The importance of time management for teens in online schooling

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In today’s digital world, escaping from the reality of responsibilities is almost too easy. For example, the endless scrolling on TikTok or Instagram. These distractions lead to procrastination, creating a never-ending to-do list that breeds stress and academic distress. The best method to combat this unfortunate series of events is through proper time management.

As your teen begins to navigate online schooling, time management will help them prioritize their responsibilities, reduce stress, and improve academic performance. It is also important to note these skills are essential for success in any environment.

The role of parents/guardians in encouraging efficient time management

Parenting 101 says you are your teen’s role model. This is entirely correct. You play a crucial role in the habits that your teen adopts. Whether it be biting your nails or deep cleaning every Wednesday, your teen will most likely demonstrate these traits throughout their lives.

Through proper guidance and demonstration, you will influence positive time management habits in your teen. ASU Prep Digital values academic support and provides programs for your students. Encouraging your teen to be independent, while simultaneously providing support, will empower them to manage their own time more efficiently.

Teenager working virtually

Main challenges teens struggle with in time management

An important thing to note about a teenager’s life—it’s beyond hectic. Your teen is beginning to discover who they are, what they want, and how they want to achieve their goals. Mind you, this is all on top of being involved in school, extracurriculars, and maintaining a social life.

So, how do teens manage both social media and screen time, when already on the computer for online classes? It’s a tough task. This balancing act of responsibilities creates an even larger stressor on your teen, especially in an online learning space. For online students, digital and outside distractions create a unique challenge in finding the balance between their online courses and their online personal lives. Let’s look at some other reasons why your teen might struggle with time management.

1. Low motivation

According to Education Next, teenagers lack motivation for a multitude of reasons. These include day-to-day pressure from high expectations, addiction to technology, having a “too much” schedule, and needing a sense of purpose.

To combat these stressors, you can help your teen curate a schedule to stay organized. This will allow them to block out time for a study session while also budgeting time for them to spend on themself.

You can even go the extra step and encourage your teen to organize the tasks by priority for maximum efficiency. By prioritizing tasks in order of importance or urgency, your teen can learn how to say no to non-essential activities that may interfere with schoolwork or other important responsibilities.

2. Lack of organization

Time management apps like Todoist, Remember the Milk, and RescueTime have proven beneficial when tracking and organizing tasks. These apps help users break down their larger tasks for the day into smaller, more manageable steps to success. This is especially important for online learners because their courses and other extracurriculars all live within the same browser.

Student struggling with learning virtually

3. Perfectionism and anxiety

Anxiety is the most common mental disorder in the United States. Johns Hopkins Medicine states that approximately 7-10% of people suffer from anxiety, which has since worsened since the COVID-19 pandemic.

In some cases, anxiety stems from the need for perfectionism. For many teens, this can lead to them spending too much time on one task, causing them to fall behind on other important responsibilities.

Encouraging your teen to prioritize tasks will aid them in building their confidence after finishing each task. You can also encourage them to partake in stress management through exercise or meditation to alleviate any remaining anxiety.

4. Sleep deprivation

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that teens need 8-10 hours of sleep per 24 hours. Teens live busy and hard-to-manage lives that don’t always allow them to get the recommended amount of sleep for their age.

When teens do not get the proper amount of sleep, they can have decreased focus, memory retention, and motivation. By prioritizing sleep and creating a consistent sleep schedule, your teen can improve their time-management skills.

Student learning virtually

How to support your teen with time management

Being online is inevitable, so how do you make your teen’s learning environment the most effective for both academic and personal growth?

A quality online education program for middle school and high school will help your teen establish clear goals and deadlines, so they can pursue their passions while preparing for the future. Be sure to look for flexible scheduling and personalized courses. An online education program that gives your teen a sense of control over their school life will help them create a healthy balance in their lives.

Follow these time management strategies to help support your teen in their online schooling journey.

1. Establish clear goals and deadlines

To effectively establish clear goals and deadlines, your teen could set specific tasks for study time. Listing out tasks that need to get done within certain time frames will allow your teen to better manage their tasks and responsibilities. This will also make them conscious of their time and cause them to want to do more with their set aside time.

If making a to-do list isn’t stimulating enough for your teen, you could help them think of their tasks as short-term goals. That way, their confidence will build when they finish each goal. Setting goals creates a positive connotation around the idea of carrying out tasks.

2. Prioritize activities: Academics, extracurriculars, and personal life

Another way to practice good time management is to create a hierarchy of tasks by priority. Creating a list of responsibilities based on importance supports effective time management. This also allows your teen to find their unique balance of academic, extracurricular, and personal activities.

By allowing your teen to identify and choose top priorities, you are helping them create an efficient time management mindset. These choices give your teen the ability to understand the importance of managing both time and tasks while also creating a healthy balance of life’s responsibilities.

3. Help your teen create a schedule

Although setting your teen up for success by encouraging them to be independent is helpful, being a support system is just as important. Collaborating with your teen to create a schedule involves your teen taking charge of their time management.

You can engage in creating visual schedule aids or helping them implement their schedule by holding them accountable. Assisting your teen with developing a well-structured schedule can help them create the confidence to manage their time between various activities.

4. Reward when your teen manages their time well

In addition to supporting your teen with their endeavors to effective time management, you can also reward them by providing positive reinforcement. By acknowledging your teen’s time management habits, you will motivate them to continue these consistent efforts. You can find moments with your teen to celebrate their success by taking them out for dinner or even on a smaller scale with simple words of affirmation.

