'll learn more about this in the following sections.


The sooner you encourage these time management skills, the easier it will be for them to adopt as they get older.

Time Management for Middle School Students

As students enter middle school, schoolwork starts becoming a bit more complicated and time-consuming. Middle schoolers also have the soft skills to manage their time more independently than in their elementary school days. Develop middle school students' time management skills even further by encouraging them to do the following.


  • Establish a starting point: Suggest that your students start a to-do section in their planner, giving them a space to write down their daily, weekly or monthly responsibilities. That way, they have a detailed understanding of everything they need to get done. Then, work with your student to figure out a starting point — for example, finishing their homework or washing the dishes before attending sports practice.
  • Develop a schedule: Having all to-dos written down in one central location makes it easier to develop a routine. From their starting point, help them create a daily plan that allows them to complete all their responsibilities. It helps to have a consistent daily schedule, too, like waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day.
  • Practice maintaining a planner: Make keeping track of daily to-dos easier by using a planner. At this age, middle schoolers can begin using their planners independently. However, it's helpful to check in with your student periodically to ensure they're practicing the right skills.

Despite their schedules becoming more hectic, middle schoolers who practice these time management techniques should feel more confident and be more successful in their day-to-day lives. 


Time Management for High School Students

High school students have even more responsibilities than they did in their middle school days. Now, students are getting more active in clubs and can accumulate hours of homework. They are likely gaining more responsibilities at home or starting part-time jobs, preparing them for adulthood. High schoolers can quickly feel burned out without the right time management skills.

Here are some time management skills that can help high schoolers succeed.


  • Eliminate distractions: With independence comes self-control, especially surrounded by distractions. There aren't as many distractions to work around in a school setting. At home, cellphones and televisions are prime culprits of distraction. Ensure students have a quiet work area in the house where they are free from interruptions. Make rules to prevent family members from disturbing students while they're in their work area.
  • Try the Pomodoro Technique: Sitting down and working for hours on end isn't a reliable working method, and is a recipe for burnout. Instead, encourage students to try the Pomodoro Technique, which divides working times into digestible frames — four sets of active 25-minute working times, separated by four five-minute breaks. After every session, take a 30-minute break to recharge for the next session. Practicing this technique is another excellent reason to invest in the visual timer mentioned earlier.

High school students should still rely on their planners to help them manage their increasingly busy schedules.

4 Time Management Tips for All Students

Overall, there are four reliable time management tips for students of all ages.


  1. Use a Success by Design planner: To get work done and turned in on time, children need to have a place to write down their assignments, due dates, essential information and events. We have planners designed specifically for elementary, middle school and high school students.
  2. Create a study area to promote focus: Find a secluded place to sit and study without the distraction of other people or electronics. Some people need silence, while others focus better when they have music or white noise in the background. Find what works best for your child and provide that environment.
  3. Delegate time for homework, clubs and other activities: Most times, students only write down due dates and assignments in their planners, leaving a lot of time unaccounted for. However, doing so gives a misleading sense of how much time is available for play, schoolwork and other responsibilities. Help your child break down projects into chunks that can fit into 30- to 90-minute blocks of time, and schedule these in the calendar. It is also helpful to study at the same time each day, so it becomes a habit.
  4. Exercise for a clear head: Believe it or not, exercise works in the same way sleep does. Make sure your child has time to take a break to clear their head. Exercise will pump them up and lift their energy level.

Time management at school plays a significant role in academic successand it is our goal at Success by Design to help. We know organizational skills make many students better learners. We design planners that aren't only places to write assignments, but are also a foundational tool for student development.


Manage Students' Time Using Planners From Success by Design

Are you looking for a student planner? At Success by Design, we have a wide range of planners for your elementary, middle and high school students. Our goal is to provide students with a life-changing planner, a foundation for student development.

Browse our product page, organized by grade level, to view our planners. And, if you have any questions, contact us online!

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