The world is a busy place. Busy people need to find ways to better manage their time. An entire software industry has evolved to help with this. From to-do list apps, to calendaring, to email management, and reminders, the software is there to make it easier for us to do more in less time. There are countless books on time management as well, more than any reasonably person could read in a lifetime.
The proliferation of books and software to help us better manage our time begs the question: Why are we so bad at managing our time in the first place?
I’ve given this question some thought recently, and have come to the surprising realization that my schooling never included time management skills. One could argue that learning to deal with a full load of classes, nightly homework, extracurricular activities, and after-school jobs was a life-lesson in time management. But even in the midst of all of that, I felt the stress of knowing I had more to do than the time to do it in. What might have helped was some specific training in actual time management.
Thinking back to my school days, I can not recall any such training. We were left to our own devices to figure things out ourselves. Yet it seems like high school is a particularly good place to provide some real time management training for students. Such training would provide immediate, practical use for students who feel there just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done.
Learning how to estimate levels of effort, even in schoolwork would have been a useful skill to learn at an early age. Learning how to get things out of your head by making to-do lists, learning how to prioritize tasks, learning how to review you day or week, all of these things would have been useful to me in high school, and all of them I had to figure out on my own. By the time I had them working for me, I was decades out of high school.
And yet, go browse books on time management, and you’ll find an unlimited supply filling an obvious demand. I clearly wasn’t the only one who didn’t learn how to best manage my time while in school. If you start young, it seems to me that a skill like this can become second nature. Moreover, you can emphasize from an early age the importance of not filling every minute of your day.
With so many people seeking out solutions to better manage their time, it seems like teaching time management in school is a no-brainer. By doing so, you end up with less stressed, more well-rounded students. And perhaps, those happier students could set an example for their stressed out, busy parents.