Teaching is in my blood. I started teaching back in high school when I needed to do community service and ended up choosing to help the ESL students at my school. 

That was where it all started for me. I got hooked on helping people. I loved seeing them improve. 

Today I’m a time management expert and joint venture broker. The material may have changed, but the goal is the same: to help people be more productive.

That being said, I do miss teaching teenagers and kids. I love being able to influence them early on in life and change the way they think.

The other day I was presented with the opportunity to combine my passions. My client suggested I create a time management program for students. So I figured why not try writing an article on it first to clarify my thoughts. 

I sat down and read a few books on the topic of success for students, went over my notes for productivity, wrote up a bunch of tips, and then went to work. I wanted short, powerful and easy-to-use tips and finally settled on seven. 

1. Teachers are people, too.

Teachers, try as they may, are not unbiased. They like some students more than others so it often comes across in their grading. Give the teacher a tough time in class, or argue with them, and you can bet your bottom dollar they will grade you extra tough come test time. If your numbers or letters look iffy, bam, minus 1. I remember in school surviving a few classes just by being nice. I did my homework and was always polite to my teachers because I knew that my grades were in their hands. Want to get on your teacher’s good side? Go to their office after school and ask them questions about the homework or subject matter. Show them you like them and care about the subject and I can almost guarantee they will help you in more ways than one.

2. The 3-step formula

I’m a big believer in the KISS principle (Keep It Simple). It’s what I am constantly telling my clients, anything complicated shouldn’t be. Simple is where the magic is. Anyone can make things complicated, but simplicity takes a stroke of genius. One look at the iPhone and you’ll see simplicity is powerful. That’s why my virtual mentor, Jim Rohn, used a three-step formula. I’ve adjusted it slightly for the digital age.

Step 1: What can I do? 

When faced with project or assignments, the first thing is to do what you can. Don’t give up too quickly. Take the time to think about the questions and figure out what you can do and what you need help with. 

Step 2: Googleable

With step one done you now face the task of finding answers to the things, you don’t know. Solution: Search. Personally, I split my searches into three groups: YouTube, Google, and books. Most people use YouTube to watch music videos or watch movies. For students though, YouTube is your best friend. There are thousands of videos on math, science, language lessons. Google is your next best friend. Last, but not least, books.

Step 3:  Help

So you’ve done what you could do, and researched some of the things you didn’t know, but you’re still missing stuff. No problem, ask. Teachers, friends, and parents will be more than happy to help if you’re able to show them just how much work you’ve put in already.

3. 80/20

The 80/20 rule (aka the Pareto Principle) is at work in every area of life. For students, it would be something like this: 80% of your exam success will come from 20% of the work you put in. The key then is figuring out what 20% is worth focusing on. Very few people can memorize everything a teacher has students study, especially in college and AP classes. Focus your energies on mastering the main points and chances are you’ll pass nearly any test. 

4. Attitude

Not your usual time management tip, but attitude determines a few different things. Attitude comes across in your work, in your focus, and maybe most importantly, how other people view you. One look at your handwriting will tell a teacher all they need to know. The one thing teachers want more than anything from their students is effort. They love to see that students care. 

5. Discipline

First, create a to-do list. Write down what you need to get done, and put them in order of importance. Once that’s done, all you need to do is follow it.

Second, keep distractions to a minimum. While working, turn off your smartphone completely. Turn off the computer and buckle down. You’d be amazed just how much you can get done with just an hour’s worth of focused energy. 

Third, say no. A student’s life is filled with parties, dates, movies and a whole lot of hanging out. To get better grades, you’re going to have to say no from time to time. 

Three things that take discipline.

6. Health

As teenagers we’re indestructible. Nothing stops us. We have seemingly boundless energy. But in order that our bodies operate at an optimum level, we need to take care of them. Water, good food, stretches, and massages are just a few things that your body appreciates. 

7. Masterminds (aka study groups)

Study groups are my favorite time management hack for students. Students can often guess some of the questions teachers will ask on tests. Put a bunch of students in a room together and you’ll be amazed how many questions you’ll be able to come up with. Take turns having people ask a few questions to which the other students answer. The best thing is that when if you get a few different answers, it’ll force people to research which one is correct. Don’t just ask your best friends, ask some smart people, ask some not so smart people. 

There you have it, the seven greatest time management tips for students. Good students that use these will become great students, poor students into good ones. Game on.