Family Resources on Monitoring Your Time

Project and Purpose

Students analyze and develop a plan to improve their time monitoring skills.

Essential Questions

What are some strategies you can use to improve your time monitoring skills?

If this lesson was used in the classroom: Students learned about time management techniques. In class, students discussed that people do have some control over how they use their time and how to set goals for spending time to support those goals. Individually students took a survey assessing their time management skills and in groups discussed strategies for effective time management.

Getting Ready for the Conversation

Many people discuss the concept of “time management”, particularly as a component of career success. For high school students this often means how they allocate free or unstructured time to complete various tasks. For example, students can sometimes choose to study or text with friends, others may choose to get a job. The one thing that is well known is that choices have to be made.

Conversation notes:
The term “time management” is used in a variety of ways, but there is not really any way to truly “manage” time (note that the lesson title is Monitoring Your Time ). High school is often the time that adolescents for the first time have to learn about making choices about how to spend their time, choices that often frustrate parents and mentors.

Check out this article by Dana Dorfman in Psychology Today:

Another resource is this article by Amanda Morin at Understood:

Constructive Conversation Starters

The first two items are for follow-up after participating in class activities.

How did you score on the survey? Was the survey helpful to you? Why or why not?

Does managing your time mean that you should rarely choose fun or recreational activities? Why or why not?

Do you think that people who organize their day or free time can find more success? Why or why not? [Avoid equating success with money.]

Choose a goal that will take between one and three months to achieve, including the time period needed. How much time each day (or week) will you need to devote to achieving this goal? Write down your time commitment to achieving this goal. Moving forward daily or weekly log the time you actually spent. Assess at the end of the time period. Did you achieve the goal? Was it worth it? Why or why not? Was writing the goal down effective? Why or why not?

School to Home Resources on Monitoring Your Time


  • How Well Do You Manage Your Time?
  • Time Monitoring Form
  • Article: “Importance of Time Management for Career Success”


1. Distribute and have students take the How Well Do You Manage Your Time? Survey. When they are done, post the score analysis for them to analyze their own results:

    • a. 60-80: You are a time management wizard.
    • b. 40-59: You are a time management wizard-in-training who needs practice and perseverance.
    • c. Below 40: There is much work to be done before you earn a title.

2. Discuss how time management really is a misnomer in that nobody can actually manage time. All we can do is manage how we use time, manage our activities during time periods. To do so, people need to define goals and the steps that are needed to reach goals and assign time periods for each. Before setting goals, it is important to track one’s current use of time.

3. Distribute the Time Tracker Form and discuss how this chart is a way to analyze how we use — and waste — time during the day. Students will be expected to monitor their actions for one week to see exactly where they spend most of their time.

4. Distribute the article “Importance of Time Management for Career Success.” Have students read the article, analyze the author’s advice for people starting a career, and then have them interpret and rewrite the advice for students beginning high school. Students may work alone or with a partner to create their student advice.


Ask students to share their advice with a trusted partner or with the group, and discuss what they believe to be the most important strategy for managing their time.

At the end of the week, have students review their time management charts and determine two or three things they need to do to improve their use of time.

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