Time Management

Time is a scarce commodity in college – possibly for the first time in your life you will need to think about how you spend your days. As a full-time student, school is a full-time job. It is expected that you work 2-3 hours outside of class for every hour spent in class. Given this, in addition to other commitments, it is easy to get over-whelmed. Developing a plan for time management is hard work, but it is worth the effort.

Five steps to successful time management:

1. Set specific academic and personal goals
2. Create a term calendar, recording major events
3. Create a weekly schedule of your classes, labs, meetings, etc
4. Decide on specific times to work on each course
5. Make a to-do list for each day the night before or during breakfast.

Define your Goals

  • Immediate and longer term goals are will assist you in prioritizing your activities
  • Make sure your goals are SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound.
  • Prioritize and organize your work:
    § Divide projects/assignments into smaller tasks – develop a timeline for completing these individual components
    § Prioritize. Determine which tasks are most important – focus on these first, before they become urgent
    § Create a calendar and/or list of things that need to be accomplished with dates and deadlines
    § Allow for flexibility/changes
    § Develop a regular routine while learning how to manage your time and work
    § Reward yourself for meeting goals/accomplishing tasks

Develop & maintain a schedule that accommodates your needs and helps you to achieve your goals

  • Create a schedule that works for you. This personal approach gives you the flexibility to include the things that are most important to you and takes into account your personal style.
  • Your personal style: some things to keep in mind:
    § When are you most alert (are you a morning or night person?)
    § How much time/energy is needed for each subject?
    § What type of work environment works best for you?
    § Do you do better studying alone or in groups?
    § Do you take advantage of the help (e.g., tutoring) that is available?
    § What are your time wasters? When do you tend to waste time?
    § Do others contribute to your inefficient time management?  If so, how?

Tools to Help You Get Organized

Some things to consider when designing your schedule

  • Record all class times and regular commitments (e.g., practice, meetings, work, etc.)
  • Record all activities you want/need to do on a regular basis (e.g., exercise, eating times, sleep, etc.)
  •  Block out study/review time for each class
    § Keep in mind your preferences for study (time of day, place, etc.)
    § Longer blocks of time (while taking short breaks) allow for serious engagement in your work
    § 2-3 hours of work out of class is recommended for each hour spent in class
  •  Keep some blocks empty to allow for last minute changes – personal or academic things that may come up
  • Keep time open for fun/relaxation/socializing

Additional Resources: