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  • rebeccachidley

Time management - Reducing the overwhelm and taking action

Working with lots of teenagers and adolescents means that I am frequently talking about the importance of time management and organisation. The challenge for many individuals is that they are simply too overwhelmed to be able to move forward.

On field / off field setbacks

When we face challenges and set backs in our sport we assume the root cause of that is something from the sport environment. However, it’s really important that we zoom out and explore challenges we may be facing away from sport and how that may help us within our sport. For example if we have haven a piece of homework we should have finished before training (but haven’t) it is possible that will linger in the back of our minds and distract us from the task at hand.

Why do we struggle with time management?

  • Low Motivation- Finding the motivation to complete a task can feel impossible especially if you aren’t interested in the activity or topic. This is why we now here a lot of people talking about the importance of discipline and routine as we know that motivation can be a little unreliable at times.

  • Not Enough Time - If we feel like we have too little time to complete a task, we may be tempted to abandon it. Many individuals are juggling numerous activities, whether that is school, sport and a part time job or numerous other activities. Are we using our time effectively or procrastinating?

  • Perfectionism - Teachers and coaches are often encouraging us to focus on attention to detail. However, teens who obsess over these details may develop perfectionism and experience task paralysis or an inability to even make a start on a task. Ask yourself, is there anything else I can do to improve this task? Am I focusing too much on details that don’t matter?

  • Not Enough Rest - Distractions are everywhere. We might stay up too late because we have watched YouTube videos or scrolled on social media. So we may feel less productive because of a lack of rest.

How can you become more effective at time management?

Most of us will adhere to structured schedules—attend school, attend an after-school activity or two, and do homework or chores. However, contrary to belief this rigid schedule doesn’t make managing time easier. In fact it can teach us that others will plan a rigid schedule for us so we don't have to!

Here are 6 key areas to focus on...

  • Set Clear Goals and Priorities - What are your personal goals?

  • Creating a Structured Schedule - What is a workable routine for you?

  • Knowing Priorities - What is the most important thing for you right now?

  • Stay Focused - Do you need to work in longer or shorter intervals?

  • Use Apps - What apps could help you focus?

  • Categorize Tasks - Break down tasks into the following categories:

    • Must do: the most urgent tasks

    • Would like to do: tasks with looser deadlines

    • Want to do: recreational activities to enjoy

And for those of us supporting this age group...

  • Avoid Nagging - it can be tempting to nag someone to complete chores or assignments they haven’t started. However, studies show that offering repeat reminders can diminish their sense of responsibility and demotivate them.

  • Model Good Time Management Skills - We set the tone for teenagers. Teens will likely follow suit if you’re constantly running late or missing deadlines. Practice managing your time wisely and set a good example.

The final thought...

When teenagers miscalculate how long a project will take or simply can’t find the motivation to move an essay along, they aren’t alone! Many teens would rather spend time with friends or enjoy their hobbies. But, balance is key.



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