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!

What is “Rhythm” In High School Time Management?

Welcome to part TWO of my thoughts on the concept of creating rhythm in your life…

Which might be something that resonates more with creative-minded people than analytical-minded people, but if you’re interested just keep listening and hopefully I’ll provide some useful thoughts along the way.

I just want to warn you though, this is a really BIG article that doesn’t have the same immediate payoff that most of my other time management articles do –

This article is more abstract and raises a lot of themes that I think are really important - but it’s not necessarily for everyone.

This blog post is about perspective in life - as much of it as I can provide, since I’m nearly 29 years old, which isn’t THAT old but it’s definitely not THAT young…

And most of the concepts in this article don’t fit into a clean and simple soundbite or quote - but I still think there’s a TON to be learned from the upcoming info.

So, I just wanted to set that expectation so I don’t disappoint you - and if you’re ENJOYING and GETTING something out of this lecture, please listen all the way through and let me know what you think at the end!

First, Review Previous Time-Management Articles

Now, if you back up and review your notes to the first post on creating rhythm in your schedule, you’ll recall that we discussed concepts of momentum and energy and cycles of life that operate on small, medium, large and LIFE-long levels…

And, if you become more CONSCIOUS of those cycles operating on multiple HIGH levels, you tend to become MUCH more mature and skilled in the art of time management on the daily and hourly level.

It might sound a little mysterious or “sci-fi” but I promise that these levels and this energy are AROUND you and IN you and they can help you if you learn more about them…

(Which, by the way, is another thing that JOURNALING has helped me with at the end of each day.)

Now, Apply Rhythm To High School Time Management

So now, let’s think about how the idea of rhythm applies to your time management in high school.

High School is an absurdly busy time of life for ambitious high schoolers.

Between school, sports, activities, clubs, and everything else, it can be easy to burn out.

The truth is, as a general principle, it’s much easier to KEEP things rolling than to START things rolling again.

What I mean is, if you can stay in motion you’ll find it easier to get everything done that’s being thrown at you.

But, if you burn out - even for a couple of days - you can end up being CRUSHED by the pile-up of work - so it’s important to keep yourself sane at the same time as you push your hardest.

Now THAT is a balancing act.

Are You Staying Balanced In High School?

So I ask: Are you pushing your energy and productivity to the max each week while NOT burning yourself out from overwork?

Do your time-management rhythms include time to relax and really ENJOY yourself - about 10 to 20 percent of your work time?

Furthermore, in the midst of all the DAILY and WEEKLY rhythms of your busy life, are you planning your YEARLY and LIFETIME rhythms so that you don’t just get tossed about by school and the world around you?

This article involves all the different tempos and speeds of life and how they fit together to produce our entire experience from the hours in our days, to the years in our lives, and although we won’t go THIS deep in today’s article, this also affects the generations of lives that make up the entire human race.

Hourly Rhythms of High School Time Management

For now let’s keep our ambitious a LITTLE more modest and start with the HOURLY level.

For most of us, HOURLY rhythms tend to be about phases of effort and relaxation, or tension and release.

Sometimes you’re working, sometimes you’re chilling.

One of my FAVORITE descriptions of this natural human condition was an famous author, whose name I forgot, writing to a friend of his:

He said, “I am constantly torn between my desire to SAVE the world and to SAVOR the world.”

Of course, in French it sounds even better!!

“Saving The World” vs. “Savoring The World”

What I think he meant by this phrase, how I interpret it is, he was torn by his desire to BUCKLE DOWN and work on his GREAT BOOKS, because he was a famous and great author working on his passion –

He KNEW he could help “SAVE” the world by producing great literature, but sometimes it’s so HARD to do that –

It takes so much TIME and ENERGY and FOCUS and WORK and WILLPOWER –

Do you think it’s EASY even for a great, famous, and successful novelist to close the doors, shut the blinds and sit at his typewriter for hours until he produces his next great work to save the world?

NO - no matter HOW famous or successful you currently are, it’s ALWAYS going to take hard work to save the world –

But it should always MATTER to you and make you feel like you CONTRIBUTE to the world through your work.

It feels, actually, like you’re SAVING the world through giving your deepest gifts to the world.

But, at the same time this author was torn.

He wanted to SAVOR the world - to ENJOY the fruits of his labor, maybe go to the cafe and be recognized and honored for his fame for an hour –

Maybe it was a sunny day and he just wanted to sit down in a field for the day and enjoy it WITHOUT thinking about how he could include the scene in his next book.

Likewise, I tend to think race-car drivers have one of the coolest jobs on the planet.

BUT - I REALIZE that sometimes even THEY get SICK of having to drive, practice in the heat, give up time they could be spending with friends or on vacation, or they get tired of having to travel all over the place for races.

