Your Guide to Student Athlete Time Management: Why It Can Make or Break Your Results!

Written by Domantas Vanagas

January 2, 2022

Student athletes often have a very challenging experience in college. They need to focus on their classes and athletic preparation while also taking enough time to have fun. Unfortunately, some athletes may find themselves overwhelmed in this situation and need student athlete time management tips to stay focused. Thankfully, time management isn’t something that only teachers and coaches understand.

In this article, you will learn all about the importance of student athlete time management, including how you can prioritize your day and avoid time conflicts. Just as importantly, you’ll understand why time management is so essential and the benefits it provides student athletes, and get 10 tips that will make this process smoother and more accessible for your needs as a student athlete.


Why is Time Management Important for Student Athletes?

The importance of time management for students and athletes cannot be overstated. Proper and effective time management helps a student from getting overwhelmed with all these tasks every day by giving them enough time to finish each job.

time management importance for student athletes

Remember: student athletes are in a situation where they’ve been granted free control over their lives for the first time, and many may struggle.

A typical student athlete has around 3-4 hours of classes and 2-3 hours of practice and game preparation daily. They then need several hours daily to do their homework and spend time with friends. Add all those hours up, and student athletes may have little breathing room. Such a tight schedule makes time management critical for college students and athletes to get right.


What Happens Without Proper Time Management?

Students who don’t take control of their time management may end up with very challenging schedules. For instance, a student athlete could have classes from 8-11 a.m., after which they have a one-hour meeting with their coach from 12-1. At this point, they’ve been on the go for hours and probably desperately need a break.

However, they may have no break and transition directly into classes from 1-3 and practice from 3-6. Without proper time management, college students may find themselves getting overwhelmed by their duties, struggling to finish their tasks, and falling behind in every way in their life.

These struggles may be a significant problem because many student athletes may rely on scholarships that require an excellent GPA to maintain. Student athletes who get overwhelmed or who poorly plan their day may find themselves partying too much, missing classes, and losing a scholarship. And these are only a few of the many effects of poor time management. Thankfully, proper student athlete time management can help you to avoid this problem and keep you focused on success.


Benefits of Time Management for Student Athletes

Proper student athlete time management will streamline your life and make day-to-day tasks simpler and easier to finish. But, just as importantly, it will provide a broad range of different benefits that will improve your life. These advantages include the following:

  • Simpler Scheduling: Better time management streamlines your schedule and helps you avoid many time conflicts. For example, you can learn how to study more effectively so that you can focus more time on your practice and workouts.


  • Minimal Time Conflicts: Have you ever scheduled a workout session with friends, only to realize you planned it during a crucial group study meeting? Better time management creates a simple schedule that minimizes these time conflicts and keeps everyone happy.


  • Less Stress: Student athletes have some of the most complex and challenging schedules to balance and may experience a high-stress level. Thankfully, improved time management can help minimize this problem by decreasing overall stress and minimizing burnout.


  • More Free Time: Responsible student athletes deserve a little free time to spend with friends. Thankfully, better scheduling helps minimize time waste (such as working out too long and hurting yourself) and gives you more time to spend with friends to enjoy the college experience.

These benefits only occur if you take the time to prioritize your day and handle your tasks properly. While it may take a minor adjustment to operate appropriately, most intelligent and skilled student athletes should find a plan that balances their education, athletics, work, and personal time.


How Can a Student Athlete Manage Their Time?

Student athletes can manage their time by carefully prioritizing their various tasks throughout the day, balancing their homework needs with their practice and games, and making sure they add time with friends and family. The uniquely challenging life of the student athlete often forces them to be more responsible and intelligent than their peers, sometimes even more so than their parents.

In short, excellent time management gives you an idea of what tasks you need to finish first and makes it easier for you to complete them on time. When using the tips below, you’ll find yourself with plenty of time to finish your homework, focus on improving your skills, and even get plenty of time for your boyfriend, girlfriend, or other friends to learn more about yourself as a person.


