Philip Stanhope famously recommended that we take care of the minutes, for the hours will take care of themselves. Considering how much the 4th Earl of Chesterfield was able to accomplish in his time, he may have been on to something. Follow the industrious example of each era’s movers and shakers by applying our 12 Days of Time Management for Teens:
Take Small Bites
An old, familiar saying begins with the appalling yet intriguing question, “How do you eat an elephant?” The glib answer, “One bite at a time,” establishes that the issue on the table, so to speak, is not pachyderm pot pie but rather an insight into how to approach any large, daunting task.
We often ask students this admittedly distasteful question when addressing just how challenging earning one’s very best scores on the SAT and ACT can be. Breaking down all the challenges arrayed against a test-taker along with the broad body of academic and technical skills needing to be mastered to truly maximize potential paints a portrait of a seemingly insurmountable challenge.
But, as another old aphorism asserts, Rome was not built in a day. Every great work far exceeds the ability of any one person to achieve in a short span of time. True greatness occurs not all at once, but step by painstaking step.
This is how you can earn your best test scores, create your most masterful works, or transform yourself from average to amazing in just about anything. Break down any large task into smaller steps and tackle them one by one. Take one bite at a time… before you know it, you’ve eaten that elephant. Time for another!
The 12 Days of Time Management for Teens is inspired by and draws liberally from Etienne Garbugli’s excellent Slideshare presentation, 26 Time Management Hacks I Wish I’d Known at 20. Obviously, we think this advice is valuable even for students younger than 20!