By Ryan Rubery
Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week.
Time management is stressed since elementary school. Sayings similar to “Manage your time wisely” are beat into our heads constantly from parents, teachers, coaches, guidance counselors, and all other types of adults from a very young age. I constantly heard the benefits of managing time like, having more time to play and relax or having less stress, as well as the cons like not getting things done and freaking out over due dates. However for all the importance everyone places on “Time Management”, it feels like there is a surprising lack of value placed on teaching time management skills.
How often have you heard a professor or teacher say that they’re going to teach you time management, when what they really meant to say was “I’m going to not teach you the material so have fun trying to teach yourselves!” or my personal least favorite, “There will be copious amounts of homework so best seal yourself to wasting most of your free time on my class!”. Did a teacher ever say that their class would teach you time management and you felt good about it? Like “Oh heck yeah, I’m gonna learn a new skill!”. I personally haven’t and I don’t think I’m in the minority.
What’s worse is they usually follow up the promise to teach time management with something along this line: “You all should be grateful! No one ever taught me time management!”. And after a quick google search, many people agree that yes, time management was not taught in school. But why ignore the giant elephant in the room and be like the professor in the last paragraph? Why decide that heaping ridiculous amounts of homework on students, or purposefully not covering material that you test on is going to solve the problem? It’s time to stop the cycle of no one getting taught time management in school and perpetuating the problem and instead start helping kids figure out how to handle responsibilities and assignments. I’m not even suggesting making mandatory time management classes (although would they really hurt at this point?), but instead introducing time management workshops for students to go to every so often. Even doing something like the draft system in english classes would be helpful early on in education so that teachers can monitor students performance and help them figure out how to manage assignments if their falling behind without just punishing them and moving on.
There were many times where a fellow student would show up on draft day without a draft or they would sit down and pull out blank homework and say they didn’t do it, and the teacher would berate them and move on to check the next student. How is this helping? Shaming or punishing students without offering any solutions is not going to solve the problem. If anything I’ve seen, it makes them worse. So while I think we need to introduce a formal teaching of time management, teachers also need to take it on themselves to reinforce what the students learn and help them grow all of their skills, not just in academics.
Eileen Kennedy-Moore wrote on psychology today about the importances of teaching children time management: “But understanding time helps kids to use their time well. It’s a key part of executive functioning skills such as planning and prioritizing.”(Eileen Kennedy-Moore PhD., Time Management for Kids). Most of this is directed at parents so that they can help their children succeed in school but a lot of the techniques can be use by schools themselves to help develop time management skills from a young age. Just doing a quick Google search while writing this paper about time management gives two main results. The first being geared towards adults who are looking to improve their skills in the area. The second set of results being geared towards parents like Kennedy-Moore’s article. There are none aimed at teaching time management to children in schools.
If we could do this the future leaders growing up right now would be in such a better place. Most people eventually develop their own way of time management (or lack of) and move on in life. But if we gave them a chance to learn and think more deeply about the topic, we would be improving the work force and lives of later generations.