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10 Time Management Tips for Student Athletes

If you’re trying to improve your student athlete’s time management, the following 10 tips will help make this process a little simpler and less complicated. They make it easier for student athletes to prioritize their time and create a schedule that makes sense for their needs.


1. Make a Reasonable Sleep Schedule

If you like staying up late, and you might want to adjust your schedule so that you get to bed by about 10 and wake up at five in the morning. Doing so gives you plenty of time to handle your day’s duties. 

For instance, you can get up at five and finish any homework you might have missed or do a strength routine to enhance your overall musculature and improve your skills as an athlete.


2. Create an Activity Log

A detailed activity time log will help you track your activities more efficiently and minimize troubles with your schedule. For example, you can spend two weeks monitoring everything you do in 15-minute intervals. Were you spending your time wisely? Where could you have improved your time management? Please pay attention to these details and use them when creating a reasonable schedule.

 3. Learn How to Prioritize

The time management matrix for students breaks down activities into four categories:

  • Urgent and Important
  • Urgent but Not Important
  • Not urgent but Important
  • Not Urgent and Not Important

Make sure to handle all important tasks first and then move on to unimportant ones, always doing urgent tasks first between both urgent and not urgent categories.

For example, urgent tasks likely include homework due that day, and the necessary paperwork for your team, while not urgent tasks may consist of spending time with friends or watching your favorite movie.

4. Organize Your Life

If you have clutter around your room or living space, you’re likely to struggle to finish your tasks on time. For instance, having nothing but dirty clothes will make it hard to hit the gym. 

Alternately, cluttered desks may cause you to lose your homework or misplace pencils or other work items. Clean up your area to make your activities more accessible and minimize the risk of wasted time.

5. Utilize a Time-Management Tool

Free time-management tools and apps can help to improve your productivity. For example, various types of phone apps can set up alerts for your day, including letting you know when it is time to take exams, when you have a workout session, and much more. 

Using these apps helps to keep you engaged and is often easier for student athletes who may already use an electronic device regularly.


Quote About Student Athlete Time Management

“Time management is really a misnomer – the challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves. The key is not to prioritize what’s your schedule but to schedule your priorities.” Steven Covey.

6. Know How Much Time It Takes to Finish Tasks

Ask yourself how much time you need to prepare when preparing for a big test or a big game. It’s not uncommon for people to be more cautious and schedule too much time. When you schedule longer-than-necessary workout sessions, you’re wasting time and cluttering your schedule.

Time how long it takes you to finish each of your activities and plan enough time for each, plus no more than 15 minutes for wiggle room.

7. Put Your Phone Away When Busy

We live in a constantly-connected world, and that’s both a good and bad thing. For student athletes trying to focus on studying or workouts, a phone may do little more than distract them. Phone in a hand is one of the ways how not to have a productive day off as well.

Make sure that you’ve handled all communication you need before starting a task, and then mute your phone and turn off all notifications until you’re finished. You may want to put it in a dresser to keep it out of sight and out of mind.

8. Don’t Multitask

The concept of multitasking is no longer considered the best way to work. Multiple studies have identified the problems caused by this action, including poorer work quality, stress, and even a lower IQ. 

So stop trying to study for an exam while running on a treadmill before a game. Instead, focus on just one task at a time, and you’ll find that you get them done more quickly and efficiently than ever before.

9. Avoid Unhealthy Habits

As a busy student athlete, you may struggle to find time to eat good meals. Try to slow down at the beginning of the day and eat a healthy meal that provides you with good energy for the day. 

While you may enjoy partying with friends from time to time, it’s best to cut back or eliminate alcohol consumption or tobacco use. Doing so only negatively affects your health and makes time management harder.

10. Get Help From Trusted Authority Figures

When all else fails, you can always reach out to your parents, teachers, or coaches to get help for student athlete time management. For instance, your coach may be willing to do one-on-one exercises with you if you have a hard time focusing during workouts. Likewise, your teachers may work with you or find a tutor who can help improve your scores in a glass where you might be struggling.


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