Time management is one of those skills that most people have to learn as they go along in life. Through trial and error, you develop a sense of how much time you need to complete a certain task, whether it’s finishing a paper for school or your morning routine.
For young entrepreneurs, time management is an especially critical life skill. You must master your schedule to become as accomplished as you deserve to be. Proper time management skills will help you take better care of yourself.
No matter how busy you are, there are ways to manage your time *better*. Doing so will free up minutes or even hours of your day. This, in turn, will allow you more self-care which will make you feel better and perform better. Remember: self-care is not selfish. Young entrepreneurs, in particular, must learn how to find the time to relax, recharge, and reset.
- WAKE UP EARLIER
We know: high schoolers are already up at the crack of dawn. Many high schools start the day early, which means every minute of sleep is precious. However, waking up even 10 minutes earlier can produce a huge change in your daily routine. Those 10 minutes could be time spent meditating, moving around, or having a healthier breakfast. Maybe you’ll arrive at school earlier and get a better parking spot. Before you know it, waking up that little bit earlier will become a habit that isn’t so painful anymore.
- PREPARE MEALS THE NIGHT BEFORE
A healthy breakfast can boost your creativity, productivity, and energy for the school day ahead. But who has time to cook a filling, nutritious meal in the mornings? Instead of grabbing a protein bar or sugary bowl of cereal in the mornings, try one of these 40+ make-ahead meals. You can even make a big batch on the weekends and freeze individual portions. Take one portion out at night to thaw in the fridge, then heat up in the microwave. Easy peasy!
By the way: this works for lunch, too. Avoid long lines at the cafeteria or food truck by bringing your own lunch. Doing so will help you enjoy more of your lunch period so you can tackle the rest of your school day.
- MAKE A TO-DO LIST (AND STICK TO IT)
Choose one of these apps to make a to-do list each day. Then stick to it. At the top of your list should be things with urgent deadlines. Lower on the list should be things you can set aside for now. Just don’t forget to add an enjoyable task for yourself. For example, “Play with dog for 5 minutes,” or “Spend 15 minutes Googling Spring Break ideas.” This way your free time and self-care become a natural part of your day.
- MAKE A SCHEDULE
If a to-do list isn’t structured enough for you, make a schedule. There are free ones, like Google Calendar, or other apps you can download depending on your needs and budget. Using a calendar app forces you to not only prioritize urgent projects, but to schedule every minute (or half-hour, or hour) of your day. This way you know exactly what to do when. The first 30 minutes after school might be spent doing yoga or taking a walk. Whatever it is you need to do for yourself, you’re more likely to stick to it if it’s a normal part of your daily schedule.
- DEVELOP A ROUTINE
Nothing kills free time like a lack of routine. When your days are spent hopping from one emergency to another or wondering what to do next, that free time can easily slip away. Morning, immediately after school, and before bed are all ideal times to have routines. Knowing what to do and when will not only free up whatever other hours of the day you have but will keep you focused and on track. This also frees up brain space for when you feel overwhelmed or stressed out.
- WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER
Yes, yes, it’s a cliché. But it’s a cliché for a good reason. Spinning your wheels is a time suck. Time which can be much better spent doing pretty much anything else. Those of you who find yourselves stuck doing repetitive tasks might think about ways to simplify or automate them. Do you find yourself walking back and forth between the same two places a lot, either at school or home? Can you be more efficient in one spot before you move on?
- LEARN THE POWER OF “NO”
While we here at the Kantner Foundation love young entrepreneurs for their energy and can-do attitudes, we also recognize how easy it is to overwork yourselves. You don’t need to volunteer for all the things. You don’t need to be part of every group activity. Your friends don’t need you to do all the planning. Start saying “no” once in a while and watch how much time you free up for yourself.
- HONOR THE FREE TIME YOU DO HAVE
Unfortunately, we live in a culture that tells us we’re only useful if we’re being productive. But how can you be productive if you’re burnt out, always busy, always *doing*?
When you do find yourself with some time on your hands, take advantage of it. Stretch out on your bed and look at cat videos. Stare at the walls and let your brain decompress. Read a book you loved as a kid. Whatever it is, try to turn off the voice in your head that pushes you to always go, go, go. Enjoy the peace and quiet.
Everyone deserves to have free time. You work so hard and do so much. You’ve definitely earned it! At Kantner Foundation we already know you are a SuperTeen. Take some time off and ENJOY your downtime so you can continue being a top young entrepreneur.
The Kantner Foundation awards college scholarships to young entrepreneurs in Florida. Click here to learn more and apply.