3 Key Tips for you to encourage teenagers to use time wisely

3 Key Tips for you to encourage teenagers to use time wisely

How many times do you stop each week and wonder where time has disappeared to? Or mope about saying, “I don’t have enough time,” or “I am too busy!” or words to that effect?

Jason once told me that one of his problems was that he did not finish his assessments on time. This was partly because he worked better in subjects he enjoyed rather than those he either found irrelevant or boring and partly because he clearly needed guidance with regard to organizing his schedule and managing his time more effectively.

Our conversation ended up exploring hours of sleep (minimum of nine hours every night are needed), his personal goals and a breakdown of how he travels through each and every day of the week. I stressed to him, by way of encouragement, that he needed a schedule that allowed him social time to be with his peers or time simply to relax – very important in the life of a teenager.

Promoting the spirit of mentoring involves guiding young people on how to plan their days and weeks, as well as encouraging them to identify different qualities of time and to adapt their behavior to suit each one.

3 Key Tips for encouraging teenagers to use time wisely

Jason and I looked at the following three qualities of time:

1. During peak performance hours the brain is functioning at maximum level. Teenagers can focus on the academic areas that require a high level of concentration. For example, they might revise for a test or exam, or work through a tough problem-solving task.

2. Certain times are creative. At such times, encourage teenagers to allow their ideas to flow freely, as they are thinking clearly. They could write or design something, pursue a hobby or read. The key is to stay motivated to study or pursue the development of a life skill. 

3. Off-peak hours bring fatigue. These times can be more constructive than many teenagers appreciate. For example, they can use such times to file or write notes, carry out chores or duties at home or do whatever administrative work they need to do.

Jason and I looked at different options and then, during the next couple of weeks, he started experimenting with his schedule until he found what worked best for him. Not only did his schedule become a game-changer for him, he also removed some stress from his life, learnt to cope and deal with other challenges and eventually graduated successfully from school and moved on to study his career choice at University.

I was able to tick off some checkpoints to look out for in a young person you are nurturing, as I observed Jason’s progress:


  • had a greater sense of belonging;
  • had a better perspective of himself;
  • had a sense of hope for the future;
  • developed a stronger sense of self-worth;
  • had a feeling of significance.

Perhaps, as you reflect on your teenage years, you might remember a time when you could tick all of the above? Why was that? Did you have a significant adult in your life acting as a non-judgmental Cheerleader? Teenagers want to hear your story.

About the author: Robin Cox has been a School Principal, sports coach to National Under 19 Level, Youth Symposium Organizer, developer of Youth Mentoring Programs in New Zealand and Australia, Churchill Fellow and author of books linked to youth mentoring, Peer Mentoring and the development of adolescents to become the best they can be. He has trained over 1,000 volunteer adult mentors, run workshops for teachers promoting the Spirit of Mentoring and personally mentored over 1,000 adolescents. Still an idealist, a cancer survivor of 50+ years, married with two adult children, Robin lives in New Zealand and shares a passion with anyone wanting to make a positive difference in the global community. You can see his short daily mentoring tips on Twitter @million2016coxy or on Facebook (where you are able to join a closed mentoring group) or contact him through his Mentoring Matters website  Robin’s free Mentoring Minutes daily podcasts (each podcast between 1.5 and 3 minutes), containing hundreds of tips for anyone working with young people, are available here.