5 Productivity Tips for Students
Time management can be tough at any age. How do we get our kids to start establishing good productivity habits? Keep reading for practical advice from a teacher on how to motivate your kids to manage their time and get more done!
As a high school teacher, one of the biggest productivity problems I see students face is poor time management. And as a parent, I know it is tough feeling like you don’t have the tools to help your kids reach their full potential. These tips are the best I found for encouraging intrinsic motivation, in other words, making kids want to improve without the promise of rewards or the threat of punishment.
With anything, it takes consistent practice over time, usually 30 days, to make good habits stick! Continue reading below for the 5 productivity tips that have helped my students, and my children, the most.
1. Schedule tasks
Planners are an invaluable tool for keeping students on task. Whether using a paper, online, or on their phone calendar tracking system, students should get into the habit of writing down all of their expected tasks, including extra-curricular activities. It helps to have them mark “NH or No Homework” for classes so they won’t question whether or not they had homework and just forgot to write it down. Remind your kids to get into the practice of writing down study time as well. Scheduling tasks will also help them when packing their bookbags to make sure homework is not left on the counter. They simply glance at the planner before leaving for school to make sure the assignments/supplies are packed before leaving for 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. Make 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 on the calendar of Wednesday or Thursday, if it was a week-long assignment. So many times, “things that have come up” or games that have run late interfere with students’ ability to turn in assignments in a timely manner. In addition to teaching good habits like responsibility, students won’t have to choose between completing their schoolwork and attending an impromptu family event or playing sports.
3. Map out Tasks
Throughout their time in high school, students will be assigned projects, research papers, etc. that have an extended deadline, from a week to the entire marking period! Often, students lacking good time management skills will find themselves in a predicament where 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.) and assigning each task a due date. Treat each due date as an individual assignment, and stick to it, as if the teacher is grading you 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.
Be a “productivity superstar”– Highlight tasks as they are accomplished and set the due date for the final project earlier than the actual “teacher-required” due date: see Strategy 1 and 2 above.
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, such as material needed for end-of-course exams. A more effective strategy involves investing a few minutes each night per subject reviewing your notes using the procedure below.
Most of us can agree that notes are not helpful unless you study them. Students will greatly increase their retention rate if they spend between 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 testing style, try to determine the type of questions he/she asks. Do dates, vocabulary, processes, etc. show up frequently on tests? These areas should be marked based on what each teacher requires.
Day 3- Create questions. Creating questions you can use to study is an important skill, especially if you can write questions for chunks of information. I recommend that students try to create a summary statement for each heading/subheading of information and convert it to 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 answer 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 incorporate fun into your schedule.
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.