Remember: “Balance Is Everything”

See, even in high school, and even in the middle of the COOLEST possible career we could imagine for ourselves, we’re torn between SAVING the world and SAVORING the world.

SAVING the world is doing your homework, studying for exams, getting a jump on college preparations.

SAVORING the world is hanging out with your friends, playing computer games, lounging by the pool all day, going on a Sunday drive with your parents and the family dog.

Unfortunately, you can’t always SAVE the world at the same time you’re SAVORING it - and vice versa.

Picture an action hero stopping to smell the roses at the same time as he fights off evil - doesn’t really work, does it?

On the other hand, I have a personal example that proves that exceptions to this rule ARE possible:

When I was studying piano, it DID kind of feel like I was “SAVING” the world, by practicing piano as much as I could, at the same time as I was “SAVORING” it, because of how much I loved playing the piano.

So, I believe in SOME circumstances it’s possible to both save and savor at the same time - but only when you’re working on your PASSIONS and true personal compass in life.

And EVEN THEN - I would absolutely HAVE to take breaks during the day for food, coffee, going outside, stretching, exercise, and other stuff to change it up from just doing piano all the time.

The Choice Is Yours

On an HOURLY basis, we CHOOSE whether we will be SAVORING the world or SAVING it.

Do we do our assignments RIGHT NOW, in THIS HOUR? Or do we play another round of computer games?

Do we prepare for SAT tests that are months away, or do we go to the football game with our friends?

The choice is always ours, and ours alone, and so are the consequences.

But, A Crisis Makes It Hard To Relax

One thing I will say, though, is that it’s usually pretty hard to relax with major assignments and deadlines hanging over you.

In other words, you often HAVE to save the world before you can savor it.

If you feel the clock ticking behind you, it’s unlikely that “fun” stuff will be very enjoyable.

There’s really no way to savor a time bomb, is there?

First you SAVE the world, THEN you relax and enjoy it.

That’s part of what I mean by your time management “rhythm.”

The push-and-pull of working and relaxing… neither has meaning without the other.

“Saving” and “savoring” have to take turns, for EITHER of them to be truly meaningful.

And both of them take place on the hourly level more than any other.

Daily Rhythms of High School Time Management

Now, moving from the HOURLY to the DAILY rhythms of life in high school, we’re obviously going to find that school and maybe sports is our main daily rhythm and accounts for at least 5 out of 7 days of the week.

So I’ll ask you to pause for a moment and make two quick lists of your daily habits in high school (write them down in your time-management journal!)

  1. First, what are your routines before school on the typical school day?
  2. Second, what are your normal routines after school lets out?

In high school we often don’t have a ton of CHOICE for ourselves most days –

We are locked in schedules and routines, and often at the mercy of the adults around us who drive us, teach us, coach us, pick us up and stuff.

But, even though you can’t usually completely CONTROL your daily rhythms as a teenager, it’s still a great time to gather valuable intelligence on yourself

Remember that one of the key rules of time management is to KNOW YOURSELF - and in this case, you have a chance to learn more about your own rhythms, strengths, and weaknesses during the daily cycle.

Can You Answer These Time-Management Questions?

So, when I ask the following questions, do you know the answer for yourself?

Bust out your pen and paper and see if you can give good answers to each of these:

  • When during the day are you usually most alert and at your smartest? What hours?
  • How much time do you realistically need to set aside for basic needs like eating, commuting, and bathing?
  • When do you usually get tired at the end of the day?
  • Do you have an afternoon or evening slump? When is it?
  • Are you a morning person or a night person, or some in-between type?
  • What time do you typically need to be in bed falling asleep on a school night?

My Personal Time Management Routines

For example, in my case, I’m usually ALERT in the early morning but VERY SLEEPY in the mid-afternoon around three to five PM.

It might just be because of the Texas heat, but I am DEFINITELY prone to feeling VERY tired around that time of day, especially if I’ve been working hard all morning.

I’ve learned to just roll with this NATURAL rhythm, since I can’t really control it!

This is one of those time-management things I’ve discovered, acknowledged, and found a solution to through personal journaling.

Journaling at the end of each day helped me SO MUCH when I was trying to figure out my own daily rhythms for the sake of productivity –

Spend 30 days journaling, for just 60 seconds per evening, writing down the high- and low-energy points of your day, and it will quickly give you HUGE insights into the rhythms of your daily energy that you can use to your advantage.

Weekly Rhythms of High School Time Management

Now, on a WEEKLY basis, one of the most crucial, rhythm-based questions I’d ask you as high schooler is - how are you using your weekends?

What sort of weekend habits do you have that might make or break you in the long run?

Sometimes I think use of weekends during high school is one of the main factors that separates the top 10% of performers from everyone else.

Why? Well, EVERYONE in high school seems to be insanely busy during the school week - it’s only Friday after school, Saturday, and Sunday that offer ANY real free time.

Some kids use the weekends to sleep; some kids use them to get ahead. It’s about as simple as that.

And hey - it’s not always by choice, either –

I can think of many times my mom and dad MADE me get out of bed on a Saturday to do something useful and productive.

At the time I can’t say I really appreciated it - but now looking back I see why they wanted me to use my weekends for something other than sleep and television.

They were watching out for my FUTURE. I was trying to enjoy my PRESENT.

How Do You Use Your Weekends In High School?

When it comes to YOUR weekends, which end of the spectrum do you fall on?

Are you SAVING the world on the weekends?

Or are you SAVORING the world?

Maybe best of all, try to do both - a well-planned, 50/50 split of HARD WORK and AWESOME FUN every weekend, is one of the best ways to get the most “bang for your buck” from your weekend time.

I think you should use a moment of each weekend to PLAN the fun stuff you’ll do on the NEXT weekend.

Then you can just focus on “hanging on” through each busy school week and making it to the weekend, where you will not only GET AHEAD for next week and reduce your stress…

You’ll also have something SPECIFICALLY fun to look forward to at the end of each week.

Remember, an even 50/50 balance of fun and work is ACTUALLY going to put you FAR ahead of most high schoolers who are frankly, pretty tired and/or lazy by the time the weekend arrives.

The average high schooler does a typical mix of about 80% relaxing and maybe just 20% work on a typical weekend so it doesn’t take that much for you to get ahead each week, I promise!

  • So, what do you do by CHOICE, early on weekend mornings?
  • Do you still get up early like it’s a school day?
  • Is there still something MOTIVATING and DRIVING you to get out of bed on the weekend?

When you find that thing, you’ll get powered up.

I know for a FACT that I routinely jump out of bed at 7 or 8 am even on Saturdays and Sundays by CHOICE because I want to get ahead in business, music, and motorcycling.

No joke, and I’m NOT crazy. It’s EASY to get up when you have something you care about to get working on.

Then, sleep seems BORING in contrast.

Find something that excites you and work towards it with all your heart. That’s my key tip for control over your weekend rhythms in high school.

Monthly Rhythms of High School Time Management

Now, MONTHLY rhythms in high school largely tend to take care of themselves, since the weeks roll by so darn quickly.

Still, it’s worth asking yourself in advance: What medium-sized HW assignments, tests, or projects will require a weeks or more of preparation?

And, what will be the highest-stress months of the year?

Is it possible you could think through your schedule, predict those busiest calendar months in advance and maybe plan for them a bit extra?

Here’s another thought - can you meet teachers on a monthly basis, during office hours or after school just to check in and show some interest?

Are there any other MONTHLY rhythms that can easily be added to your calendar?

Use a giant wall planner to map out the school year in broad sketches for any projects, events or studying that will take between a week to three weeks, because these medium-sized projects and exams will dominate your MONTHLY rhythms in high school.

Yearly Rhythms of High School Time Management

Now, when it comes to your YEARLY time-management rhythms in high school, you want to be building your life around your very biggest goals:

Then there are all the hoops you have to jump through for high school and college.

Stuff like final exams, SAT prep and ACT prepcollege applications and college readiness, or winning college scholarships - all will be demanding your attention, so it’s easy to lose focus on what truly matters to you.

(By the way, be sure to contact us if you need help with SAT/ACT test prep or college apps!)

Make Sure To Plan Your Year In Advance

You need to brainstorm all the biggest moments of the coming school year and plan literally everything around those things.

Personally, I like to start with your vacations, especially those which could be planned around college visits.

Or, thinking ahead to SAT / ACT prep and verbal skills, you might take a family ROAD trip instead of flying across the country for a ski trip - because it may be easier to study and build your vocabulary, and to do extra free reading, in the long car rides.

On the other hand you might get a summer job - or NOT - depending on what your goals for the upcoming school year are.

The right job could be a brilliant college resume-booster, OR it could just eat time on your calendar that you could use for something much more impressive and personal.

The point is, you need to PLAN for it all by brainstorming, anticipating, and creating plans A through C so that the BIGGEST key moments of your year are coordinated properly and you have backup plans for any potential disasters.

The WORST thing is if all the cycles of your yearly events and projects align at the same time and you AREN”T expecting it and you DON’T have any plan to manage the stress and all the work.

This much stress will cause you to become “reactionary” in terms of your YEARLY goals like having a good GPA or getting into college - floundering to stay afloat and gasping desperately across the finish line.

Look - it’s bad ENOUGH to get behind the curve on a DAILY or WEEKLY basis, but at least you can catch up later on daily assignments with a few great days or weeks of productivity.

