Exams, assignments, music lessons, sporting commitments, and drama rehearsals. These are just some of the priorities your son has to manage on a daily basis, not to mention eating a balanced diet, enjoying time out with friends, quality time with family and sleep.
Managing priorities is all about time management; recognising your workload, acknowledging deadlines and knowing if/when you have spare time for additional commitments.
Time management can be a very difficult concept for children and adolescents. Knowing what to do first, second and third can be hard to determine, especially friend and family commitments also need consideration.
Learning to plan can help your son tackle his priorities in the most efficient way. Below we offer our top tips to help your son manage priorities.
Research shows that there are many psychological benefits to writing a list of top priority tasks or events. Not only does it make the job of remembering easier, it also declutters your mind and allows you focus. Here are some useful suggestion for planning effectively:
Whether it is an online calendar, his School record book, a diary or wall calendar, encourage your son to use a calendar to document all important events, commitments, assessments, assignment deadlines, co-curricular activities, holidays and birthdays. Make it his one-stop-shop for managing his life.
- Weekly schedules
Sunday evening is a great time to prepare for the week ahead. Remind your son to check his calendar and prepare his weekly schedule. Include time for school, sporting or co-curricular commitments, study, work, exercise, ‘play,’ relaxation, meals and sleep. If he is aware of his weekly activities at the beginning of each week, he can prepare and use his time more effectively.
- Make lists
Begin the day with a ‘to do’ list. Identify which items must be completed that day, which items it would be nice to have completed in the day and what is coming up in future. Ensure he has the most important/urgent items at the top.
2. Find productive time
Help your son find his most productive time - the time in which he is best able to produce, create or generate his best work. Whether it is early in the morning, in the afternoon or evening, encourage him to think about the times when he works at his optimum and try to fit school work and study in those times.
3. Avoid distractions
Encourage your son to focus solely on the task at hand, whether it is practising music, training, completing an assignment or studying a particular subject. To avoid distraction at that time, turn off phones, steer clear of the television and remind those in the area to ‘Please Do Not Disturb.’ Have everything that will be required on hand and within reach to avoid procrastination.
4. Do not be afraid to say ‘no’
Some people have the tendency to overcommit themselves; however, doing so causes undue stress. Remind your son that it is okay to say ‘no’ to certain requests. If he would like to spend time practising the piano, saying no to a movie is okay! If he would like to stay at the library from an additional 20 minutes, saying no to kicking the footy is okay!
5. Understand limits
If your son is not keeping up with his set tasks, he may have over-extended himself. Taking on too much work, activities or social commitments will put him under pressure. Encourage your son to be realistic about his time and not take on too many non-essential commitments.
6. Ask for help
Remind your son that if he is feeling overwhelmed or unsure about how to manage his priorities, he can always ask for help. Knowing he has support from his family, friends, teachers and school will go a long way.
Trinity Grammar School is fuelled by a pastorally aware culture with exceptionally high levels of individual student attention – we pride ourselves on knowing, understanding and nurturing every student. For over a hundred years we have educated boys in mind, body and spirit to help them realise their potential, passions and purpose in life.
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