This post is part of a series focusing on Time Management for Teens, Students, and High Schoolers. Get the complete online course here or order the book here!

High School Activities and Leadership Positions

So, what activities do YOU do outside of high school classes?

Unless you’re planning to “risk it all” on some specific talent like athletics or performing arts… for most of us, high school classes and GPA should always be the number-one priority.

But, it’s a cliche that “Variety is the spice of life.” Most of us want and need more than just one major focus in our lives.

On the other hand, there’s another cliche: “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

Which means, if you try to do TOO many things, there’s no way to get very good at anything.

It’s a spectrum - you have to stay balanced.

Pick 2-3 Activities To Focus On In High School

Because of this natural spectrum, we need to stay balanced with our high school activities.

When it comes to sports and activities outside of your MAIN focus (which is usually either high school, getting into college, or your future career)…

Then one to three additional hobbies, sports, clubs, or activities is the sweet spot.

I’m not trying to convince you to live life my way, I’m just saying –

Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day. And, if you want to be good at something, chances are that many other people also want to be “good” at it too.

This leads to an “arms race” where the talent pool just keeps getting better and better. That means you need to SPECIALIZE more in order to stand out.

You Have To Specialize To Get Good

That same specialization naturally means less time for OTHER activities that you want to be good at.

Deep down we all know this, but there’s an important consequence as well:

You have to KNOW what your top priorities are outside of school. You need to be able to rank them in a top 1-5 list (or whatever number of priorities you have).

Know Your Top Life Priorities and Goals

This goes back to some of the central lessons I’ve been trying to teach in my time-management articles for high schoolers.

You have to identify the personal priorities that truly matter to you (even if other people don’t fully agree with them).

Because when the inevitable scheduling conflicts and energy limitations come up, you don’t waste time debating.

You just KNOW that you should go with the higher priority commitment.

Try New Activities, But Identify Your Favorites Quickly

Now, high school is a time to try new things out, for sure.

You haven’t even been ALIVE long enough to try everything there is in the world.

BUT make no mistake:

Many kids in high school ARE already figuring out “who they are” and what they want to DO with their lives.

They are already focusing ALL their efforts around succeeding in that area of life.

Listen To Your Heart And Follow Your Passions

Again, I’ve noticed that these kids do what they feel they MUST do, EVEN if others around them don’t fully agree or support it.

It’s that passion: “I have to do this, this matters to me.” It drives these kids towards success even starting in high school. It’s one of the best models to copy, if you can.

The sooner you identify the activities you really LOVE to do, the more time you can spend getting good at them.

Make A List Of Your High School Activities

Make a list of the following:

First, list your current activities and sports. Make the list as complete as possible.

Next, create a personalized, number-based ranking system of your current activities and sports.

Rank Your High School Activities

The more analysis you do in this stage, the better.

Which activities require the most time commitment and energy?

Are those the SAME activities that you find the most enjoyable and rewarding?

Which activities seem the best for your future?

Ask yourself these questions, and try your best to assign some kind of rankings to your answers.

This will help you make wise decisions on what activities to keep and what to drop.

Brainstorm New Activities To Try

Now brainstorm and journal about activities and sports you’d like to try at least once in your life.

This can be anything from the ordinary to the exotic. In fact I hope your list includes a mix of the entire spectrum!

For example, I have a “to-try” list that’s almost a hundred items long.

It includes goals like:

  • Stay physically healthy
  • “Go skydiving”
  • “Motorcycle to South America”
  • “Record an album of original music.”

What they all have in common is they INSPIRE me. These goals get me pumped-up to work hard, and to use my time well.

That’s what YOU want in YOUR list as well.

Make An Action Plan To Try New Activities In High School

The final step once you have your list ready is to make an action plan.

And this isn’t too hard.

You kind of just have to trust your gut and look at what your ranking system is trying to tell you.

You should DROP the lowest-ranked activities from your calendar!

Or, if your activities list looks awfully empty, maybe it’s time to try out a couple of activities from your wishlist!

Set aside 15 minutes to do this exercise.

Find new stuff that you really love to do.

And, cut back wasted effort on activities you’ve already tried that you don’t like.

Cut Our Weak High School Activities

Here’s a pro tip about activities in high school:

You may be doing something… some activity or sport… specifically because you think you have to. Maybe you think someone ELSE’S opinion of you DEPENDS on it…

… But deep down it’s an activity you really DON’T enjoy.

An activity you dread going to.

And no matter how you look at this activity it’s just never gonna be one that you really care about.

You need to be TOUGH with yourself in these situations - and I know because I’ve been there many times before.

It’s easy to waste your time on activities you don’t enjoy.

Choose Activities For Yourself, Not For Others

We all can fall for the TRAP of chasing someone else’s dreams. Or trying to impress our peers… Whatever it is that takes us off the path of activities we really care about.

This is especially true in high school.

Peer pressure is intense. Parents seem to control your every move. The media and advertising is trying to buy your soul. And you’ve barely had a chance to try anything for yourself yet.

You still haven’t had enough time to see what you really like to do!

That’s why, if you don’t like doing an activity that you’re doing in high school… then you should stop!

Ask if you’re doing it to please someone else. If so, cut it out of your schedule.

