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					Time Management and Organization Skills:
 A Basic Toolbox for Building a Solid Learning

           Ali Zidel Meyers, MSW
            Meyers Learning Center


             Is this your child?
• Impeccably organized
• Absolutely efficient with
• Plans and executes
  projects like clockwork
• An eager learner with
  intrinsic motivation

A more realistic scenario…?

    The Learning Journey

The greatest thing in this world is not so much
where we are, but in what direction we are
moving. -Oliver Wendell Holmes


                  •    Who I am…
                  •    Why I’m here…and
                       what you won’t

       The Big Picture
    Organization                   Role Modeling
 Time Management                Directed Instruction
    Study Skills                     Set Setting
                                    Limit Limits


               SUCCESS FACTORS


             Roles to Play
• We all have roles we play on our journeys
  through life.
• The work of children is play, through which
  they learn and grow.
• Playground, classroom, soccer field,
• Children learn everywhere.

          Teaching Techniques: Introduction

        Parents as Teachers
• Your child’s learning does not stop in the
  classroom, of course, but extends to all other
  spheres of life.
• So, in addition to whatever work comprises our
  days, we are all teachers. Every one of us.

             Teaching Techniques: Introduction

      You are always teaching…
• You teach by example—directly
  and indirectly.
• Nervous? Do not fear.
• We are all natural born teachers
  and learners.
• Your children are teachers, as
  well as learners, too.
• You don’t need to have all the

            Teaching Techniques: Introduction

   How are you always teaching?
    Children need models, not critics.
• Role modeling: They watch what you do and
  mirror that. They do as you do.
• Direct instruction: Show and tell. (―Here’s how
  to wash my car…‖ ―This is how to do your
• Limit setting: Help them understand what’s safe
  and not, what’s acceptable and what’s
  not…where and what the boundaries are

       The Big Picture
    Organization                   Role Modeling
 Time Management                Directed Instruction
 Time Management
    Study Skills                     Set Limits


               SUCCESS FACTORS


                Learning Tools: Introduction

             The Basic Toolbox
•   We all have tools for our work.
•   Adult tools
•   Kid tools
•   Now: basic tools you can teach
    your kids to help them create
    success in their learning journeys.

               Learning Tools: Introduction

             The Basic Tools
1. Time management

2. Organization

3. Study Skills: Learning to Learn
   effectively and efficiently

Dealing with Time Management

              Learning Tool: Time Management
                 Mastering Time

• We must use time as a tool, not as a couch.
  -- John F. Kennedy
• Some parents think their kids need to work
  harder, when what they really need to learn to
  do is work SMARTER (more efficiently).
• Two sisters in the study

• ―Slice it up‖ exercise

              Learning Tool: Time Management
             Teaching Technique: Role Modeling

  How do I teach my kids to manage time
• ―Do as I say…‖ They will do as you do!
• If you want your child to learn effective time
  management, you must model it
   – Show up for appointments on time (or early).
   – Have all materials at hand to avoid wasting time during
   – Refer to the start time, remind of the end time, and
     pace activities aloud as you move through them.

            Learning Tool: Time Management
           Teaching Technique: Role Modeling

• Time chart (you, your child)—where do
  the hours go?
• Time estimates vs. real time (chart it for a
  week or two in your planner or on a
  notepad, then examine your time
• Time Monsters (you, your child)

          Learning Tool: Time Management
         Teaching Technique: Role Modeling

• Did you know you have to play ping-pong for
  12 hours to lose one pound?
• Examine ping-pong tactics you may use in
  your own life. Look for ways to make your own
  tasks more efficient, and teach your child how
  to also.
  – Perfect formatting
• Buy an old-fashioned (analog) watch and
  wear it; have your child wear one so s/he can
  see the ticking away of seconds to hours--
  how time moves.
               Learning Tool: Time Management
   Teaching Technique: Direct Instruction and Collaboration

Everyday lessons: the world is your
  playground, your laboratory, your library…
• Kids can learn effective time management
  in the context of simple, everyday tasks.
• Teach time-saving techniques for computer
  work, document saving conventions…
• Enable your child to partner with you in
  planning and owning their time.
  Empower them to own and help manage
  their time with you.

