Teenagers who’ve grown up in the Multi-Tasking Era are expected to be able to do many things at once; but even though they love to watch TV, do homework, and chat on Facebook at the same time, most have yet to learn how to apply that same deftness to managing the myriad of demands upon their schedules. Every parent can recall an instance in which they’ve asked their teen whatever happened to that book report that was due last week, or when their next test is, only to receive a blank look in return. And who can blame them? Even though time management is the key to success in high school, college, and beyond, the average school planner gives teens very little tools or training for properly planning out their schedules. These planners are set up for students to enter tasks on the days they were assigned, not when they’re due, so students learn to treat a planner as a glorified calendar, rather than as a powerful tool for taking control of every aspect of their lives.
The Merit Planner is that tool. It’s designed to let students organize tasks according to their due dates, and to block off the exact amount of time needed for every homework assignment, study session, or extracurricular activity. This gives them complete knowledge of and control over their schedules, as well as the freedom to enjoy their downtime without nagging guilty or uncertainty. With each day of the week divided into 15-minute intervals from 7am to midnight, not only is there plenty of space for precisely recording the time needed for every task and activity, there’s also just as much space for nights and weekends, allowing you to easily see your whole schedule for the week at a glance and avoid those inevitable conflicts between family, friends, and schoolwork. It’s also a good way to get the whole family on the same page; I have clients who start their weeks by sitting down around the breakfast table and discussing everyone’s plans, which is especially handy for efficiently dividing the labor for family chores like spring cleaning that might otherwise consume entire weekends, or coordinating hectic carpool schedules.
The Merit Planner gives parents an easy way to see if their teen is on top of everything, and the peace of mind that comes from knowing that they are. Most importantly, it empowers teens with critical life skills, and endows them with the confidence and self-esteem that can only come from being in control of their busy lives.
The 2011 edition of the Merit Planner is available at the Merit Bookstore