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What are the Best Time Management for College Students?

Updated: June 19, 2024 | Published: October 22, 2018

Updated: June 19, 2024

Published: October 22, 2018

10 Best Time Management Tips for Students copy


With 24 hours in a day and 7 days a week, time is constrained. As such, time is a commodity and a resource that’s well worth maximizing, especially when you are a college student. In this article, we are going to share some of the best time management tips for college students to make it feel like you have more time, or at least, just enough time to get everything you’d want to do.


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What is Time Management?


Time management refers to the ability to use time effectively. Although there’s a constraint on time, time management can make it feel like there’s more of it in a day, depending on how you structure your schedule.


Since time management is considered a skill, it can be learned and strengthened. That’s why we’re sharing how to manage time in college.



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Time Management Tips for Students


Keeping this all in mind, let’s take a look at some of these time management tips for students.



Set Goals


Perhaps one of the most important steps in being able to manage your time well is to know what you are using your time for in the first place. By setting goals and identifying time wasters, you can help to keep yourself on a more efficient track.


To set goals, take a look at what you spend your time on. For example, if you use the “Screen Time” app on a iPhone, you can find out how much time you spend and how you spend it using your phone. If you notice that you spend 5 hours a day on social media apps, then you may want to set a goal to cut it down to 2 instead. By doing so, you will free up 3 hours of your day for other activities.



Make Note of Deadlines


When you’re in college, you will be taking several classes at a time. Within each class, you’ll have assignments and tests with different due dates. While it can become overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be when you are practicing time management. One thing you can do is to write down all your deadlines ahead of time in a clear chart, on a calendar,  or even on a sheet of paper. This way, you can schedule study time and time to work on assignments according to what is due first.



Start with Small Tasks  / Break Up Large Tasks


When you have a long to-do list, you may feel defeated just by looking at it. Instead, you can write it in an order that will work in your favor. To explain, consider placing all the small and low-level tasks at the beginning of your day’s to-do list. By fulfilling these small and plentiful tasks, you gain momentum and already go into the day with a sense of accomplishment. Then, if you have large tasks or assignments that will take multiple hours or days to work on, break them down into smaller parts. Doing this helps you to stay motivated rather than stare at the task without knowing where to begin because the size of the task can provoke fear. Basically, you are making tasks manageable rather than allowing them to seize control of your mind.



Create a schedule


One of the biggest recommendations that you’ll find when learning about time management is to use a schedule to your advantage. You can set up a schedule using digital tools like phones or computers using the calendar app. Or, you can even do so manually by writing your schedule down in a planner. Depending on how granular you want to get, you can break up days into blocks of hours or even minutes. Before you set your schedule, write down the aspects that you are looking to include, i.e. social activities, lecture hours, study time, cooking time, exercise time, family time, etc.


If you’re attending an online college, then you will have a more flexible schedule as to when you attend class (if lectures are pre-recorded). This could make scheduling easier because it is totally within your control.



Use Checklists


A weekly checklist can also help to better manage your time when you are in college. Here’s how it can work: At the start of each week, write down the assignments and projects that are upcoming for that week. You may even want to color-code them based on the subject. You can input this check(list) of items into your schedule. By referring back to the checklist, you will make sure that no item is forgotten or overlooked.



Use Breaks Wisely


A major aspect of time management is how you choose to use breaks. Besides taking intentional breaks to do nothing and recharge, the breaks that already exist in your schedule can serve as “extra” time. For example, you can complete tasks using the time between classes. Say you have to grocery shop for the week. You have an hour between two lectures. That could be a great time to knock grocery shopping off of your to-do list. When you start using breaks effectively to get things done, you will notice that it feels like you’ve made more time to do what you want to do, rather than what you have to do.



Leverage Technology


When it comes to time management, technology is your friend! There’s an array of time management apps you can download to help you get things done. Here’s a look at some of the best time management apps to choose from. Additionally, even simple and existing tools like timers and calendars on your handheld device can be used for time management, as already discussed.



Ask for Help


In terms of time management, asking for help often happens in the form of delegation. For example, if you’re living with roommates, then consider devising a cleaning schedule where everyone takes turns. By doing so, you can free up some of your time to focus on your schoolwork (or social activities).



Reward Yourself


No matter how many strides you make on your journey of time management, take some time (no pun intended) to reward yourself. Your rewards should coincide with the time management goals that you’ve set. So, once you reach your goals, you have something to look forward to (a.k.a. the reward).



Closing Thoughts


By following some or all of the aforementioned best time management tips for college students, you may discover that it feels like you have more time in a day. The idea of organizing time can feel liberating as you’ll be more productive. In turn, you will have more time to do the things you want to do because you’ve managed to get done the things you have to.



At UoPeople, our blog writers are thinkers, researchers, and experts dedicated to curating articles relevant to our mission: making higher education accessible to everyone.