In this lesson, students discuss the time management issues and watch the TED talk by Laura Vanderkam on how to gain control over your free time. They learn some vocabulary and do a mini project to figure out their priorities.

Age: 16+
Level: Upper-Intermediate+
Time: 50 mins
Lesson type: Speaking and Listening
Number of students: 1-8

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Table of contents:

Activity 1. Read the quotes

Can you guess the missing phrase? It’s the topic of the lesson.

“This is the key to _____ — to see the value of every moment.” (Menachem Mendel Schneerson)

“I think _____ as a label encourages people to view each 24-hour period as a slot in which they should pack as much as possible”. (Tim Ferriss)

“Have you ever noticed some people are able to stay organized while getting a massive quantity of work accomplished, while others appear to be busy but never actually produce results? _____ is the key to becoming a successful entrepreneur.” (Clay Clark)

Which quote do you like most of all?

Teacher’s notes

Lead-in — 5 mins

Aim: to engage students in the context of the lesson.
Procedure: Ask SS to read the quotes and try to guess the missing phrase. Elicit some ideas and give the correct answer. 

Key: time management

Tell SS that you’re going to talk about time management today and ask if it’s an important issue for them. If you have enough time, ask them in pairs to choose the quote they like and explain why.

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Activity 2. Discuss the questions with your partner

  1. How well can you manage your time?
  2. What are your most popular time eaters?
  3. How often do you accomplish all your plans for a given day? Is your daily plan often destroyed by urgent situations?
  4. What skills are required for effective time management?
  5. How to eliminate procrastination?
Teacher’s notes

Discussion 7 mins

Aim: to practice speaking for fluency.
Procedure: Ask your SS to answer the questions in pairs. Conduct content feedback: let them share one interesting fact about their partner.

Activity 3. How often do you say “I don’t have time for …”

Do you really mean it? Watch the talk and take notes of the key points:

From your memory, complete the sentences.

  1. When people say “I don’t have time’ it means ‘It’s not a _____ ”.
  2. To figure out what your priorities are, there are two techniques. 1) Pretend it’s the end of the next year and give yourself a _____ _____ . 2) Write next year’s _____ _____ letter now. Don’t send it.
  3. We put our priorities into our schedules first by thinking through our weeks before we are in them. A really good time to do this is _____ _____ .
  4. Make yourself a three-category priority list: _____ , relationships, self. Making a three-category list reminds us that there should be something in all three categories.
  5. Anyway, in 168 hours a week, I think we can find time for _____ _____ to you. If you want to spend more time with your kids, you want to study more for a test you’re taking, you want to exercise for three hours and volunteer for two, you can.
  6. Small moments can have great power. You can use your bits of time for bits of _____ . Maybe it’s choosing to read something wonderful on the bus on the way to work.

Compare with your partner and then check using the transcript. Do you agree with ideas 1-6?

Teacher’s notes

Watching for gist 20 mins

Aims: to practice listening and notetaking.
Procedure: Ask SS if they often say that they have no time. Do they really have no time or they just don’t want to do something?

Set the task. SS watch the video and take notes of the key information they hear. Ask SS to share their opinion about this TED talk. Play the video.

After that, ask SS in pairs to complete the gaps and then find the answers in the transcript.

1. priority
2. performance review and family holiday now
3. friday afternoons
4. career
5. what matters
6. joy

Finally, ask SS to discuss the points. If they think these pieces of advice are useful and why.

Activity 4. Match the halves of the phrases from the talk

1. to blame smb for
2. to do
3. to shave bits of time off
4. to keep track
5. to have a demanding
6. a performance
7. to work on
8. break smth into
a) errands
b) doable steps
c) your goals
d) job
e) review
f) your tardiness
g) of time
h) everyday activities

Ask your partner 5 questions using the words above.

Teacher’s notes

Vocabulary work 8 mins

Aim: to practice more words on the topic “Time management”.
Procedure: These are the words from the TED talk. Let SS match the halves of the phrases. Then SS make 5 questions and ask them their partners.

1. to blame smb for your tardiness
2. to do errands
3. to shave bits of time off everyday activities
4. to keep track of time
5. to have a demanding job
6. a performance review
7. to work on your goals
8. break smth into doable steps

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Activity 5. A mini project

Do the tasks which Laura Vanderkam suggested. Compare the answers with your partner.

Write next year’s review
What 3-5 thing would make it a great year for you professionally?
Write the family holiday letter
What 3-5 thing would make it a great year for you personally?
Teacher’s notes

Mini project 7-8 mins

Aims: to engage SS and practise speaking for fluency.
Procedure: SS need to figure out what their priorities are. They make 2 lists: career and personal plans. Then they share this information with their partner. Conduct content feedback: let them share the most interesting information about their partners.

Sum up

2-3 mins

Praise SS for good work and give delayed error correction feedback.

Have a great lesson!

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