You need that time to find new things that you might like more. The sooner you know about the good stuff in life that makes you REALLY happy, the better.

Ask Yourself The Value Of Each High School Activity

Of course, you should always ask what the value of each activity is.

For example, I hated running laps in high school.

But it’s true that fitness is important - and without a coach, I might have been too lazy to do any real exercise on my own. Then I would have gotten really unhealthy before I learned to take care of my health.

So I’m glad I didn’t cut sports out of my high school schedule when I was younger… even though honestly, I didn’t really love them so much.

So you have to think critically, you have to think long-term, and you have to think like an adult.

But, if you can’t justify WHY you’re doing an activity or sport… and you don’t even like it… then I say cut it out of your schedule!

These Tips Go Double For Leadership Positions

When it comes to earning leadership positions in high school, all these tips count double.

One thing you will NOT enjoy very much is if you end up in a position of leadership for a sport or activity that you don’t really love.

Probably in this situation you will sabotage yourself - by not really giving your full effort, or just generally not wanting to be there.

That’s a REALLY bad thing for a leader’s mindset, and will end in disaster and wasted time and energy.

Leadership Positions Come From True Passion

Besides, the key to EASILY winning coveted and competitive leadership positions is to LOVE the sport or activity.

Leadership positions are just like a more-intense version of the previous level.

Leadership isn’t a perk, it is inevitable - when you are passionate about your activities.

In the long run, the people who care the most and work the hardest in their field will rise to the top.

Everything else is just temporary, lucky, or a fraud.

Leaders Enjoy Their Activities The Most

If you look at the friends you admire who are in positions of leadership, ask yourself one question:

Do they seem to LIKE what they’re doing?

I bet you anything: most of them are REALLY into whatever they’re leading.

Whether it’s a rock band or a robotics club or a cheer team.

A Personal Story About Leadership In School And College

To share a brief but hopefully enlightening bit from my own life:

In high school I really struggled to find significant leadership positions.

I liked lacrosse, but I wasn’t committed enough to sports to earn my place as a captain.

I liked music, but I didn’t have enough initiative to organize and lead my own groups.

I didn’t really care about student government, so I experienced a massive and humiliating failure when I ran for that, because I didn’t even care in the first place if I got elected.

I Discovered What I Loved And Became A Leader

Then, when I got into college, I started to really discover my love for music. I was far more active with my piano practice.

By sophomore year I had organized and led my first chamber-music group, which was incredibly fun for me – one of the best things I’ve ever done.

I played piano, and I would find string players like violinists and cellists. I would pick the music, find us a faculty coach, and organize and schedule rehearsals and performances.

Leadership Is Both A Burden AND Reward

This was an enormous amount of work to keep the chamber music going while in the middle of college.

But, this leadership position didn’t feel like an OBLIGATION, it felt like the BEST part of my week!

Once I engaged my passions, it was easy to power-up and find leadership positions naturally, because I really cared about what I was doing.

And guess what else?

I also had more natural motivation to organize my time better, because wasting time would just hold ME back on the goals I wanted!

So I naturally learned to cut through the garbage and find time for the activities I really wanted to do.

Life Lessons About Leadership Learned In School

Since graduating college I feel like I’ve even taken it to the NEXT level.

By discovering my passion for entrepreneurship, I’ve realized how hard-working I can be when I’m working towards my own goals.

So, from failing horribly in my attempts to win student government leadership, I’ve actually ended up starting and running my own company. Now I’m feeling a daily sense of independence and passion.

It’s actually pretty funny to look back on. You know, they say “Comedy is just tragedy plus time!”

That’s kind of how I feel looking back on my youthful attempts to win leadership positions in activities I didn’t care about in the first place - just to try and impress people around me, I guess.

Just one more reason to follow the most important 3 rules of time management.

Leadership Principles Are Universal

Your goals are different than mine.

But, I’m willing to bet that if you’re living an independent, passionate life filled with activities you love… then you will be a long way towards being happy and successful – on a level that many people will never reach.

It took me a while to figure this out - about 26 years - and really get working on things I love.

So I want my students to surpass me. Discover and follow your passions years earlier than I did.

You see, when you love what you’re working on, it never really feels like work. You’ll naturally want to do it more. You’ll get better at it faster than people who aren’t really interested..

In the end you’ll have fun, get good at something you love, and inspire and lead the people around you.

Lead Activities You Love - Live An Inspiring Life!

If you follow this advice you will have FUN, get GOOD at activities you love, and you will inspire and lead your friends and family around you.

To me, THAT is the definition of being happy and successful… and THAT is EXACTLY the end goal of good time management.

You can start now in high school by dropping activities you DON’T enjoy.

Instead, fill your high school schedule with just a few life-enriching pastimes that define and fit you.

Tell Me What Activities You Love Most In High School

Now tell me in the comments section - what activities do YOU love to do most?

Leave a quick note in the comments. Let me know your favorite activity, sport, club, or team. What it is that makes you LOVE doing it?

It’s so inspiring to hear what my students love to do!

So, please take a moment to share your favorite high school activity and what you love about it, and I’ll see you in the next time-management or college readiness article!

Make this year your most productive year ever! Get the complete Time Management for Teens Online Course or order the book on Amazon today.

Share This