5. Identify barriers of good time management

A key to good time management is recognizing the barriers that stand in the way of managing responsibilities and tasks. You and your teen can identify which obstacles need addressing to get the most done with their time.

These obstacles can include excess screen time, lack of prioritization of tasks, and needing more time for their personal lives. You can encourage an open style of communication with your teen to support the development of time-management.

Student learning virtually with parent

6. Apply the 80/20 rule

The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, states that 80 percent of results are derived from just 20 percent of activities. In other words, a small fraction of effort yields the majority of outcomes.

By applying this principle to your teenager’s routine, you can assist them in streamlining their tasks and focusing on the most impactful activities to maximize their effectiveness and productivity.

7. Focus on one thing at a time

Some may think that multitasking is most effective, but that is far from the truth. According to Dr. Meyer, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, multitasking is a myth, causing more mistakes and less productivity. By devoting your teen’s attention to one task at a time, you are helping promote diligence and attention to detail. This will teach your teen that fulfilling tasks to the best of their ability is possible and encourage them to engage in positive time management skills.

8. Plan in time for distractions

On top of scheduling tasks, your teen should also set aside time for distractions. Utilizing planners or other digital tools can help your teen keep track of assignments and deadlines. Your teen can use these tools to budget time for their distractions.

One common method of scheduling breaks is known as the Pomodoro Technique. It involves working for a specific amount of time such as 25 minutes, then taking a short five-minute break to do something enjoyable or relaxing. This technique can help your teen stay focused and motivated while also preventing burnout.

9. Identify the most productive time of day

Since your teen is already within the digital landscape with their coursework, you can also encourage them to use calendar apps and task lists. This will help them notice patterns in their time management and allow them to see when they are most productive.

On top of identifying when they are most productive, they can also recognize when they are participating in time-wasting activities. You or your teen’s teachers can offer reminders of deadlines and expectations through an open line of communication with your teen.

10. Encourage a good sleep schedule

Time management begins with a proper sleep schedule. To encourage a good sleep schedule for your teen, you can help them place a specific time to log off from digital devices. By unplugging, your teen can have time for self-care to unwind before bed. Just as doing all their tasks on their to-do lists, ensuring they get enough sleep is just as important.

Effective tools to support time management

When it comes to the time management habits of successful middle school students and teens, it’s an easier-said-than-done practice. Some of these tips may work for you and your teen and some may not. On the bright side, technology has made it possible for endless tools and resources to help you and your teen on this journey.

If you’re looking for some digital tools to help support your teen’s time management, here’s a few to try out:

  1. Todoist is a task management and organizing app with a simple interface and many ways to track responsibilities.
  2. Evernote is a note-taking app that lets you organize your thoughts through typed notes, audio notes, and attachments.
  3. Asana is a management software for collaboration and tracking of tasks that lets you keep track of multiple projects and workflows at a time.
  4. Focus Booster implements the Pomodoro Technique by setting timers for you and keeps track of all completed tasks.
  5. RescueTime is a time-tracking app that records your screen time and categorizes it by what you are doing.

Is your teen interested in starting online school?

Wondering how to switch to online school? It’s easier than many parents think. ASU Prep Digital is a great option to consider if you and your teen want to explore the flexibility and personalization of an online school program.

ASU Prep Digital is an accredited online school program serving students in grades K–12, recognized as Arizona’s #1 Online School by We believe all students can succeed. Our unique teaching model supports students from the safety of their homes with the latest learning technologies and several layers of personalized instruction and coaching. In addition, our program is a college prep option where online high school and university courses converge, preparing students for college acceptance and encouraging them to start earning credit toward college majors and careers.

We support districts in Arizona while serving students and schools around the world. To learn more about ASU Prep Digital, please visit our website.

Time management tips for teens FAQs

What are the 5 keys to time management?

Effective time management is crucial for achieving success in any aspect of life. Here are 5 key principles to help your teen make the most out of their time:

  1. Establishing clear goals and deadlines
  2. Prioritizing responsibilities and activities
  3. Creating a schedule
  4. Following a to-do list
  5. Getting enough sleep

How do online middle schoolers and online high school students manage their time?

Technology has made time management tools accessible and allows students to track and schedule their time in a multitude of ways. For example, there are various online calendars and planners that can be synced across multiple devices, making it easy for students to stay organized and on track. Additionally, many online schools provide tools such as progress trackers and reminder systems to help students manage their assignments and deadlines effectively.

What are some good time management skills for online students?

As an online student, it is essential to have strong time management skills to stay on top of coursework and make the most out of your educational experience. Here are some practical tips and strategies that can help online students develop effective time management:

  • Setting a screen time limit on devices for proper time management.
  • Utilizing online tools to set reminders and align them with personal schedules.
  • Prioritizing tasks based on importance and due dates to avoid procrastination.
  • Scheduling short breaks throughout the day to maintain productivity and prevent burnout.

Why is time management important for teens?

Time management is a crucial skill for teenagers, especially in today’s fast-paced and technology-driven world. With the increase in school work, extracurricular activities, and social media distractions, it can be challenging to balance everything effectively. However, mastering time management skills as a teen can have long-lasting benefits that go beyond academic performance such as prioritizing, avoiding procrastination, staying focused, and being responsible for a schedule and deadlines.