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Time Management

Are you applying any of your time management techniques in any of your courses or work?


jessi246's picture

Tips on Time Saving

The truth of the matter is, time is a college student’s greatest asset. We’re short on cash, food, and brainpower, but we still have got 24 hours a day, just like everybody else. The way we use this time can dictate the direction of our university lives. If we waste a lot of time on games and friends, there go our grades. If we spend too much time staring at the books and sprinting off to class, there go our brains. It’s important to find a good balance when managing one's time, and that is especially crucial as a college student.

            Don’t spend more time on your homework than you have to. Get it done, and get it done quickly while still doing a good job. You don’t need to stare at that blank page for an hour; really, it’s not helping. Work efficiently and quickly and you’ll have time to spare.

            Avoid sleeping in until noon just because your classes start at one. Get out of bed and get something done! If you've got classes that start later, finish your homework first. Then you can come home and have plenty of time for play.

            Most importantly, don’t overload yourself! You don’t have to take eighteen credits just because that’s the limit. Give yourself some breathing room so you can have time to unwind.


JamieS86's picture

 I agree. It's all about

 I agree. It's all about balance. You can't put off the work indefinitely, but you can't just work all day either.

The other thing I always recommend is getting a calendar and scheduling absolutely everything. When a paper is due, when to start looking for sources, when to start editing, etc. It has always helped me know when I need to be working on something and when I still have some time.

 The other thing that can be helpful is alternating academic and non-academic tasks. Do homework for half an hour, get up and make dinner, do a little more homework, wash the dishes, etc. It helps to keep you from burning out while also making sure your other responsibilities aren't ignored.

Michelle's picture


Time management is not only useful in college but must be applied toward everyday life of goals and objectives. Time management and multitasking take a great deal of patience and persistence to be productive. Things happen. Errors occur and that is when the stop sign needs to flash before your face telling you to stop and breathe. When things are incorrect it's time to take a breakaway or regroup your thoughts for the benefit of your health at the least. After a period of time, you can always restart where you left off.

TiffanyHayes's picture


I am definitely utilizing  time management skills I have learned. In college this is a vital skill to master. Many people don't even realize that this is the issue that is causing them to decline in their studies. I posted before about the importance of a calendar or scheduler to keep track of all obligations and priorities. Well, it even better is to highlight the tasks with different colors according to their importance. This way, you can finish the most important things first, then the next most important, then finally, having done so, you will have time for the least important. The things you WANT to do, but are very important or pressing. Time management like this takes a little effort up front, but in the long run, you are saving time for leisure, which is not only fun, but reduces anxiety and improves grades.

onlinerewardz's picture

well not in my case

Well, I always try to plan my time and my activity for everyday, so that I would not end up carrying over any activity. However, I always have to carry over some activity, sometimes. Although time management is something we need to practice if we really want to use our time well, there is time that some emergency events would come up, and this would cut into your time and mess up your plan for that day. This is something that usually happens to me every time. I never seem to come up with a good strategy or way to avoid this. Maybe another thing that makes me not able to complete my activity for a day in one day is that I play video games for a long time. When I start to play it, it is extremely difficult for me to leave it. I  just hope that as time goes on, I would be able to manage my time well.

ddog510's picture

Work or play

Time is something I struggle with a bit. I have many temptations when it comes to using my time unwisely. I absolutely love video games and love procrastinating on the internet (such as on these forums). It is often hard for me to choose studying over playing.

One thing I like to do is make a list of everything I absolutely need to get done today. If I get all those things finished, I can choose to do whatever I want with no guilt of wasting time. Otherwise, I will feel like I should be studying instead of playing, and that will hinder my enjoyment of my free time.

Alex1017's picture

Time management

Good time management skills can make or break a student in college.  If you cannot manage your time wisely you will not be successful in college.  The key to being successful is knowing when you have time to party, when you should be studying and maintaining a balance between the two.  

I would recommend using tools like Goggle calendars, personal planners, whiteboards, to-do lists, whatever it takes to stay on top of your work while still having a good time!  I personally used a planner each year - At the beginning of the year I took down the key dates from each course schedule.  I then had a better idea of what weeks in the semester would have a heavier workload when compared to others. It's a good idea to have a clear understanding of where you stand and what is coming up in the semester.

FrancesG's picture

Time Management

Time management is crucial to success in school and its practice directly translates to the professional world. A great resource for time management tips and strategies is There are several articles on tools to help develop your time management skills. You will find yourself quickly overwhelmed if you do not discipline yourself to prioritize and separate your time between school, hobbies, personal time, friends, and all the other distractions you encounter on campus. The tool I personally find most effective in keeping track is my phone's calendar. I recommend inputting all class assignments into the calendar and schedule out your time to allow an appropriate amount of time for each assignment. Stick to your schedule as much as possible and you will find you have more time for other activities than you might have thought without "mapping" your days.


cmwolf28's picture

Time Management

Time management is a skill that every individual learns through a process of trial and error, and it is one of the most important skills to ensure success in work and in education. I consider myself to have very good time management skills, and it took a few years to fine tune them. 

My biggest piece of advice is about sleeping away your time, as some have already mentioned. What I did to avoid getting into the habit of sleeping my college day away was to schedule my classes in the morning, so I didn't have the excuse to sleep until 12 just because my class hadn't started yet. This was very effective for me, and because of it, I have about four more hours in my day than many other college students. 

Another important thing I would stress is allotting some time for fun and relaxation in between all of the work. While getting a paper done and studying should come first, students who only separate their time to eat sleep and work will run themselves into the ground. Have some fun in between the stress! 

closetsocialist's picture

I was blessed throughout

I was blessed throughout undergrad. I was one of those people who could start writing a paper at 8 pm the night before it was due and finish by 1am. And I was one of those students who would get an "A" or "A-" on just about everything I submitted. I don't know how I did it; in all honesty, I worried myself to the point of exhaustion on so many occasions. I felt as though I submitted awful papers or assignments most of the time under this work model. Surely, my self-doubt would be erased the minute I received my grade. But it was stressful, nonetheless.

I think some people will look at that and think, "So what, you obviously didn't have to worry about time management because you were able to get by without trying." Let's be clear. I always did my research well ahead of schedule. I had notes and outlines typed up far in advance. I couldn't start a paper from scratch the night before -- but I could write its content. And it didn't always work in my favor. My final semester of undergrad work, I had three huge research papers due in one week. I was sure I'd start writing the content the night before they were due. I had more than enough time to ensure they were written well and handed in on time. Except... that last week, I had bronchitis, and none of my professors would extend the deadlines on my final projects. So I was up to a certain Creek without a paddle, if you catch my drift. I did finish all the assignments on time, including a 20-page paper on Finnish agriculture policy. And I got A's in all the classes, though I don't know how I did on the final projects. 

I would recommend that you get into a rhythm -- separate your papers and projects and studying into components. Papers should be researched a few weeks in advance. They can be written whenever, but if you're not strong with writing, then you need to do a draft or two before you submit the final product. And exams...  Study as much as you need to know a week before the test. Just be careful to follow the course outline in your studies, and I would surely pay attention to what the professor tells you to be mindful of. Most professors conduct review sessions or at least go through the format of the test. It never hurts to ask which information he or she may cover. And you should have plenty of time to study it.

The final tidbit, of course, is to look at all your courses outlines and makes sure there aren't overlapping projects. And if there are, you need to move up the due dates for some projects. Make a mental note of it. Just so you can have enough time to complete the assignment.

Capslock077's picture

Time management

Time management comes and it goes.  Usually, I must utilize all of the time management skills, that I have acquired, on a daily basis.  This makes life easier to live, and it makes things break down into easy to understand blocks of time.  I will have certain things end on odd minutes, but I love numbers, and it is very easy for me to stop and restart things on a dime.  Time management is very important to the world that I live in because I try to fit in as much as possible while working so that I can be ahead the next day at work.  Most times this works out in my favor as I can leave work early on Fridays when all of my work for the week is done.  Time management is a great tool to utilize.

betterintheory's picture

let it flow

I have never really been one for making a specific schedule for my days and sticking to it. And it's not that I can't stick to a schedule. It's that life is random, and you must adjust every day. Some days, you may need to study organic chemistry for two hours, others you may not even need to look at it. So setting aside a specific amount of time for a certain thing doesn't work for me, I just let it flow. Adapt and adjust. Then again, I am not exactly an expert on time management.

CrystalBlue's picture

A Learned Concept

Time management is a major factor in everyone's life, whether they see it or not.  I have learned over the years that time management is not so much staying on a rigid schedule as it is having a game plan for the day at hand.  Before school, I was an at-home mom and had plenty of things demanding my attention.  I had to learn how to incorporate other duties and tasks into my day while not losing time with the demands of having two boys under the age of 5 at home.

By teaching myself time management techniques, I have successfully passed them on to my boys.  While I needed to spend time working with them on hand/eye co-ordination or motor skills, it was equally important to fix a nutritional meal, do laundry or grocery shopping and find time for myself.  Setting a time limit for the task at hand is not a bad thing to do.  You may not finish that task and need to revisit it a bit later in the day, or schedule it in the day, but at least you took the time to focus on it.  My son knows that if he wants to play video games for two hours, then there needs to be two hours of productive work.  What constitutes productive work?  Homework, practicing the drums (yes, I have a full electric set for him INSIDE the house), dusting and vacuuming the living room, mowing the yard, or fixing supper.  All work and no play makes for a dull day, but an honest day's work for an honest day's pay is equally important.


Ashlynn Hall's picture

Time Management

When I first started my classes, I had a lot to learn about time management. Taking classes online hosts its own set of problems. So many things are there to distract you. The Internet is a help and a hindrance to my homework. I could get caught up surfing the internet for hours instead of doing my assignments. I've learned the best thing to do is to make a day-by-day schedule, to outline the things that I want to get done every day, and a time to finish them by. Some would do better making an hourly planner.

BeHereNow's picture

Online Classes Not for Everybody

Online classes are definitely not for everybody. You do have to make yourself do the work. I think it's a good exercise in a self-discipline and a crash course in time management. I've taken several online courses and a few video ones. The videos by DVD programs were an interesting setup. For a few history classes, they involved pretty much watching interesting specials on history like the ones you'd see on PBS. Only it was watching episode after episode after episode. I couldn't make A's in those classes because there was no one to tell me what to expect to would be emphasized on the test. B's. Oh, well.

wedge1020's picture

Time Management

If I employ any sort of time management, it is a subjective and seat-of-the-pants type.

First off, while I may occasionally jot down a TODO list, it is typically only good for the particular day, and really only takes place once in a blue moon (when I may be running against a deadline, and I don't feel my focus or concentration is as good as it should be that particular day)... I refuse to use calendars, I refuse to write down appointments...  Instead, I focus on memorizing important events I need to attend.

In some ways, it is a curse-- events I could care less about but have some type of obligation to attend (read: meetings), I simply cannot forget about. I wish I could, but I ALWAYS remember them. But then again, the same thing goes for all my activities. I simply remember them. This reduces a level of personal bureaucracy that I don't have to consistently maintain nor need to be all centered in a personal office space. I can just get up and go, and all the important activity information is in my head.

Knowing all my important activities and deadlines mentally, I can weave natural priorities for completing them. I try, as with life, not to approach it as a goal, but more of a journey. Particular deadlines may be there, and I may choose to take care of it in advance of the deadline, other times I'll run right up to the deadline. Whatever gives me a better and more fulfilling experience.

This form of meaningful time management reflects my personal philosophy of desiring to always learning something new each day, and to live for great luck and great fortune (not necessarily monetary fortune-- I seek intellectual fortune).

I see some of the discussion has turned to on-line classes. In my view, on-line classes can be JUST as effective as regular in-class classes. However, it depends upon the promotion of self-directed learning allowed on the part of the student. If the course is highly regimented, whether or not the instructor is active, I tend to avoid them, simply because I don't consider that learning. But open-ended classes (in person or on-line) are absolutely wonderful, and I tend to invest the effort in them, because I value what I am learning.

So, while my approach is likely unconventional as compared to your typical "time management" schemes. It works great for me, keeps me sharp, and allows me to focus on the finer things, like more writing!

Ashlynn Hall's picture

Online Classes

I have been having a lot of success in all of my classes. I agree that they are not for everyone, and no one should attempt it until they really know what they are getting into. It requires a lot of discipline, and people that do not have a good grasp on self-control should not attempt it. Another thing that one should keep in mind is the technology involved in taking an online class. It requires proficient use of computers and certain programs. You also need to know where to go if you need help.

MrFinance's picture

Time management is probably

Time management is probably the single most important skill for any college student.  You go to class and listen to the teacher but really most of the learning comes in the work you do outside class.

I don't quite remember the exact time management pattern I had as an undergraduate, but I do know that as a grad student time management is much harder than undergrad, since most grad students hold full-time jobs and go to school at night.  If the student happens to have kids, then it's even harder.

For me, now I have just learned to use my lunch breaks at work to do homework.  The days I don't have class, I get off work, get home, relax for an hour, then take a nap for an hour or two, wake up and study till a little after mid night and then go to sleep.

Sometimes I like to wake up at 4 am and study. I have realized that the early-morning hour is when I'm most receptive to what I read.

johnelsontan's picture

schedule or SCHEDULE?

Do you always find yourself rushing things at the last minute of a project deadline? I do. Imagine it’s already 1 am in the morning, and you’re still up in front of a laptop screen, stressed, up to the point that your brain, if not your eye, will just stop responding, and you’ll have no choice but to ‘end program’. Amazingly, I heard many who don’t sleep. Perhaps you have some personal experiences yourself. While some always say it’s a normal part of being a college student. I realized that it doesn't have to be. What we really need is time management.

             “Time is gold.” Yet, no matter how much gold you have, don’t you agree it can all go to waste without proper management? Even a millionaire can lose all his money in a moment without a wise use of his treasure; thus, coined the term ‘one day millionaire’.

            How can we manage our time wisely? Well, I've read an interesting old book which actually helped me come to this realization. It said that the “plans of the diligent one surely make for advantage”. In other words, make a schedule! Sure you have a schedule on your mind. Everyone has. But making an effective schedule may require more than that. I personally tried to make a hard copy of my daily schedule and posted it beside my bed. To tell you, it really did ‘make for [my] advantage’.  Why don’t you try it?  As a wise millionaire would want a printed inventory of his assets, so does a student, who is rich in gold.

johnelsontan's picture

SCHEDULE that Works!

You have a printed schedule, posted somewhere very visible. You wake up every morning, knowing what to do, when to do but still stressed for school’s load of work. What is wrong? I once asked that question too. I've recently read an interesting new book entitled “Young People Ask, Answers that Work”. In one of its chapter “How Can I Manage My Time?” It stated with one very meaningful illustration.

For instance, your family will be traveling to some place, and your family members started throwing bags in the car trunk until there seems no more place for your bag. What will you do? Won't you unload the trunk and start loading again the bags, but this time, bigger bags first then the smaller ones?

What's the lesson? Know your priority. One book said we must “make sure of the most important things.” Because of this, I tried to reevaluate my schedule and found out that I was spending too much time on recreation, such as playing computer games and watching TV. I immediately changed this habit, and everything seemed to fit into my time. School is really stressful, unless we learn to manage our time effectively. What do you think?

Ashlynn Hall's picture

A Typical Week

For an online student, I really have to organize my priorities and try to figure out how to make things work. My week begins Sunday, with getting out my notebooks and writing out the assignments that I need to do for the week. I begin working on the discussion posts that I need to make. Over the next two days, I work on posting more, reading my texts, and putting my assignments together. By Friday, I usually finish everything, and have Saturday to hang out around the house. It's a very flexible schedule, I admit. Once I have more classes, it will be more difficult.

johnelsontan's picture

Health is Wealth!

Health is wealth. Sadly, many students agree to that, but their time management doesn't. I, myself,  am sometimes one of them. Sometimes, it is already 4 AM, and I'm still up doing research for a school project or reviewing for examinations. Some would even not even get some sleep! Yet, I realize the truth of the first line I stated; health is on the line.

Thus, how important it is not just to say I agree that health is wealth, but it changes one's lifestyle in order to conform to such a principle! While it seems inevitable, actually it is: by having a good time management.

Again, it all goes down to the basic: scheduling. Perhaps, we should also take a closer look on how we use our time. I, myself, had found out that I am hooked up with surfing the net and playing computer games. Yet, even though your sole purpose not to sleep early is to improve your grades, getting enough sleep would actually be one way of doing just that. Try it, you'll see.

Of course, it is not just limited with getting enough sleep. Many students sometimes skip meals or if not, has poor nutritional diet. If you do, better watch out, health is a wealth that can also be stolen too.


H. Jawad's picture

Time Management: how 5s personal management technique can help.

What is 5s? Actually, it is a collection of five Japanese words, and all these words start with the alphabet S. That's why we call them 5s. These Japanese words, with English alternatives, are

  1. Seiri  (sorting)
  2. Seition  (setting in order)
  3. Seiso  (shining)
  4. Seiketsu (standardization)
  5. Shitsuke (self-discipline)

If we follow these words and implement them in our life to improve our personal management, it should help us in better time management as a byproduct. Now let's start implementing these in our life. Take your wallet and implement the first S, sorting, on it. Open your wallet and see the different items, which are present inside. Remove anything, which is not important for you (old receipts or bills, etc.) or anything, which should not be there in your wallet (key of your room). You will feel that your wallet is much lighter and easy to manage. Now apply the second S (setting in order), it means that everything should have a specific place, and everything should be present there. The third S (shining) is that everything should be clean and tidy. The fourth S (standardization) is that you will have a standard procedure for implementation of the first three S on everything. The last S (self-discipline) tells you to follow your standards with self-discipline. Next, let's try to implement the 5S on our cupboard or closet.  

johnelsontan's picture

Time Management

There are 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week, 8760 hours in a year. That’s A LOT of hours. Yet, our activities never seem to fit our time; we have to squeeze ourselves into our schedule instead of the other way around. What could be the reason? It's poor time-management perhaps. Maybe we have to shift our perspective. After all, it's perspective matters. As a college student, we may most likely spend eight hours a day in school or on school-related work. That means only sixteen hours are left for our disposal. Let’s say another six hours are spent on sleep, two on personal hygiene (includes bathing, dressing, and whatnot). So, only eight more hours are left. Now, what in the world happens to those remaining eight hours? Personally, sometimes I feel like all I get to complete are the tasks that should have been completed during those sixteen hours. What do I actually do during the remaining eight hours? What do you do? Now, it’s your turn to think about it. Maybe less important things are eating away on your time. You can bank on two hours of leisure and still have six hours left! Man, those six hours are so elusive. Now, think about it: 24 hours is A LOT of time. 

H. Jawad's picture

2 magic tools of time Management:work to do list and Gantt Chart

Today, I share my personal experience about time management. Time management was a big headache for me till I found two magic tools of Time management. Work to-do list and Gantt Chart. After using these tools, time management became a fun for me. In the work to-do list, you just create a list of works or tasks which you have to complete for a specific day. You can prepare a work to-do list for the complete coming week and can adjust that list for each day. On that list, you just cross-out those tasks which you have completed, or you can write completed on them.

Gantt Chart is an advanced form of a work to-do list. It is a work to-do list with additional information. For each activity/task in the work to-do list, you mention with it the time required to complete that task, like the starting and ending time of the task, the task priority, or the importance of the task. You can also add some more information with each task/activity. The information which is required to complete that task, like phone numbers, addresses, etc. The progress of each task is also shown on the chart. For this information, you use different bars on a time scale graph. Sample of a Gantt Chart can be seen on the Internet.  

Ashlynn Hall's picture


Lately, my problem has not been time management. I have a lot of time. I mean, I have so much time I don't know what to do with it. The only thing is, I lack the motivation to do things a lot of the time. Lately, I've been wanting to do some things, but I can't bring myself to do them. Sometimes, it's because the task seems too large, like starting a piece of art. Sometimes, I don't feel like I'll get anything out of it. Well, I'm sure it's a phase I'll get out of, but right now it kind of sucks.

H. Jawad's picture

Lean Time Management

Lean time management is that you remove anything, which wastes your time and cost you a lot. Always remember the time is money. Time is that precious resource you have, which you cannot afford to waste. For lean time management, the key point is the removal of waste as you remove fats from your body to be lean. What is a waste? Waste is any activity, which is not adding value to your life. By value, I mean addition of wealth, health, relaxation, etc.

Now one thing, here is very important. You should be able to differentiate between time management and lean time management. Both are different. For example, at 11 am, you have to go to university, and you will sleep at 10 pm. You usually have eight-hour sleep, but you can stay in bed if there is nothing to do in your to-do list. So you can get up by 10 am in morning and in one hour, you will be ready for the university. Everything is ok as far as effective time management is concerned but it is not lean time management. As the extra two-hour sleep is not adding any value to your life. I will discuss different tools and approaches for lean time management later 

H. Jawad's picture

Lean Time Management:a different approach

Lean time management is different and very useful. As you know, lean means without any waste. Let me explain this term waste in detail. Any task/activity which is not adding any value to improve your life is called waste. But that term waste has some depth in it. For example, if you perform an activity in one hour,  but you are completing that work in two hours, it is a waste. Also remember don't do anything, even it is important, in advance. For example, don't shave at night. If a subject comes in next semester, don't try to discover it now.

Do everything when it is needed to be done. Try to travel less. Traveling usually doesn't add value. For example, if you are living 25 miles away from your university. The traveling between university and your residence is a waste in lean time management, as it is not adding value in your life. Do not overdo your task. It is also a waste. For example, if an assignment is required to be of minimum three pages, do not try to exceed.

Try to do two things simultaneously, if possible. Reading a good book in the train is a good practice. If you are not expert at an activity, do not do that. First, you will consume a lot of time to learn it, then you will perform it. Avoid those activities which are adding less value in your life. For example, if you are a programmer, and you make 10 dollars per hour do not do your laundry if you can have someone to do it for you in 7 dollars per hour. 

jsherm101's picture

A cool trick my roommate

A cool trick my roommate taught me was the thirty-minute theory.

Pretty much take any attempt you had to try to study, prep for an exam, etc.  I bet you had a very hard time getting yourself together with the entire process in comparison to the many other things (hang out with friends, browse through the web, just watch TV)  at the same time.

Some people say you need to focus - and that's true - but you can't focus to the point you just burn out. Some say you should manage it with several things at once - tend to disagree.

The thirty-minute theory works like this: you do whatever prep or study you planned to do for thirty minutes, and reward yourself with thirty minutes of free time - some sort of way to get off the mind of the project. When you return you should be able to think more freely and also accomplish perhaps more in 60 minutes total prep than 30 minutes on and off.


For the record - oblige against this rule if you are "on a roll" - and you feel you shouldn't stop, or you'll lose something in this manner.

deadlywater96's picture

time = money

Time = money, this is a very famous theory, which is very much true. What you want in life can be achieved, what you want to can be bought, but time will never come back in life, once it's gone. So the most important thing in life is TIME.  Time management is very necessary, but whenever I tried to do it by making a schedule, it doesn't work. I'm a very lazy person, do less work and waste a lot of time but have very big dreams and desires. How  can somebody utilize his or her time better? Listen, nobody can learn to use time, whoever tell you the tricks and tips, it can only be done through your strong "WHY'. I mean that why you want to do things and how strongly your desire and "why" to do that is. You must concentrate on your aims or goals, whether you are a millionaire's son or daughter, you can earn respect only by utilizing your time and effort and then proving to others, or otherwise other will think your future success to be your father's support. Always remember that time can only be managed by focusing on your goals and on how much strongly your desire is otherwise you will realize the importance of time when it is gone.