Want to be more organized?

Juggling a portfolio of assignments?

Heard of Pomodoro? Heard of Weighted-Points?

Here, red10‘s Paul Gaskell shares advanced time management techniques now being taught and invented by 9th graders.

Time Management Tips From My 9th Grader

This guidance is brought to you courtesy of my daughter as she learned how to manage her portfolio of middle school assignments.

Being a parent who is also a coach presents a challenge when your child needs guiding to solutions around time management and organization. I’ve worked with many clients on solutions to help them get more organized and deliver at their optimal level.

As I approached the conversation, my assumption was that the ideas would only flow one way, if only my daughter would listen to me. After a few false starts, I thought I had the answer… I would ask her what approaches she had used that worked for her? This came after she told me on our previous conversation that she didn’t need help and that she had it under control.

Heard of Pomodoro?

What I wasn’t expecting was her sharing two really useful ideas. Ideas that I’ve been sharing with clients and colleagues over the last few months:.

The first is the Pomodoro technique which advocates working in a series of short time intervals of 25 minutes. There’s real evidence that this creates greater focus and productivity.

Heard of Weighted-Points?

The second seems to have been my daughter’s own creation – although she acknowledges ideas she’s heard from others played a part.

Her idea is simply that you weight the activities on your to do list and decide how many points you want to get each day.

  • Say you’ve got 10 things to do, you assign the easy tasks 1 point, the most challenging 4 points, and the other tasks 2 or 3 depending on time/difficulty.
  • If your target for the day is 6 points, you can do 1 difficult task and 2 easy tasks, or 6 easy tasks or some combination in between.
  • As you use the system, you can tweak it in terms of how you assess difficulty and or your target for the day.
  • If you’ve got the weights right, you can score most of your points by taking on the activities that are easier to procrastinate on.
  • You also feel a sense of accomplishment, rather than viewing the undone items on your list as a failure.

Multiple Learnings

There are multiple layers to my learning here.

First, they are usable tips to help with organization and productivity.

Second, even if you’ve looked at a problem and seen effective solutions, be open to the insights and the experiences of others (especially your 15-year old), to build on that learning.

And finally, a reminder of the high-value in solutions that someone has developed or helped to develop for themselves.