Time Management Matrix for Students: Prioritize and Do What Matters First!

Written by Domantas Vanagas

January 6, 2022

Students don’t always get the respect they deserve for the amount of work that is placed on their shoulders. It seems like society is content to pretend that students don’t have a tough job to get through just because they are not actively working to make someone else a profit. In truth, students have a lot to handle, much of it on a strict deadline. Thus, we must look at how a time management matrix for students could help reduce stress levels and help them get more accomplished. 

Given the nature of online learning today and many new developments coming up all the time, it seems like a good time to go over how a time management student matrix might be useful for getting more work done by more students at any given time. 

How Can Students Use The Time management Matrix?

Students concerned with getting good grades and being successful in school generally understand that the only way they can reach these goals is to have a firm grip on their time management. The problem for many students is that they are not sure about which time management techniques might work best for them. Many students haven’t even looked into time management techniques because they are overwhelmed. 

time management course banner for students

The time management matrix is ideal for students because it is a method that simplifies what could otherwise feel like an overly complicated mess of things to do all at the same time. Luckily, students can get a better handle on all they have when they are offered something that helps to distill precisely what they need to accomplish.

time management matrix quadrants

You, as a student, know how much you have to do every day. You are called upon to do the following: 

  • Report to school at a certain time each day 
  • Report to a variety of different classes at a scheduled time
  • Keep their grades up
  • Deal with social dynamics with other classmates that they may or may not get along with

The list goes on and on for them. Students, particularly those at the university level, have a lot of responsibilities on their shoulders at any given time. It is nice to know that they can take back some control over their lives by implementing a time management strategy that works for them.

What are the Benefits of the Time Management Matrix for Students?

We will look at the specifics of the time management matrix for students in just a moment, but it is, first, very important that you understand what the benefits of this system are to begin with. If you know why you are doing something, then it is easier to understand why you need to bother with it in the first place. 

Therefore, you should know that students who use the time management matrix have the ability to:

  • Become more organized 
  • Feel less stress
  • Achieve higher grades and better overall scores 
  • Have more free time to spend socializing 

You can see why you would want to advocate for any student to enjoy these benefits from an organizational system. It seems absurd not to give something like this a try when it promises to produce so many upsides like that. It is very saddening to see that many people believe that they cannot get unstuck from the systems they are in now because they are unaware of the opportunities that the time management matrix can offer them.

Fortunately, this system is finally starting to hit the mainstream in a big way, opening up more opportunities for people to see the value it can bring to the table for them and the people they care about. With that in mind, let’s look at how each quadrant of the time management matrix can work for students. 

Quadrant 1: Urgent and Important

Tasks that fall into Quadrant 1 are of the utmost importance and urgency. These are the tasks that undoubtedly dominate the mental space of the student all the time as they stress how they can get everything done.

Important and urgent tasks for a student might include: 

  • Homework that is due the next day
  • Studying for a test that is coming up in 72 hours or less
  • Completing a project, paper, or speech that is due this week

It is challenging for many students because they can potentially have multiple Quadrant 1 tasks happening all at the same time. However, it is very rewarding to knock those tasks off their list. When they use a time management matrix for students, they can have greater success at completing the things they want daily. 

Quadrant 2: Not Urgent But Important

The items that go into Quadrant 2 are still important to get done, but they don’t necessarily have the same deadlines attached to them that items in Quadrant 1 have. This is important because it prioritizes the items to be accomplished in order. Quadrant 2 items still deserve as much attention as Quadrant 1 items, but they are to be pushed down the list slightly to make room for the more time-sensitive tasks to be handled first.

Examples include:

  • Taking care of a summer reading list
  • Looking over which extracurriculars to take
  • Working on a project for a group or club within the school

Quadrant 2 tasks are those you handle after the most important tasks of your day, and for many people, they are some of the most exciting. Getting to them is almost a reward because it means that you have gotten through the difficult challenges you had laid before you in Quadrant 1. Now your motivation levels are high because you see that you can get through your most pressing challenges of the day, and now it is time to tackle them. 

Quadrant 3: Urgent But Not Important

There are always some things with deadlines attached to them that you should get done at some point but which may not be that important in the grand scheme. Even students have these types of tasks in their lives. Many of these tasks come in the form of their social lives. Many things may be deemed urgent, but they are not as important as they don’t directly affect the student’s ability to succeed in school. Thus, it is nice to know that they can push those items aside until they can get some of the more urgent tasks knocked out first.

Examples include:

  • Turning in money for a field trip
  • Getting back to a social contact about weekend plans
  • Looking for a summer job

Each of these things has a certain time constraint, but each does not necessarily have to be done at this very moment. Quadrant 3 tasks are still incredibly important and yield significant results for those who complete them. Thus, students should try to complete tasks in this quadrant and the others as much as possible.


Quadrant 4: Neither Urgent Not Important

We all have tasks that we would like to consider at some point in the future, but those are not necessarily important to our success today. Students are included in this number and tend to have many things they would love to accomplish at some point, but they may not have the time on their hands right now to take care of these things. Those tasks belong in the Quadrant 4 category but should still be written down.

They may include: 

  • Asking someone to prom
  • Choosing a Halloween costume
  • Picking out an outfit for the football game

These are all things that students think about, but they don’t rise to the level of needing to be handled urgently (despite what some students may think!) Instead, they should be written down and included in that special Quadrant 4 box to be accomplished once everything else has been achieved. 

What A Student Time Management Matrix May Look Like

We have explained what examples of the tasks that can be found in the different quadrants might look like above, so picture those tasks laid out in the classic quadrant format to get an idea of what a student matrix could look like. The student may have a lot that they need to handle in the day, but if they write it all out on a piece of paper beforehand and start to divide it up into a matrix, then they can probably get a lot more of it done than they might have thought possible. 

The student’s matrix might include a mixture of academic and personal goals they seek to achieve during their day. It might also have a few items that are personal and unique to them. Everyone’s matrix looks different because everyone has different priorities and responsibilities. The important thing is not that every matrix matches up perfectly with every other matrix. Instead, it is all about getting the matrix created in the first place to have something to look at when figuring out what a given day is about to bring. With that in mind, create your time management matrix today to start seeing results!

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