College life can be demanding, with challenging classes and a heavy workload, but it also offers an opportunity to create some of the best memories of your life. It’s important to practice effective time management for college students to make the most of their time.
By finding a balance between academics and extracurricular activities, you’ll be able to fully participate in the college experience and discover hidden talents or passions along the way.
We’ve put together a list of 7 time management tips for college students so you can take these strategies and make the most of your time during these next few years and understand the importance of good time management.
Why Time Management Is Important For College Students?
Time management for students is challenging because it’s the first time they have this incredible amount of freedom. There are no curfews, you can go where you want, and your course schedule is entirely different from the controlled one you were used to in high school.
These new life changes can be overwhelming, which explains why 45% of college students claim to deal with above-average stress. It’s important to learn to manage your time in college, or you’ll see your grades, social life, and health begin to suffer.
11 Time Management Tips For College Students
1. Create Task Lists
No matter the type of classes you’re taking, they all tend to have a similar coursework structure. You’ll have some shorter assignments that require a quick turnaround, longer assignments that require more research, and some big projects that might take you the entire semester.
Creating a list of tasks for yourself will help you accomplish those tasks more efficiently and feel less stressed, knowing you haven’t forgotten anything.
It is much easier to manage your time as a college student when you know exactly how many things are on your to-do list and when every single one is due.
Print out your daily, weekly, and monthly to-do list if you’re more of a visual person.
2. Rank Tasks By Importance and Urgency
Creating your to-do list is the first great step towards improving your time management abilities.
Learning to prioritize each task is the next step.
Ranking your to-do list in order of importance and urgency will help ensure that your more critical assignments get the attention they deserve.
This time management technique is called time management matrix.
High-value assignments require more work, significantly impact your grade, and have several steps. They also tend to have extended due dates, leading to procrastination if you aren’t careful.
Rank these as high to keep them top of mind and break them into smaller segments, so you can slowly chip away at them daily.
3. Use Time Blocking For Each Task
Creating a structured schedule is the best way to use your now-ranked task list.
Everyone has the same 24 hours a day, so it’s up to you to determine how to make the most out of yours. Breaking each task up into different time chunks will make you more productive.
It prevents you from procrastinating, spending too much time on a single assignment, or running into issues with multitasking. Go over your ranked to-do list and estimate how long it will take you to accomplish each assignment.
Your next step is to fill in your calendar based on the due dates of your assignments and how long you anticipate taking to complete them.
This time management technique is called time blocking.
4. Self-Awareness And Accountability
Holding yourself accountable is essential to improve your time management skills as a college student.
- Creating a task list
- Prioritizing tasks
- Creating a time-blocked calendar
These are all great steps in the right direction, but you have to be willing to commit to the work.
If you find yourself taking too long to do homework, take some time to consider what may be causing the issue…
Are you getting distracted?
Do you need to improve your research skills?
Track your time so you know how much time you could get back if you make some improvements. Being self-aware will help you to develop better habits, improve your time management technique, and get more time back from your schedule.
5. Develop A Routine
This will help reduce your stress and uncertainty when figuring out if you have enough time to study, do homework, work, and enjoy your college life. This is a must if you are a student-athlete trying to manage many more responsibilities.
One way to reduce stress and uncertainty in your day-to-day life is by implementing a routine. Good habits early on will help you get more done, sleep better, exercise, and enjoy free time with friends.
A practical book that could get you started on habit formation – Atomic Habits
6. Student! Prioritize Health
It is essential for college students to prioritize their health in order to be successful in both their academic and personal lives.
College students are often guilty of spending not enough time caring for their bodies, a healthy body and mind can improve concentration and memory.
According to American Psychological Association, more than 80% of college students feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities. Prioritizing their mental and physical health can help them to manage it better.
If you neglect sleep in favor of studying all night, it’s time to take another look at your calendar.
Adjust your schedule to ensure you get enough sleep and time to do your homework. Students that sleep less than 6 hours often have a much lower GPA than those getting at least 8.
7. Save Time by Planning Ahead
When you’re given an assignment, take the time to thoroughly read over the deliverables and note the due date in your calendar. Understanding your homework will help you determine how long it will take you to complete it.
Don’t wait until the last minute to figure out what needs to be done for your homework assignment.
You might find out you don’t have enough time to complete it once it’s too late.
Give yourself plenty of time to plan by procrastinating less, setting deadlines sooner, and understanding what is being asked of you in your homework assignment.
8. Ask For Help
Don’t be afraid to ask other students, your advisor, a tutor, or even your teacher for help. You’re in college to get an education, so don’t think that means you must figure everything out on your own.
Asking for help while in college will help solidify your understanding of the course material.
In addition, it will:
- Improve your communication skills
- Increase your confidence
- Save you hours
Take advantage of study groups and teacher office hours to help complete your assignments more efficiently.
9. Avoid Distractions
Cell phones are one of college students’ biggest pain points regarding time management.
Social media is a great tool for keeping up with friends but not when it distracts you from getting work done.
It can be tempting to reach for your cell phone, so do yourself a favor and leave it in another room or airplane mode until you’ve finished what you started.
Five minutes here and there of scrolling and texting can add up quickly, so do your best to avoid the temptation entirely.
You might also find yourself opening tabs on your laptop while you’re working and notice that you’re falling down an entire rabbit hole of Youtube distractions and top 10 lists. Limit how many tabs you have opened and stay focused on your homework.
If you’re easily distracted by people around you, find somewhere quiet for homework so you can get it done quickly and hang out with those people later.
10. Stay Organized
Keeping your schedule and homework organized will save you time and headaches. Keep separate folders (physical or electronic) for each class, so you know where your class resources, notes, and assignments are.
Avoid clutter at all costs, especially when it comes to your notes. Messy notes are more stressful than they are helpful.
Review your notes after every class and double-check that you understand what you wrote. Rewrite things to make them clearer for future you and ask questions about the things you didn’t quite understand.
11. Create Balance In Your Calendar
College is also meant to be fun! No one expects your calendar to be strictly academic from when you wake up until you go to.
Include time for breaks, socializing, and activities in your calendar, so you don’t get burnt out.
Reward yourself for respecting your time commitments and completing your assignments on time.
Time management is a skill that you can develop over time, so don’t get discouraged if you struggle at first. Keep referring to the time management strategies in this guide, and you will continue to see improvement.