But, if you end up floundering on your YEARLY targets like your Junior-year GPA or getting into college, it can really set you back in terms of reaching your biggest and coolest life goals.

Yet at the same time, it never seems all that urgent to sit down and plan your entire YEAR out - which makes the situation deceptively dangerous.

Time Management Challenges In “Real Life”

The difficulties are the same in so-called REAL LIFE, but even worse:

No one will ever ask you to sit down and CONTEMPLATE what you want to ACHIEVE with your life - who you want to BECOME - what you want to DO.

The only way to become the person you want to be is to have some kind of habit - some personal routine that helps you decide if the progress of your YEARS is aligning with the LIFE you want.

That’s why it’s SO important to pause right now, especially in high school, for 10 to 15 minutes and think about your yearly objectives and roughly sketch them in on your big calendar.

Reflect On Your Changing Rhythms of Time Management

There’s one more thing I want you to think about in terms of your yearly progress, and this is something that belongs in your time-management journal.

Take a moment to pause and write about the following question:

How will your life change over the new few years, from 9th grade to 10th, 11th and 12th grade, all the way to freshman year of college?

If you’ve already gotten through some of those years, please pause and REFLECT on how things have changed for you over those years…

Think in terms of your schedule, your time management skills, your stress levels, your long-term and short-term goals, and anything else that this prompt brings to mind.

REFLECT on your yearly and life-long rhythm and ask where you have been and where you are going.

We are not fixed, unchanging personalities. Take time to think about how you’ve changed in the past few years.

In fact, I have a fun yet profound exercise you to do just that.

Reflect On Life With This Easy Exercise

I want you to think back to yourself in 5th grade.

Picture the stuff that made you happy back then.

What did you LOVE to do most - and get super-excited about? What was your personality like?

5th grade is a great year because you’re actually surprisingly grown-up - you know at least a little bit about life - but you haven’t taken in all the outside influences of the outside world, like advertising, parents, teachers…

And 5th graders are still very naive in a charming way - they are very direct with their thoughts and deeds in a lot of ways.

So think back to your likes and dislikes in 5th grade.

In fact, I think you should step away from the article and brainstorm for 5 or 10 minutes on this - I promise, it’s worth it.

Don’t worry, I’ll still be here when you’re done… so go ahead and do that right now!

… Did you do it?

The 5th-Grade Exercise Reveals Truths About Ourselves

It’s kind of funny, but I’ve learned that the kid we were back in 5th grade is often a HUGE window into what we really care about deep down.

This exercise reveals to us aspects of ourselves that are really TRUE –

And although the specific outward expression may change over time, we will always have those traits and motivations within us.

What I’ve Learned From the 5th-Grade Exercise

For example, for myself when I was in 5th grade, I loved cool fast machines and stuff like cars and jet planes…

I loved building FORTS with my classmates and doing LEGOS on my own, I really LOVED exploring outside, I loved to read and learn things on my own –

I really liked to explore and work and learn on my own and I was very independent.

And you can see EXACTLY how this all has manifested in my life now that I’m 28, and that’s like 16 years later, because now motorcycling and going fast is one of my favorite hobbies, and particularly all the legos and fort-building has returned in the shape of my entrepreneurship and business-building!

Which is a LOT like getting my classmates to work together and build a fort in 5th grade, surprisingly.

Use This Exercise To Reach Personal Goals Sooner

Now bring it back - how could I have done a better job for myself of figuring all this out about myself EARLIER and maybe trying my first business idea a few years sooner?

Because I never GOT the advice I’m giving you now, there was no reason at the time for me to figure out how 5th grade actually connects to real life.

So I want you to take this very seriously, as funny as the 5th grade idea might sound, because it could save you YEARS of frustration and get you to your ACTUAL personal goals much sooner.

Review of High School Time-Management Rhythms

So, this has been an overview of how you might conceptualize different rhythms and levels of energy and momentum from the hourly to the yearly and the lifetime level.

Thanks for reading as I tried to explain some of my “deeper” thoughts on life and time management that I hope will be meaningful to you as a high schooler.

Now like I said at the beginning this might click more with the less rational and analytical type minds and more with the creative and artistic types BUT I could be completely wrong about that and I need your advice!

Leave A Comment About Yourself!

SO, whether you consider your personality more analytical-minded or more creative-minded, leave a note in the comments section because I’d really like to know what type you are, what you loved in 5th grade, and if you think this lesson makes sense or not.

It makes sense to ME, but I might be the crazy one, so I need your direct feedback on this to know if it makes sense to anyone else!

Drop me a quick comment on what YOU liked most when you were a 5th grader and what you took away from this video, and I’ll see you in the next 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.

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