• Follow Us
Check out our Winter NexStarter™ camp

Time Management Tips

By Lilian Xu

We are often told that time management is only necessary when we are trying to maintain control over copious amounts of work, whether it be homework or reports for your boss. Although turning in all your work on time is important and should be strived for, time management’s impacts also extend deeper, to mental and physical health benefits. A ten-year Chinese study reveals that the group that received time-management training sessions had lower rates of anxiety, depression, and higher sleep quality. This article will discuss some habits that can help you start organizing and using your time more efficiently. A few effective methods are making a checklist ranked by priority, contacting others ahead of time, and removing distractions for your study area. Here at NexStream Technical Institute, we encourage our students to implement these time management methods in various ways. 

Checklists, scheduling, and priorities

To make sure you have completed all of the things you need to do, it is recommended to keep track of all of your tasks with a notebook or an e-calendar. Using a notebook is better than using a loose piece of paper because one can easily misplace a piece of paper. Writing things down can help with cementing them in your memory, and crossing off each task is a great way to keep track of which ones you have and have not completed. Even if it is as small as checking your email, writing it into your checklist can provide structure and decrease the likelihood of forgetting. 

The most important aspect of having a checklist is to prioritize tasks; high priority tasks should be completed before low priority tasks. The goal is to complete all of the things on the list, but finishing those with more urgent deadlines first can reduce stress. Another significant process is scheduling your downtime. When it comes time to relax, set a timer for the specific amount of time you wrote down on your calendar. This way, you will not get burnt out. On the flip side, you will also prevent yourself from spiralling into unproductivity by accidentally playing on your phone for too long. 

Additionally, writing down very specific tasks can make each task seem less daunting. For example, one could break up the large task of “writing an essay” into “finish rough draft” and “ask friend to peer edit.” This method of breaking up tasks into smaller parts ensures that you do not feel unproductive or get discouraged while working because you are able to cross off the smaller checkpoints. This is especially helpful during distance learning when teachers tend to give more asynchronous work (independent work). Though asynchronous work allows students more flexibility, some students struggle with this model of learning because it requires a lot more individual planning. Using a checklist can help students manage their time more effectively and increase productivity levels.

Group collaboration tips

Furthermore, if you are collaborating in a group, whether it be with coworkers or classmates, make sure to communicate at the earliest possible time. This is because if you message somebody about a project too late, they may end up not seeing the email or message. If this happens, you may be stressed that the other person is not communicating back, especially if the deadline is coming up. Therefore, avoid putting yourself through unnecessary stress by contacting your collaborators ahead of time and leave them plenty of time to reply to you. At NexStream, we put our students into groups so they can learn the collaboration skills needed in STEM careers. This includes communicating with microphones and the chat box on Zoom during COVID-19. The students have the opportunity to learn how to complete a project within one class period or plan out and delegate their group’s efforts over multiple class periods. 

Eliminating distractions 

Lastly, while working, it is best to place any distractions as far away as possible from your working space. For instance, for most people, that would mean putting your phone in another room. With NexStream classes, students are encouraged to turn their cameras on, which can increase their focus, as the instructors are able to supervise and guide the student more effectively. Also, during independent work, the instructors encourage the students to discuss the curriculum with their peers, which prevents students from becoming distracted. If you do not require a computer for the work you are doing, sitting far away from your computer can also be helpful in preventing yourself from going off track. However, with distance learning and working from home, we usually find ourselves sitting in front of the computer. Staying focused can be difficult in this situation because distracting websites are just one click away. A remedy to this would be to temporarily restrict those websites from opening in your browser. For instance, I would restrict websites like Facebook and YouTube because I am most tempted to open those. This restriction function can be reversed as soon as you are done with your work. This function is different on each computer and laptop model, so a quick “how to restrict certain websites on [insert computer model]” Google search might be necessary. Eliminating distractions and providing yourself with a suitable work environment is crucial in making sure you can work as efficiently as possible and move onto other tasks. 

In order to fully take advantage of all the time we have and also prevent our daily tasks from impacting our mental health, we must implement various time management strategies. Overall, managing your time well will lead to a more fulfilling and productive life. 

person holding white and silver-colored pocket watch

Works Cited

Wang, Ping, and Xiaochun Wang. “Effect of Time Management Training on Anxiety, Depression, and Sleep Quality.” Iranian Journal of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Dec. 2018,



Image: Ivanova, Veri. “A Stopwatch Resting on an Open Palm.” Unsplash, unsplash.com/photos/p3Pj7jOYvnM.


About the Author

Lilian Xu is a Junior at Canyon Crest Academy in California. She is interested in pursuing medicine in the future. Currently, she mainly manages our Facebook platform and writes STEM-related blogs. Through this internship, she has honed her writing skills, learned about interview etiquette, and explored the STEM fields more deeply. In her free time, she enjoys baking, ice skating, singing, and graphic design.

Related Blogs

Tags: Teaching

NexStream Interviews: Tygan

Tygan is a 20-year-old Computer Science Major at UCLA. He is an instructor at NexStream, and he focu...

An Overview of the Importance of STEM Education

“What is STEM education?” Answering this question involves more than just the words that comprise th...

Online Learning Platforms

Online learning platforms have been on the rise for the past few years thanks to the many benefits t...

Our Other Blogs

What is Machine Learning?

Machine learning is a branch of Artificial Intelligence (AI), and as defined by the American compute...

NexStream Interviews: Max

Max is a 13 year old who is interested in ML, debate, and social studies. He runs a YouTube channel...

Online Learning Platforms

Online learning platforms have been on the rise for the past few years thanks to the many benefits t...