“About 2,180,000,000 results” is the response you get when you type “time management tips” into Google.
It’s a hot topic we’re all familiar with, and one that definitely serves a great purpose.
However, in spite of all the talk about making good use of time, your kids might STILL need some personal guidance as they enter the busy teen years.
Athletes, in particular, need to be equipped with the tools that will help them be INTENTIONAL with their time.
So let’s have a little fun with some famous taglines—that the young crowd will recognize—to see what NOT to do when effectively managing your greatest resource.
1) Just Do It!
Nike’s famous tagline came out in 1988 and is recognized around the world—sending a positive message to GET OUT and be active.
However, when your athlete is staring down an all-consuming load of
- Research papers
- Family time
- Volunteer work
- Competitive events
- Social Media
- Part-time jobs
telling them to, “just do it,” is certainly not helpful.
As an adult, you have probably heard about the illustration Stephen Covey used in his book, First Things First. In it, he talks about the importance of putting the “big rocks” in the jar—before the pebbles and sand. (If you have never read it, click here.)
The “big rocks” symbolize the most important things in life, and putting them into the first part of your day is FOUNDATIONAL to having a productive one.
If your athlete has never heard the Rocks, Pebbles, and Sand analogy then share it with them. It’s a powerful visual. Then talk about the “big rocks” in THEIR life. Help them to figure out how to prioritize the most important tasks so that they approach their to-do list efficiently.
The sense of accomplishment when a “big rock” is tackled is a huge win and lightens any feelings of being overwhelmed.
2) It Keeps Going and Going and Going...
When it comes to batteries, who wouldn’t want the longest lasting one that keeps going and going and going? And if the tagline doesn’t convince you to buy this brand, then surely the super-productive Energizer bunny, will.
Unfortunately, too many teens find out the hard way that they are NOT the Energizer bunny. And recharging, through enough quality sleep and appropriate “down” times, is a life lesson that CAN’T be ignored.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, teens need 8-10 hours of quality sleep regularly to learn, listen, and concentrate. Yet one study revealed that only 15% of teens that were asked, got 8.5 hours of sleep on school nights.
For many young athletes—trying to manage a full schedule—staying up very late or getting up super early is part of their normal juggling act. And this is not effective time management.
If you’re tempted to drag your teen out of bed on a weekend morning, recognize that they physically NEED more sleep than you do. “Sleeping in” allows the body’s natural healing process to take place. Encourage “lights out” AND devices off at a regular time every night—or take it 1 step further by having all devices charge in a non-bedroom area.
Finally, check out this post to learn about 4 ways your athlete may be ROBBED of quality rest and recovery time.
3) What’s the Worst That Could Happen?
Dr. Pepper introduced this successful slogan back in 2009 with funny and memorable stories of the worst case scenarios. Their audience loved it, and it provided a strong comeback for the soda.
But when our kids have THIS mindset as they face a multitude of daily choices, it can quickly become a time management nightmare. The power of saying “no” is valuable.
High school may be the best time to explore academic, musical, artistic, athletic, and work-related activities—but it always needs to be filtered through the lens of BALANCE.
What’s the worst that can happen when your athlete doesn’t say no? Feeling stressed, overwhelmed, defeated, and tired becomes the norm.
Communicate with your kids that sometimes it is even necessary to say “no” to good things. Recognize that if your child is a people pleaser, they will struggle with how saying, “no” may disappoint others.
A balanced approach in all life accounts should be modeled and supported.
Additionally, talk to your kids about the areas where time is stolen from them—for many this will mean saying “no” to the constant chatter on social media platforms.
Final Thoughts—Think Different
Apple’s innovative approach to everything has made them a technology giant—and their tagline points to how this has happened—they, Think Different.
This is a good mantra as we teach our athletes the important concepts of managing their time.
A full workload will occasionally be unavoidable. Encourage your athlete to think outside the box as they come up with effective strategies to fulfill their responsibilities.
Remember to include these basics of managing time well:
- Prioritize the “big rocks”
- Recognize the necessity of quality sleep
- Know when and how to say “no”
We’d love to hear from you. Share in the comments your favorite time management tip.