Managing Extracurricular Activities and Schoolwork
by Pamela Rice Hahn

Whether you want to add one more extracurricular activity to your schedule or you're trying to decide how to manage the ones you already participate in, there are a number of things you need to keep in mind so that you effectively manage your time. Extracurricular activities are designed to help you take advantage of your skills and enhance your overall personality. Participation in clubs and sports can increase your chances of getting into college. That's why it's so important that you make sure that your schoolwork doesn't suffer in the process.

Realistically Plan Your Schedule    to top

As boring as implementing time-management techniques may sound, it's something that you'll need to do. You only have so many hours in a day, after all. Grab a notebook and a pen or pencil. First figure out how many hours you have from the time you get out of school each day until you go to bed. Next, write down the answers to these questions:

  1. How many hours a night do you need to set aside to study and complete your homework?
  2. How much time will each extracurricular activity take a night?
  3. How much time are you expected to spend doing chores around the house?
  4. How much time do you want to allow for talking to your friends on the phone?
  5. How much time do you spend watching television?
  6. How much time do you spend on the Internet?
  7. Can your family afford any extra expense that may result from your participation in these activities? (If they can't, you'll need to allow time for a weekend job to help pay for any added costs.)
Time Tip
Don't forget to calculate the time you'll spend in transit. How long will it take you to get places, and how will you get there? Can a parent or someone else drive you? Or, will you need to find your own transportation or use public transportation?

Figuring Out How to Make It Work    to top

Now that you know the number of hours you need to "have it all," calculate whether or not it's possible. Add up the hours you wrote down for each of the questions above. Subtract that total from the number of hours you have after school. If there's a deficit (you need more hours than you have), you'll have to decide what you're willing to give up to find that needed time.

Perhaps you can negotiate with the parent who assigns household chores and do some of that work on the weekends. Maybe you're spending too much time watching television. (Would it be more practical for you to tape the shows so that you can watch them once you're in bed for the night, zapping through the commercials so that it takes you less time than if you viewed them in real time?) Maybe you can't have it all. But, with some careful planning, you can come close!

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