Study Habits for Teens – Guest Post

The following guest post offers tips for parents looking to help their teens learn study and time management skills;

It’s About Time -Changing Behavior to Improve Student Study Habits

timemanagmentforteensStudents live in a world of endless opportunities to learn, socialize, volunteer, work, and travel among a long list of things. Good study skills and time management are key to learning how to balance priorities and opportunities in your life as a student.

With all these options and new found freedom, a student might become dissatisfied with how they are managing their time. Perhaps they have developed a bad habit of procrastinating or maybe they have too many activities on the go. Changing behaviors is a difficult task but following the recommendations below will help any student improve their time management skills.

A student can start by doing a self assessment. Do I skip class? Do I set goals for myself? Am I easily distracted from school work? Own up to your short comings and bad habits. Set goals you would like to achieve this semester, this year and in life. This will help you determine what is most important to you and help set your priorities.

Starting to plan. Plan each day. You can do this the night before or first thing in the morning. Set out what you would like to accomplish today and prioritize the items on your To Do list. The best tool is a day planner. Keeping all your appointments and assignments in one place will prevent you from forgetting anything. If you are behind in your school work schedule in time to catch up. Flag start dates for major assignments so they won’t be left until the last minute. Be sure you allow for relaxation time as well as social and extra-curricular activities in your schedule. Allow for flexibility in your schedule, this will reduce stress in case something comes up (parents visiting, illness, etc..).

Scheduling Time. Going to class should be a top priority. Even if you haven’t done the assigned readings, missing class will put you further behind and waste time. Getting notes from someone else is never as efficient as writing your own and someone else may have missed an important point. Attending class will make studying easier later. Block off small amounts of time for studying. You can devote your focus to the task for a shorter period of time and will remember more of what you read. Subdivide larger tasks into smaller ones. This is helpful when scheduling things in your day planner and will make that big project easier to tackle. If you come up against a task that is unpleasant or difficult commit to trying it for five minutes. You may end up getting into it and spending more time, but if not that’s fine. Try to come back to it again later for another five minutes.

Finding a Study Space. The first task is to determine your best study time. Some people are most alert and do their best work after midnight; others work best in the morning when they are still fresh. Know your study preference, some people like a bit a noise or music; others are distracted by the presence of others. It is your responsibility to guard against distractions. If you know your roommate is having friends over or that people often stop by your room to chat, go to the library. If you are tempted by instant messaging and email get away from your computer.

Reviewing your Efforts. At the end of each week, evaluate how you did. How many things remain undone on your schedule? Did your schedule work well for you? What obstacles and distractions did you encounter? Each week set out a reward for completing your most important tasks. Maybe it’s a night out, an ice cream cone, or buying a new shirt. Whatever is in your budget and will motivate you the best.

Isn’t it time you started practicing some of these time management techniques? Change your behaviors and you will change your results. These results not only include your grades, but your free time as well.

Alana Green, Professional Organizer with Organize Anything. For more time management tips visit www.organizeanything.com

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