Overcoming Obstacles

Lesson 2: Managing Your Time



objectives

  • Students will identify time management strategies and barriers to effective time management.

  • Students will recognize that effective time management can help them accomplish their goals.

  • Students will demonstrate effective time management strategies by prioritizing tasks and creating schedules.

materials

  • One copy of the “Luis’s Story” activity sheet for each student (Part I)

  • One copy of the “Daily Planner” activity sheet for each student (Part III)

  • One copy of the “Weekly Planner” activity sheet for each student (Part III)

  • One copy of the “Term Planner” activity sheet for each student (Part III)

Starter (3 minutes)

Write the following quote on the board:

“Take care in your minutes, and the hours will take care of themselves.” —Lord Chesterfield

Elicit opinions from students about the meaning of this quote. Mention that most people “waste” small amounts of time (about five to 10 minutes of every waking hour) in a variety of ways, such as waiting in line, looking for misplaced objects, and so on. Explain that although this may not seem like much time, it can add up to many hours—almost a whole day each week.

Tell students that this lesson is about learning to take care of the minutes—in other words, effective time management.

Part I: Time Savers and Time Wasters (15 minutes)

Purpose: Students consider barriers to effective time management and develop an understanding of strategies that can help them manage their time more effectively.

1. Students read a story that illustrates poor time management and compare the story to their own experiences.

Divide students into groups of four. Give each student a copy of the “Luis’s Story” activity sheet. Explain that they will have 10 minutes to read the story silently to themselves and then discuss the questions that follow with their groups. Suggest that one student in each group keep track of time. Another group member should serve as a reporter and share the group’s responses with the class.

While students read, draw a two-column chart on the board. Label one column “Time Wasters” and the other “Time Savers.”

2. Groups share their responses to the questions.

After 10 minutes have passed, ask the reporters to summarize their groups’ answers to each question.

While discussing the first two questions, encourage students to relate the story to their own experiences, recalling how difficult and frustrating it can be when there doesn’t seem to be enough time to accomplish everything they want to do. Point out that feeling discouraged can lead to ineffective use of time.

Questions three and four ask students to list specific time wasters and time savers. List the groups’ ideas on the board in the appropriate columns. Time wasters might include distractions (such as TV), urges (such as snacking), not having materials in a convenient location, and excuses (such as being too tired). Time savers might include writing assignments in one place, prioritizing tasks, breaking down large tasks into manageable activities, and scheduling.

Part II: Taking Care of the Minutes (15 minutes)

Purpose: Students practice prioritizing tasks.

1. Students recognize that effective time management helps them achieve their goals.

When the list of time savers and time wasters is complete, ask students to identify Luis’s goal in the story. Ask students if they think Luis is on his way to achieving his goal. Lead students to identify the relationship between time management and goal achievement.

2. Students recognize that spending time wisely means deciding what is important.

Ask students what it means to spend money wisely. Lead students to understand that spending money wisely means not wasting it on items that are unimportant. Point out that how one person chooses to spend money may be very different from how someone else chooses to spend it. Encourage students to realize that individuals must decide on what is most important for themselves.

Ask students what was more important to Luis—passing his classes or watching TV. If students are unsure, rephrase the question by asking, “What might Luis have done if he had been given the choice to pass all of his classes or watch TV for an hour?” Point out that Luis’s actions don’t reflect what is important to him. Luis did not prioritize his tasks for the day. Effective time management requires prioritizing. Elicit definitions for “prioritize” from the class.

3. Students make to-do lists of their tasks for the day.

Tell students that in order to prioritize, they must consider all of their tasks. Instruct students to use a blank piece of paper to make a to-do list for that afternoon. Tell them to list the activities and tasks they must do after school. Remind them to include everything, including extracurricular activities, phone calls, household chores, and homework assignments.

4. Students prioritize their tasks for the day.

Instruct students to go through the list and prioritize their tasks. They should number each task according to how important the task is to them, with number one being the most important.

Part III: Daily Planning (15 minutes)

Purpose: Students use their prioritized to-do lists to create daily schedules.

1. Students understand the importance of schedules.

Tell students that writing down and prioritizing their tasks is only the first step to effective time management. It is important to create systems that will facilitate effective time management. Explain that people without effective systems often waste time looking for items such as assignments, keys, passwords, and so on.

Remind students that one of Luis’s difficulties was that he had written down his math assignment but couldn’t find it. He had no system for keeping his tasks organized.

Speculate with students how a calendar or planner might help organize such items. Ask, “Why do we use calendars and planners?” (Students might respond: to keep track of due dates, to keep all assignments in one place, to schedule time for responsibilities and activities, to plan ahead for projects or exams.)

2. Students write their to-do lists on the daily planner.

Distribute the “Daily Planner” activity sheet, “Weekly Planner” activity sheet, and “Term Planner” activity sheet to students. Explain that using planners is an important time-management strategy. Encourage students to describe other planning tools with which they are familiar.

Instruct students to write their to-do lists on the “Daily Planner” activity sheet. Point out the space for materials needed and encourage them to write down specific books or materials that they must remember to bring home. Instruct students to use the schedule space to write all scheduled activities. Allow them several minutes to complete the task.

Remind students that the tasks they have identified as most important should be completed first, even if the other tasks are more appealing.

