The S/L System: 5 Steps to Better Student Time Management

A very common problem that students (and their parents) express is that they feel overwhelmed at times by the sheer amount of work that they have to accomplish. This feeling is exacerbated by the complexity and difficulty of the work, and also by the time constraints that students have. It’s not uncommon for students, even in elementary school to be up early, at school until 3pm and then committed to activities in the afternoon and evening – sports, dance, gymnastics, music lesson, tutoring, etc. It’s easy to understand why school work can be considered troublesome.

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Most students (and business people for that matter) face multiple challenges simultaneously. A student sitting down to do homework, may have an assignment for each class as well as some shorter and longer term projects to work on… this begs the questions:

How do you decide what to do first? How do you manage your time?

Student time management and prioritization are very important skills and also very important disciplines. That isn’t to say that they are easy… but very important. There is a saying that if you want something done, you should give it to a busy person… why? Because they tend to be able to manage their time better in order to get all the things done that they have to do each day. They understand the importance of doing the most important task first and putting less productive things off until later. What to do first is most often the most important and highest priority task or assignment. This is of course a relative thing for each person, but it is something that needs to be quickly evaluated and sorted.

Here is a basic protocol to achieve better student time management that we at mAke the grAde do with our students daily. I call it the S / L (for Short term, Long Term) System. This is best done at the beginning of your homework time and then used as a guide for how you are going to use your time. Always remember…. PLAN YOUR WORK and WORK YOUR PLAN.

Ok, ready to learn this system?

1. Make a list of all the ongoing assignments- You can use a notebook or get fancy and use a computer but have a CONSISTENT system. Do this the same way each day.

2. Assign S (short) or L (long) term time frames to each task- Typically S are due the next day and L beyond one day like an upcoming test

3. Rank the tasks in the order of importance – All of the S then all of the L. This is important as it will establish the priority that you need to accomplish the assignments with.

4. Estimate the time needed to do each task- This does not have to be exact, and the more you do this exercise the closer you will get to exact times.

5. Use the chart to set up your homework or work time.

Now get to work! Use your S/L chart as a guide and do the work in order. This system works… when you use it!!

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