                 Learning Tool: Time Management
     Teaching Technique: Direct Instruction and Collaboration

Architects of time: Practice together--build a time
  management plan for a set time period.
• Discuss the given tasks for a particular day,
  weekend, or week ahead.
• Map it out a plan on a calendar/poster (kids who are
  visual learners can be great illustrators). Be specific.
• Build in contingencies.
• Execute the plan. Evaluate its effectiveness.
• Reflect: what went well and what do you want to do
  differently next time?
                Learning Tool: Time Management
    Teaching Technique: Direct Instruction and Collaboration

• Teach your child to estimate how long tasks
  will take, then add a cushion (double it).
• Think out loud about time as you move
  through the day. Help build time awareness.
   – Time-based word problems: managing
     HW, handling schedule demands
• Use blocks and manipulatives (make it real)
• Kids can be clueless about time, and they
  have no access to your internal dialogue.

                Learning Tool: Time Management
                 Teaching Technique: Set Limits

• Do you fear limits?
• Some hesitate to set limits, fearful of
  imposing a rigid structure like what they
  experienced as a child.
• Wanting to give kids everything
• Conflict avoidance
• Obstacles to teaching time management skills

               Learning Tool: Time Management
                Teaching Technique: Set Limits

• As kids move from dependence to independence,
  they need limits around time, to teach them how to
  use it effectively.
• Teach ―First things first!‖… ―The sooner you do it,
  the sooner you’re through it!‖
• Students should have a regular study routine:
  their working hours (no distractions, no
• A bliss list or ―time tokens‖ can be used to
  reinforce the notion of working hard, then enjoying
  free time.
       Learning Tool: Time Management
        Teaching Technique: Set Limits

• Decide on priorities.
• Discuss them with your child.
• Problem-solve together when conflicts
  around time use occur.
• Time monsters can be postponed until
  after school work is done, potentially used
  as rewards.

            Learning Tool: Organization

                What is it?

• or·gan·ize (ôrg-nz)
• v. or·gan·ized, or·gan·iz·ing, or·gan·iz·es
• To put together into an orderly, functional,
  structured whole.
• To arrange in a coherent form; systematize
• To arrange in a desired pattern or structure
• To arrange systematically for harmonious or
  united action
                     Learning Tool: Organization

         Organization Demystified
• The secret’s in the system.
• The key to organization is not so much the type of
  system you choose, but in creating a system that
  works for you and using it.
• Does your form = your function? Are you wearing
  hockey gear to play tennis?
   –   How are your living spaces designed? (Or aren’t they?)
   –   How easy is access to things that you need?
   –   How often does clutter create an obstacle in your life?
   –   It’s not only the stuff of disorganization that drains energy
       and time; it’s the state itself.

               Learning Tool: Organization
          Teaching Technique: Direct Instruction

• Two basic elements to organizing (for kids):
  1. Their stuff/space
     • Planner, binders, study space
     • Bedroom/dorm room, household: drop spot, crates,
       filing containers
     • Weekly Weed-outs, 10-Minute Tune-ups (daily) for
  – Tell them directly what you expect and show
    them how to do it. Ask them to ―teach the
    teacher‖ to check their understanding.
  2. Their time (this is coming up)
              Learning Tool: Organization
           Teaching Technique: Role Modeling

• You can hire an expert, read books, surf the
  web--but the system you devise for yourself
  (or with your child) will probably be the most
  effective and enduring.
• Find the areas of your life that are most
  disorganized. Figure out why. Develop an
  organizational plan of attack.
• The goal is not to have the fanciest
  system, but one that works well for you.
                Learning Tool: Organization
             Teaching Technique: Role Modeling

• Start with one thing (desk drawer) or one time
  increment for bigger projects (30 minutes a week in
  the closet, garage, etc.).
• Implement some aspect of your organizational plan
  each week. Examples:
  – File, Pile (to handle NOW), or Recycle your mail.
  – Go to to remove your name from
    junk mail and solicitation lists
  – Do a weekly weed-out: dump out your purse, wallet,
    briefcase and weed out once a week. Rid yourself of
    clutter you don’t need.
  – Take an hour each week to de-clutter photo boxes and
    create photo albums.