3. Students observe the benefits of using both short- and long-term planners.

After students have written their assignments on their “Daily Planner” activity sheet, ask them to speculate what problems might occur if they do not follow up by also using the weekly or term planners. (Students might respond: it would be difficult to plan ahead, to see when long-term projects were due, and to allocate time properly.)

Ask students to consider what problems they might encounter if, on the other hand, they used only a weekly or term planner. (Students might respond: there is not enough room to write detailed information, they might forget about smaller daily tasks.)

Explain that most people use a combination of planners to manage their time. A daily planner should be reviewed every day, either at night or first thing in the morning. A weekly planner should be reviewed at the beginning of each week. Encourage students to suggest ways to set up routines for planner reviews.

4. Students commit to trying out a scheduling system for three weeks. 

Mention that one of the biggest difficulties people have with time management is that they try using a planner, yet they stop after only a week. Invite students who have had this experience to share reasons why they did this. (Students might respond: too time-consuming, too bulky to carry around, they didn’t like feeling so strictly scheduled.)

Share with students that they have many options about the type of planner to use and that the samples you provided are only suggestions. Encourage students to personalize their planners by choosing layouts that make sense to them and to find systems that complement their learning styles.

Brainstorm with students places where people can buy planners. Elicit ideas about what they could do if they wanted a planner but did not want to buy one.

Tell students that psychologists say it takes three weeks for something new to become a habit. For this reason, ask students to commit to using their planners for three weeks, at the end of which you will measure their success with the planners. Encourage students to write that date in their planners.

Conclusion (2 minutes)

Refer to the quote from the starter. Ask students how using a planner and prioritizing tasks allow them to “take care” in their minutes and save hours in the end. Elicit from students the following key points that were taught in this lesson:

  • Effective time management helps people to accomplish their goals.
  • Managing time effectively requires prioritizing.
  • Using planners is an important time-management strategy.

Student Assessment

  1. List as many time wasters as you can from your day.
  2. What time-saving techniques can you use to cut down on your time wasters?
  3. List four time-management strategies. Which of these strategies do you already practice?

Extensions for Lesson 2: Managing Your Time

Using Quotations

Quote

“One thing you can’t recycle is wasted time.” —Anonymous

Activity

Have small groups of students brainstorm ways in which they waste time during the day. Have them write these time wasters on large strips of paper. Post them on the bulletin board.

Addressing Multiple Learning Styles

Activity

As a class, discuss the history of timekeeping. Refer to https://www.nist.gov/pml/time-and-frequency-division/popular-links/walk-through-time.

After a short discussion, have students write about their own philosophy of time. How much time do they need to relax and think? What’s the most important part of their day? What would they like to accomplish?

Writing in Your Journal

Activity

Have students write about how they would spend an ideal day.

As a class, discuss strategies for “building more time” into the day for the activities that students enjoy.

Using Technology

Activity

Have students use the internet to investigate time-management software programs (e.g., Microsoft Outlook).

Have students write quick software reviews on index cards and share them in small groups. Tell each group to choose the best software and share it with the rest of the class.

Homework

Activity

Have students create a chart that divides their waking hours into 15-minute increments. Have them record their activities for one day.

Have students discuss the results in small groups. How are they spending most of their time? Is there anything they want to change?

Additional Resources

Activity

Have students read the “Out of Time” activity sheet.

Have students write a review of the article.

Activity Sheets

Customize This Activity Sheet

Using Google Slides, you can customize every Overcoming Obstacles activity sheet in the Elementary, Middle, and High School levels.

Click on the button below to open a link to the Google Slides version of this activity sheet. In order to begin editing the file, you will first need to save a copy of the slide to your Google account. You can do this by selecting “File” and then “Make a Copy.”

If you have any questions or need assistance with our Activity Sheet Customization feature, please contact us at [email protected].

Customize This Activity Sheet

Using Google Slides, you can customize every Overcoming Obstacles activity sheet in the Elementary, Middle, and High School levels.

Click on the button below to open a link to the Google Slides version of this activity sheet. In order to begin editing the file, you will first need to save a copy of the slide to your Google account. You can do this by selecting “File” and then “Make a Copy.”

If you have any questions or need assistance with our Activity Sheet Customization feature, please contact us at [email protected].

Customize This Activity Sheet

Using Google Slides, you can customize every Overcoming Obstacles activity sheet in the Elementary, Middle, and High School levels.

Click on the button below to open a link to the Google Slides version of this activity sheet. In order to begin editing the file, you will first need to save a copy of the slide to your Google account. You can do this by selecting “File” and then “Make a Copy.”

If you have any questions or need assistance with our Activity Sheet Customization feature, please contact us at [email protected].

Customize This Activity Sheet

Using Google Slides, you can customize every Overcoming Obstacles activity sheet in the Elementary, Middle, and High School levels.

Click on the button below to open a link to the Google Slides version of this activity sheet. In order to begin editing the file, you will first need to save a copy of the slide to your Google account. You can do this by selecting “File” and then “Make a Copy.”

If you have any questions or need assistance with our Activity Sheet Customization feature, please contact us at [email protected].

Customize This Activity Sheet

Using Google Slides, you can customize every Overcoming Obstacles activity sheet in the Elementary, Middle, and High School levels.

Click on the button below to open a link to the Google Slides version of this activity sheet. In order to begin editing the file, you will first need to save a copy of the slide to your Google account. You can do this by selecting “File” and then “Make a Copy.”

If you have any questions or need assistance with our Activity Sheet Customization feature, please contact us at [email protected].


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