Time Management

Student reading and taking notes

As a college student you are likely trying to balance academic, work, social and other personal obligations.  It can be challenging to navigate these aspects as well as having different class expectations and competing deadlines to meet.  Before you start to improve your time management, take into consideration the following steps:

  • Be organized! This is the first and most important step. Have your work in folders for each class so you can avoid having papers scattered all over your room.
  • Avoid procrastination. We all procrastinate to some extent, but putting off projects for too long can lead to unnecessary stress and anxiety.  Working under pressure may be okay (and necessary) at times, but making a habit of it will only wear you down and keep you from achieving your best.
  • Study Quality versus Quantity. You may hear a fellow student say, “I studied 3 hours straight for the DWC Exam.” It is great that the individual disciplined him- or herself for that amount of time, but your brain is like a sponge … you can only absorb so much information at a time. It is better to study hard in 45-minute bursts and then take a break for a few minutes.
  • Review your work as soon as possible. Make sure to review new and old material on the day that you have each class (even if it is only for fifteen minutes right after class). By doing so, you will retain the material longer.
  • The earlier in the day, the better. Work on tasks that require more concentration (e.g., dense reading or difficult problem sets) in the afternoon or early evening, when you are fresh. For the most part, you will be more alert in the afternoon and early evening than you are late at night.

How To Use Your Assignment Book Effectively

  1. When you get your syllabi from your classes, make a list of due dates for major assignments in every class (papers, tests, quizzes, and projects). If you have an assignment book, record your assignments in the daily calendar as well. This will give you the opportunity to see, at a glance, what is due monthly, weekly, and daily.
  2. In the back of your assignment book (or on a blank page), use a ruler and set up a grade log page. This will give you an idea of where you stand in your classes, and it will provide you with a record in the event that your final grade comes into question.

Hold on to all of your homework assignments and any other graded material (have a folder for each course) until you receive your final grade. Mistakes can occur, and grades may be changed as a result. Your records can facilitate this process.

Time Management Method: The Specified Time Schedule

This method will help if you are a person who needs to have more structure and repetition in your schedule. 

  1.  Blank Time Management Schedule.
  2. Block out the times that you will be attending class.
  3. Block out times for any other routine responsibilities (i.e., dinner, work, laundry, etc).
  4. After you have blocked out all responsibilities, look at the available time slots and fill some of them in as “study time.”
    • Pick the times of the day that you are at your best (i.e., I am a morning/afternoon person, so I would schedule a majority of my study time during those hours).
    • It is beneficial to review or study at least one hour for the classes you will be attending that day. If you have math and science classes on Monday, then study at least one hour for math and one hour for science.
    • It is NOT beneficial to study for long stretches of time. When you break up your study time into segments, you will retain more of the material.
  1. When figuring out when to schedule study time, make sure that you schedule some down time for socializing and relaxing. If you do this, then you are more likely to follow through with your commitments.
  2. Structured Time Management Schedule.
  3. Once you have made your schedule, commit to following it for a week. After the week make any necessary adjustments to the schedule and continue to follow it.