              Learning Tool: Organization
            Teaching Technique: Limit Setting

• Rescue selectively.
  – What are you doing for your children right now
    that they can do for themselves?
  – Fast forward any of these behaviors another
    5-10 years. Will they have adopted these
    behaviors or still be looking to others to do it
    for them?
  – Logical consequences, natural outcomes
  – Point out discrepancies between goals and
Create the conditions…
Be a farmer                …not a fly

• Wake a sleeping neighbor.

• Get up and stretch.

• Congratulate yourself.

• You’ve made it half way!

Organization and Effective
Time Use Go Hand in Hand
    Direct Instruction:
    • Teach your kids to
      – Think ahead.
      – Plan ahead.
      – Act now. (A planner is a terrific tool for
        practicing these concepts).
    • Gantt Chart
    • Empower your child to begin to self-
      manage; these skills will be crucial
      throughout the life span.
      Organization and Effective Time Use

                                                               •    Gantt Chart
                                                               •    Tasks
                                                               •    Timeframe (start/end)
                                                               •    Milestone due dates
                                                               •    Post prominently in
                                                                    two places
                                                                    (Agenda/planner, wall)


You’ve got the power…use it.
•   Consider every single thing your child
    considers a birthright:
    •   Unlimited phone access
    •   Unlimited kitchen access
    •   Hobby time
    •   Cell phone time
    •   Computer access
    •   Allowance
          These are privileges, not rights.
           You can grant (or deny) them!

              Learning Tool: Study Skills

                 Study Skills
        Strong Study Skills Save Time
• Does your child know how to work smarter, not
• Many kids waste time ―studying‖ the wrong
  things. Study skills create effective and efficient
• Study Skills: handling homework, note-taking (in
  class and from texts), test-preparation, test-
  taking, reading comprehension, reading to write
• Resources: books, people                            36
Misconceptions and Corrections

       6 Common Misconceptions
1.   Life must be a Juggling Act.
2.   Multi-tasking = Effective Time
3.   I should let my kids figure this stuff out
     on their own.
4.   I’m hopeless; I’m an organizational/time
     management wreck, therefore I can’t
     teach these skills.
5.   My children are hopeless. I’ve tried
     telling them what to do, and it’s not
6.   The Felt Fishy Syndrome

    Misconception Correction #1:
     Life must be a juggling act.
•   Do you feel victimized by time?
•   Schedule/commitment overload
    and stress
•   We have choices.
•   Your time is your life.
•   Work on creating balance,
    teaching balance.
•   Become a time manager rather
    than a time martyr.
 Misconception Correction #2:
 Multi-tasking Means Effective
       Time Management

• We all do it. Is it
• University of
  Michigan study

not all it’s cracked up to be
                 • For all tasks studied:
                 • Subjects lost time when they
                   had to switch from one task to
                 • Time costs increased with the
                   complexity of the tasks.
                 • Time costs of multi-tasking:
                   You've got to
                     (a) want to switch tasks
                     (b) make the switch
                     (c) get warmed back up on what
                        you're doing.
Multi-tasking Takes Time
 1. Translation: multi-tasking can actually
    lengthen task time.
 2. Other problems: distraction, car
    accidents, relationship difficulties,
 3. The real world: multi-tasking is a
    reality of our modern society… some
    parents feel it’s important that their
    kids know how to do it
 4. Be conscious.

Misconception Correction #3: Let
 them figure it out on their own.
 •   Developmental factors
 •   Time is an abstract concept.
     • Would you teach Algebra to a 3rd grader?
 •   Future-thinking
 •   Realistic Expectations
 •   Your involvement

Misconception Correction #4: I’m hopeless.
  • Start small.
  • Examples: Each time you walk through a room,
    put something away.
  • Each time you sift through the mail, practice
    the OHIO principal (Only Handle It Once).
  • Get a large family calendar to post in the
    kitchen. Use it as a master planning tool and
    invite everyone else to do the same.
  • Check out

    Misconception Correction #5:
        My child is hopeless.
• Don’t give up. Do you think that your
  children are un-teachable? Of course not.
• Any kind of behavioral change takes
  time, effort, and lots of practice.
• Have you been a farmer or a fly? …Work
  to create solutions that really fit. Your
  answers may not be the right ones for your
• Recognize what your child does well; give
  specific praise when you see it happening.
    Misconception Correction #6:
     The Felt Fishy Syndrome

