Managing Time: Promoting Mental Fitness for Teens and Young Adults by Creating a Sense of Mastery

I recently interviewed fifty college students in five focus groups and asked them what they thought was the most stressful part of transitioning from high school to college. The hands-down response was “time management.” One of the participants talked about feeling depressed after making a conscious choice to go down the “rabbit hole” of spending all night on her cell phone when she knew she was supposed to be studying. Another one talked about arriving late to class for exams and being so anxious that she couldn’t answer the test questions she had studied for.

Time management skills allow teens and young adults to prioritize their activities, maintaining a healthy balance between school, extracurricular activities, and personal life. Time management is also linked to higher GPAs and has been shown to lower anxiety and reduce stress by creating a sense of control, ultimately leading to improved mental fitness. Now is the time to get your child on a time management plan. Here are some suggestions for getting started:

  • Time management tools.Whether it’s a planner that your teen writes everything in or an app that manages their schedule, help them find the tools that will work best. Talk about the importance of creating a schedule and using lists to prioritize time wisely.
  • Write down a schedule.Teach your teen to schedule their day so they can set aside time for chores, homework, and other responsibilities. You can also encourage them to schedule free time.
  • Prioritize activities.It’s common for teens to run into conflicts in their schedules. Teach them how to prioritize activities based on values and commitments.
  • Develop routines.Encourage your teen to establish routines, like doing chores right after school. Routines help teens stay on track and task.
  • Set limits on electronics. Negotiate a plan to help your child create healthy habits with cell phones and other digital devices.
  • Model good time management habits.Be on time for your child and model punctuality by making it to appointments when scheduled. Demonstrate your ability to use time management habits to balance work, personal, and family life.


Take a look at the links below for more information on how parents can help teens and young adults with time management skills.


All this information and more available in David Hoy’s New book: Mental Fitness for Tweens and Teens

Book available for purchase: