Time Management for College Students

When time management for college students starts becoming a problem, then life as a college student can become very difficult.

Poor college time management can mean missed assignments, tests, and projects. These of course lead to lower grades and, overall, an unhappy college student!

Time management for college students

But, when time management for college students is effective, time becomes your ally instead of an enemy!

Time works for you and you can get done what you need to, when you need to. You plan for assignment due dates ahead of time, thus giving you plenty of time to do your best work.

This kind of student time management can bring better grades, more satisfaction in your work, and less stress over homework assignments and upcoming tests!

The result: a happy college student!

"How Much Time Do I Have and What Am I Doing With it?"

There are generally 15 weeks in a semester, with an extra week for finals. There are 7 days per week. There are 24 hours in a day (I know you're saying, "DUH!").

If you look at it with these numbers, then you find that you have 105 days in a semester, 2520 hours in a semester, and 168 hours in a week. These are the absolute time limits.

You must know what you're working with to use effective time management for college students.

Now, what are you doing with that time?

A fun (sometimes surprisingly enlightening) exercise is to write everything you did during a day. Or you could just take a paper with you through the day and write what you do.

Be honest here. Do not leave any hour unaccounted for. You need to learn how you are spending most of your time! It might surprise you how much time is going by!

Lets just assume that you have 4 class this semester, 12 credit hours, two classes per day, each class lasting an hour.

Assuming you get 8 hours of sleep, and work 4 hours a day at your part-time job for 20 hours/week (4x5=20), then that would leave 10 hours per day during the week! (24-2-4-8=10)

This is just on week days. If you add a half hour for each meal that still leaves 8.5 hours per day for you to do what you will with them! On weekends, it grows to 14.5 hours per day to use (8.5+4+2).

Of course this is just a hypothetical situation and a very set daily schedule, but you can adjust it to your circumstances.

My point is... we really have a lot of time to use for effective time management for college students. We just need to learn to use it efficiently!

Start By Deciding Priorities and Goals

The starting point of effective time management for college students, or anyone for that matter, is defining priorities. This doesn't take much work. Just decide what's important.

Use the list of everything you did in a day to help you decide what is and isn't important from the things you are doing.

As you make your list of what's important, divide the priorities into three categories: Most Important, Somewhat Important, and Least Important.

Somethings on your list would include:

- schoolwork (homework, class time, study time, etc.)
- part-time job
- personal responsibilities
- family responsibilities
- roommate responsibilities
- daily necessities (eating, sleeping, etc.)
- anything else important or personal to you

After you make this list, write a 1, 2, or 3 next to each item. 1 is for most important, 2 is somewhat important, and 3 is least important.

Use your best judgement here. Remember, you are trying to decide your highest priorities, so what you choose will probably differ from other people.

Now, how much time are you spending on items with the number 3 next to them? Is it too much? What about number 1 items? Number 2 items?

It is very interesting (and painfully shocking sometimes) to see where we are spending so much of our time!

To have effective time management for college students, we must set goals that align with our highest priorities. This will give you driving purpose to what you do with your time.

Get a Planner or Something to Organize Yourself

Now that you know what your highest priorities are, you are ready to set goals and make plans to meet those priorities.

For each priority, whether it is homework or your part-time job, set a specific and measurable goal that will help you fulfill that priority. Use this exercise weekly as you plan.

For example, if you were setting a goal for your homework this week, you would see what assignments are due and then set specific due dates throughout the week to complete them.

Do you see where this is going? This will start putting together a brief plan for you each week. As you set due dates for your goals and priorities, you will want to schedule adequate time to carry out those goals each week.

A free tool that I have found online to help planning and goal setting is the zoho-planner made by zoho.com.

You can create a free account or you can use another program on your computer. Of course, paper planners work just fine!

When planning for bigger assignments, it helps to spread the assignment out over a few days, or a week or two if you have the time. This way the assignment is more manageable.

As you schedule your time for each of your priorities, keep in mind that you need to have time for yourself too. Give yourself time to relax and time to do things away from your school work.

Making time for the other priorities in life is just as essential to time management for college students as making time for homework and studying for tests. Balance is the end goal.

Of course this is easier said than done.

In the End...

Use these suggestions on this page to help you have better time management as a college student. If a lot of structure isn't your thing, then use the suggestions that you like.

Really, to have effective time management for college students, you just need to know what your priorities are and then use your time to match those priorities.

Writing these things down will help you keep track of and organize it all. This way you can more easily measure your progress and meet the goals you want in college and in life!

Return to College Success from Time Management for College Students

Return to Home Page