For Educators: Time Management Lesson Plan
As children get older, they encounter increasingly complex academic, social, athletic, and familial demands on their time which can be difficult to navigate.
Help your students learn how to prioritize and balance their commitments with this time management lesson plan.
Total time: 1-1.5 hours over 2-3 sessions.
Advanced Preparation (15 minutes)
Review the video and test your technology.
Introduce the Strategy (2 minutes)
Begin by introducing the lesson to students. Tell them: “Today we are going to reflect upon how we spend the time available to us. We will identify some strategies to maximize time for things that are important for us to be caring, gratified, and engaged individuals.”
Warm Up (5 minutes)
Ask students to individually complete the “Time Management Activity for Students.” (An easy to print version of this worksheet is available in this PDF of the full lesson plan.) As they reflect on and record how they use their time, students should consider the following:
How do you spend each hour of the day? How would you like to spend a typical day? Why/how are these answers different? How do you spend your hours overall during the week? How would you like to spend a typical week? Why/how are these answers different?
What are your top three priorities on a day-to-day basis? What should they be?
How much time do you spend “giving back” to others (including your family, school, or community)? Do you think you spend too much time caring for others? Do you feel like you spend the right amount of time? If you don’t feel like you spend enough time caring for others, how might you spend more time?
When/how do you practice self-care? Is this enough time? Too little? Too much?
If you could do anything with your time, what would it be?
Video and Reflections (15-20 minutes)
Students will then engage with a Ted Talk by Laura Vanderkam titled, “How to Gain Control of Your Free Time.” While watching the video, encourage the class to take note of strategies they hear Laura Vanderkam list:
Write the family holiday letter to identify your top priorities
Make a three category priority list and include your priorities in your weekly planner before you include other tasks and appointments
Keep a time diary
Maximize “in-between” moments by putting down your phone and instead doing what matters most to you
What can you do to plan your time so that it reflects your most important priorities and so you feel good about the way you spend it?
What might be difficult in doing so?
Who can support you in managing your time well?
Small Group Work (10-15 minutes)
Students will discuss the benefits and challenges of using each strategy. They will work together to identify three strategies they will use to align their time with their priorities. Ask students to share with the class strategies they’ve identified either during their individual or group work.
Next Steps (20 minutes)
Ask students to create a time log for themselves for the coming week. At the end of the week, compare the actual time log with the Time Management Activity they completed at the beginning of this lesson. Identify similarities and differences between the actual log and their estimates. Have a discussion focused on the following questions:
What caused the differences you see between the time you anticipated/estimated spending on each activity and the time you actually spent on each activity?
How does it make you feel when you don’t do what you set out to do? Are there times when it feels ok? Times when you feel badly? What makes the difference?
How can you strategize to make better use of your time? How can you strategize to make sure you both take care of others and yourself?
How does good time management impact our ability to help others and ourselves?
What aspects of how you currently spend your time are you most proud of? Least proud of? How much of your time is currently spent taking care of yourself? Others? Is this the “right” amount of time?
Extending this Strategy
Encourage students to bring to class examples of time management strategies they have used and benefited from. Ask them to share with the class how they came up with each strategy and how it has been helpful to them. Students should have time and space to workshop and modify these strategies as needed.
Last updated September 2019.