The Top 5 Productivity Tips for Students
Time management can be tough at any age. But, how do we get our kids to start establishing good productivity habits? The good news is productivity is a habit that can be cultivated in in our children.
Keep reading for the top 5 productivity tips for students. This is practical advice from a teacher (and a parent) on how to motivate your kids to manage their time and get more done!
In my classes, one of the biggest productivity obstacles I see students face is poor time management. And as a parent, I struggle knowing what tools will most effectively help my kids to reach their full potential. When I taught Advancement Via Individual Determination, I found the top tools for encouraging intrinsic motivation. In other words, these tools will make kids want to improve without promises or threats.
With anything, it takes consistent practice over time to establish new habits. Usually 30 days is all that’s needed to make good habits stick! Below, you will find my top 5 productivity tips.
1. Schedule tasks
Planners are an invaluable tool for keeping students on task. Using whatever calendar tracking system suits them, students must write down all of their expected tasks, including extra-curricular activities. It helps to have them mark “NH or No Homework” so they won’t wonder if they just forgot to write it down. Remind your kids to allot study time as well. Scheduling tasks will also help them when packing their backpacks. They mentally (or manually) checkoff their assignments/ supplies as they are repacked before school.
Be a “productivity superstar”- Have students check off or highlight (my favorite!!!) assignments in their planners as they are completed so they can quickly “at a glance” see what needs to carry over to the next day. This strategy of highlighting scheduled tasks as they are completed is not only a productivity boost, but also a confidence boost as students can visually track what they’ve accomplished.
2. Set Deadlines
This strategy partners with the one above. Have students set deadlines “prior to” the actually due dates. For example, a paper due by Friday could have a completion date of Wednesday or Thursday.
So many times, things that “come up” or games that run late interfere with students’ ability to turn in assignments in a timely manner. If they put a cushion in the schedule, emergencies won’t wreck their GPAs. In addition to teaching good habits like responsibility, students won’t have to choose between schoolwork and an impromptu family event (or playing sports).
3. Map out Tasks
In high school, students will be assigned projects, research papers, etc. that have an extended deadline, lasting a week to the entire marking period! Often, students lacking good time management skills will find themselves in a common predicament. The deadline is fast approaching and no work has been done.
One of my favorite productivity strategies is to break the project into a list of tasks (including buying/gathering supplies, ordering books, conducting research, etc.); next, each task is assigned a due date. Treat each daily task on your list as an individual assignment. Make sure to stick to it, as if you are being graded on these sections, rather than the project as a whole.
*If it is a group project, assign each member a task and agree on the due dates. Hold each other accountable.
Be a “productivity superstar!”
Highlight tasks as they are accomplished once you have set your due dates.
4. Make Time to Review
Cramming for a test, while a successful short-term strategy for some, is not an appropriate strategy for retaining long-term information. A more effective strategy involves investing a few minutes each night per subject reviewing your notes using the procedure below.
Remember, notes that aren’t studied won’t help you! However, you will greatly increase your retention rate if you just spend 5–10 minutes per night reviewing each subject area. This procedure is an adaptation of the Cornell Note taking process.
My favorite (most effective) strategy for reviewing notes:
Day 1- Look at your notes and highlight key terms. Color-coding works well (e.g. vocabulary words in one color, important names in another).
Day 2- Mark possible test questions. As you become familiar with your teacher’s style, try to predict the type of questions he/she will ask. For example, do dates, vocabulary words, processes, etc. show up frequently on tests? These areas should be marked based on what each teacher requires.
Day 3- Create questions. Creating study questions an important skill, especially if you can write questions for chunks of information (higher level questions). I recommend that students try to create a summary statement for each heading/subheading of information and convert it into a question. This method of questioning elicits “big idea” answers where students are engaged in making connections rather than just studying.
Day 4- Write a summary. Writing a succinct summary that incorporates answers for the questions you’ve created shows that you can explain the main idea of your notes. The summary should not be a re-creation of your notes, but rather a one or two sentence response explaining the main idea of each chunk of information on each page of notes.
Day 5- Quiz yourself. Using the questions you’ve created, either quiz yourself or have a friend or family member quiz you. Your answers should include any key information you’ve noted on the other days for each chunk of information. Make sure you ask for feedback about any impartial or unclear answers. Did you forget to mention highlighted information, for example?
5. Incorporate Fun into Your Schedule
Remember, balance is the key to developing a long-term productivity plan. Make sure to log fun into your schedule.
Let’s continue the conversation. Tell me what you think about these strategies. What are your favorite productivity tips?
Don’t forget to share if you found this content helpful!
Balance is the key to developing a long-term productivity plan!
Want to see the high school course schedule I have created for my girls who will be homeschooled during our trip around the world? Click here!