There’s always someone doing a “better” job…

            You are enough
• Whoever you are as a parent, you bring
  your unique perspective and gifts.
• Celebrate your style and strengths.
• ―Mistakes‖ (yours or your child’s) are
  learning moments, not to be feared.
• "Before I got married, I had 6 theories
  about bringing up children. Now I have
  6 children and no theories." - John Wilmot

       The Big Picture
    Organization                         Role Modeling
 Time Management                      Directed Instruction
    Study Skills                           Set Limits


               SUCCESS FACTORS
              SUCCESS FACTORS


                      Success Factors

               Success Defined
• Expand definitions of success
  (beyond grades and sameness)
• Success: emerging, developing
  abilities and habits that foster
  –   Learning
  –   Independence
  –   Creative problem-solving
  –   Effective time management
  –   Use of constructive learning tools
  –   Goal setting and achievement
                      Success Factors

      Building Blocks for Success
•   Collaboration: Student, Parent(s), Teachers,
    (Tutor, Counselor), together comprise the ―team‖.
•   Clear expectations: Student knows what’s
    expected and how to deliver it.
•   Consistency: Only way to build enduring habits.
•   Support: Student knows s/he has resources for
    support and utilizes them.
•   Problem-Solving: A method for handling
    obstacles and conflict (more on next slide).

                     Success Factors

  Problem-Solving With Your Child
• What is the concern behind the complaint?
• Bring the concern to your child at a good time, in
  a way s/he can understand, in a dispassionate
• ―I feel…‖
• ―I need…‖
• ―What do you feel? What do you need?‖
• ―Let’s work together to find a solution that both of
  us can live with…‖ (problem-solving process)
                     Success Factors

• Seek feedback. Say “No, sir” to “Yes, sir”
  – Kids may “Yes” you so that they can speed up an
    uncomfortable process (one in which they sense they
    have fallen short of your expectations).
  – Make sure that solutions developed are REALISTIC
    for your child.
  – Maintain accountability CONSISTENTLY. If goals are
    not met, figure out why with your child, and adjust
  – Explore goals, rewards (intrinsic and extrinsic),
    privileges (postponing until agreed-upon activities
    are met).
                  Success Factors

         Additional Ingredients…

• Notice (to yourself and aloud to others) your
  children’s assets and efforts.
• Give your child one specific, genuine
  compliment a day.
• When other attempts miss the mark, empower
  your child through creative, collaborative
  problem-solving (their ingenuity is amazing).
          Supporting Success:
          Dealing with Setbacks
    When in doubt, resist the SHOUT!
• Acknowledge difficulty, empathize
• Explain relevance
• Help your child find other options.
• Emphasize solutions, not what the student
  should have done.
• Practice accountability
• Ignite Motivation
• Praise successes, big and small

    When to Consider Seeking Help
•    These challenges are all NORMAL!
•    Kids need trial and ERROR to learn,
     problem-solve, figure it out…expect that
•    In some cases, it makes sense to seek
     outside help:
       1.   Tapped out
       2.   Relationship unraveling
       3.   Potential and performance out of sync
       4.   Your child asks for help
       5.   Your child seems depressed or anxious

Patience…the Seed of Self-preservation.

• Why haven’t you quit…
  – How easy is it to break a bad habit?
• A process, not a light switch
• Any kind of behavioral change takes
  time, effort, and lots of practice.

           Success Factors:
  Patience…the Seed of Self-preservation.
• Create realistic expectations
• Praise progress of any size (baby steps)
  generously (it’s free!), specifically, and
• Change takes time. Have faith in yourself and
  your child.
• Plant and nourish your seeds of patience; plant
  and nourish their seeds of growth.

              In Summary…

• Teaching organization and time management
  skills builds a foundation for learning.
• Our kids learn from US; provide tools and
  strategies through Role Modeling, Direct
  Instruction, and Limit Setting.
• Recognize successes. Problem-Solve through
• Collaborate to foster buy-in and self-motivation.
• Consistency provides a platform for success.
The Journey toward Success
The student who’s developing abilities and
habits that foster:
–   Learning
–   Independence
–   Creative problem-solving
–   Effective time management
–   Use of constructive learning tools
–   Goal setting and achievement

Nurture these aspects of your child’s
development, and you will witness success.

Time Management and Organization Skills:
     A Basic Toolbox for Building a Solid Learning Foundation

            Ali Zidel Meyers, MSW
              Meyers Learning Center