The student news site of Carroll Senior High School

Dragon Media

The student news site of Carroll Senior High School

Dragon Media

The student news site of Carroll Senior High School

Dragon Media

Dear Arden…

How can I get better with my poor time management?

“Dear Arden,

Hi Arden! I had a lot of trouble with time management last semester. Maybe it’s because I’m new to high school, or maybe it’s just me being unmotivated. I would often complete assignments at the very last minute and submitting [sic] assignments around 11 pm right before they were due. On top of that, I find myself wasting time doing things I shouldn’t be doing. Do you have any tips on how I can get better with my poor time management?”

-Frustrated Freshman


Dear Frustrated,

Starting high school can of course be difficult in terms of workload, so it makes complete sense that you would struggle initially – everyone does. Now that you have identified that it is a problem, though, we can work on fixing it. 

You have identified that the main issue here is time management, so we will focus on that. My strategy for time management is a mix of prioritizing and breaking down my workload. For prioritizing, every day after school and every Saturday morning, I think through my class schedule and all of the assignments I have to do for each class. Here’s an example:

First block I have statistics. Let’s say I have a test tomorrow for that class.

Second block I have newspaper. Let’s say someone has sent me a story that needs editing.

Third block I have government. Let’s say I have annotations due tomorrow.

Fourth block I have an off-block.

As for my B-day classes, I ignore those for now. If I have an A-day tomorrow with multiple assignments, it does not make sense to think about B-day until I have made it through my A-day classes.

If my statistics test is first block tomorrow, it is important that I get my studying done now. However, if my government annotations are also due tomorrow, then I have to get that done tonight as well. As for newspaper, I know that I will have class time tomorrow to edit that story, so I decide to leave that alone for now. Now, I have two main things to focus on: studying for my statistics test and doing my government annotations. The next step is to break these assignments down. 

The way I think of studying versus doing an assignment is that an assignment has an easily defined end point, while studying can go on as long as one needs it to. While studying for that statistics test may be a priority because it takes place before government, it is important that I don’t get so wrapped up in it that I don’t have enough time to do my government annotations. 

And so, I break it down into parts and set end points when I can. I start by taking a cursory look at my statistics notes, getting some of the basics and memorizable stuff down. I estimate that this will not take long, and, if my annotations take longer than anticipated, I will have at least done some basic studying for the test. After looking through the notes once, I work on my government annotations. Once I have completed that, I have the rest of the evening to keep looking through the statistics notes and working on practice problems until, let’s say, 7:30. That’s another thing that may help you, setting a clear start and end time. I typically start my homework around 4:30 and try to finish before 8:00. Obviously, there are things that throw this off – choir rehearsals, library volunteering, unusually time-consuming assignments (but that’s mainly junior year), but one can account for that.

One final thing that may help you: having an assigned bedtime. Before you say, “Okay, Mom,” hear me out. 

Picking a time to go to bed does two things for you: first, you will get more sleep, which will help your productivity because you won’t be as tired. Second, you will have a sort of “due date” set for your assignments that isn’t 11:59 p.m. This sets a clear boundary between your homework time and your rest time and ensures you won’t turn in your assignments late because you’ll be finishing them earlier. 

Obviously, all of this is easier said than done, but it’s worth it to try, and I believe you can do it.

Wishing you all the best,


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About the Contributor
Arden Berry
Arden Berry, Co-Editor in Chief
Arden is a senior at Carroll Senior High School and is currently a co-editor in chief of the Dragon Tribune. This is her fourth year as a member of Dragon Media as well as her eighth year in choir. Sophomore year, she was on the UIL Journalism team and progressed to state in copy editing. Outside of school, she practices piano, plays video games and writes. She hopes to pursue a career in research related to the social sciences.