With the beginning of a new school year comes the test of how well parents, coaches, teachers, students and athletes can balance their work, extracurricular activities and/or school schedules. While some have no problem with the ultimate “juggling act,” others struggle to manage their time in order to fit everything into the day.

At a young age, students who participate in after school activities have already begun to exercise their time management skills. As a student-athlete, you are often bombarded with commitments from various facets in your life including school, clubs, sports, friends, family and extracurricular activities. You feel the pressure and stress rising with the more you add to your daily schedule. You don’t want to say “no” but you also know by saying “yes” that you are “stretching yourself too thin.” Although we all would like have Superman powers, the way he can rescue the helpless victims, while fighting bad guys and still be home for dinner, we can’t do it all.

Learning to demonstrate time management can help you be more productive and improve your performance on the field or court as well as in the classroom. You will be able to alleviate the anxiety and feel ready to face the day.  Here are a few strategies you can use to help manage your time and ensure a stress free, productive day.

  • Set goals: Identify what it is that you want to accomplish for the day. Be sure to set realistic goals. Don’t try to over commit or take on more than you can handle.
  • Plan and prepare head (to-do lists): Think of it as if you are going away on a trip, most people like to plan or make an itinerary of what they want to do while away. With this in mind, create a to-do list. This will help you keep track of the things you have done and what you still need to do.
  • Learn to make sacrifices: As mentioned earlier, without the same type of powers Superman possesses, we can’t do it all. You need to learn to make sacrifices. Your teammates are counting on you to be there for practice and the game. Although your social life and other personal things are important, you must try to stay true to your commitment, while also making sure you complete your school work.
  • Get into a routine: If you establish a routine, you will feel more at ease during the day.
  • Have someone to hold you accountable: If you are concerned that you will divert from the schedule or routine, ask a parent or friend to help hold you accountable so that you stay on task and remain on time.
  • Don’t procrastinate: We have all had that panic moment where we waited until the last minute to do homework or study for a test. Cramming and staying up late after a long day could result in poor performance during practice or in class. Make sure to pace yourself as you try to complete your school work and attend your after school activities/ sports practices.
  • Prioritize: Identify the important tasks and rationalize what you need to get done and what can be done at a later date.
  • Avoid Distractions: Put the phone away! It is easy to get distracted with cell phones, video games and all the social media outlets. You will increase your efficiency if you are focused on the task at hand.
  • Use your free time wisely: Be sure to use any free periods you have at school or down time between school and practice to do homework or study.
  • Set time aside for yourself: With all the running around from place to place, make sure to set aside time for you to do something relaxing that you enjoy such as reading a book, listening to music or watching television.

In closing, by becoming more organized and intentionally structuring your day, you can experience a new sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. You have control over your time and the way you spend it. Sometimes you have to press the pause button to regroup and evaluate your top priorities. Your friends and family are there to support you. You can do it. Stay focused and work hard!


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