Time management is something that is extremely challenging for most students. You have so many responsibilities, assignments, and classes to balance on top of your personal life that it can be overwhelming at times.
However, at the end of the day, time management skills are essential for success in school as well as in your future career after graduating. Students have their hands full with classes, homework and projects, clubs and study groups, internships and volunteering opportunities—all while maintaining a social life outside of school.
If you’re reading this as a soon-to-be student or know someone who is about to enter college, we hope these time management tips will come in handy during your next few years as a student.
Time management is not just a catchphrase, but also a way of life that comes with the territory of being a student. In addition to balancing your classes and extracurricular activities, managing your time as a student can be challenging.
With limited hours in the day, it’s crucial to effectively manage your time and ensure you’re getting the most out of your days as a student. You might often feel like you don’t have enough time for anything else – but rest assured you do!
As a student, there are ways to get more out of every day and take control of your time. These 18 useful tips on how to manage your time as a student will help you structure each day so that you leave no stone unturned.
1. Make your bed – and stick to it
Making your bed every morning is a simple way to put your daily routine in order. Making your bed each morning is a great way to start your day off right and make that extra bit of effort to keep your space tidy.
Beyond just tidying up your space, making your bed each day is a visual reminder that you’ve got this. It’s a symbol of commitment to your day and helps you stay on track. It’s an easy way to put your day in order and instil a sense of organization. It’s a great idea to set a daily reminder on your phone or computer to help you stay accountable and on track.
2. Don’t procrastinate – decide now!
Procrastination is a killer when it comes to your time management as a student. It’s easy to get caught up in the daily hustle, but you’ve got to be disciplined and not let yourself get distracted. If there’s something that you need to do but don’t have the time for it right now, you’ve got to decide now that you won’t start it until after you’ve completed your priorities.
It’s easy to let yourself get sidetracked and overwhelmed with everything on your plate, but you’ve got to stay focused and on task. Narrow down your priorities, set deadlines, and decide not to start anything new until you’ve completed the first things on your to-do list.
3. Create a to-do list
Making a to-do list each day will help you stay on top of your priorities and take control of your time. If there’s something that you need to accomplish but don’t have the time to do it, put it on your to-do list.
It’s important to review this throughout the day to make sure that you’re not letting anything slip through the cracks. You can also set reminders on your to-do list, so that you don’t forget to follow up on something.
4. Utilize your commute wisely
The amount of time that you spend on a daily basis commuting to and from school and extracurricular activities can add up. You might be spending upwards of 4 hours a day commuting, which equates to 2 days a week.
That’s nearly a whole week before you even sit down and start working on your academics! It’s easy to let your commute get the best of you, but you’ve got to find a way to make the most of your commute time.
- Read a book or article that you’ve been meaning to get to – This will also help you stay informed on current events and topics in your field of study.
- Listen to audio books or podcasts – This is a great way to learn something new or get caught up on current events and news.
- Reflect on your day – Take advantage of your commute to think about the day ahead. Reflect on both your successes and failures from the previous day to help you set new goals for tomorrow.
- Daydream – Instead of staring out of the window with nothing but your own thoughts, turn your mind off and let it wander. This is a great way to relax and let go of any built-up stress or anxiety that you’ve been carrying around.
- Meditate – Take advantage of your commute to practice mindfulness. This is a great way to de-stress and help you transition into your day.
5. Stick to a schedule
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’ve got a packed daily schedule. It’s important to stick to a schedule, even if it’s a loose one. It helps to keep you on track, and it’s something that you can refer back to when you start feeling overwhelmed.
Keep a calendar nearby to mark important dates and deadlines, and keep track of your daily schedule. You can also try using a scheduling app to keep track of your daily schedule and put your tasks in order. This can help you stay on track and let you know when you’re drifting away from your schedule.
6. Batch similar tasks together
Rinse, repeat. It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind and do the same tasks every day without switching things up. This can help you avoid burnout, but it’s also important to switch things up from time to time to avoid boredom in your daily life.
When you notice that you’re doing similar tasks over and over again, try to find a way to do something different. For example, you could go for a walk every day after you finish studying, or you could go for a walk every other day.
For your other study sessions, you could try listening to a podcast or an audiobook. There are many different ways to vary up your daily routine to help you stay fresh and avoid mental fatigue.
7. Discuss your workload with your professors
Professors want you to succeed, and they know that you’re juggling multiple extracurricular activities on top of your daily academics. It’s important to be honest with your professors about your schedule and when you’re available to meet with them.
If they know when you’re available, they can avoid scheduling appointments when you’re busy. You’re also not obligated to attend every meeting that they schedule with you – and there’s no shame in politely declining a meeting if you’re feeling overly-stressed or overwhelmed.
8. Meet with your mentor or advisor
Your mentor or academic advisor is there to help you succeed, and there’s no shame in asking for their advice and help with managing your schedule. Some universities offer mentorship programs, in which you select a mentor that you meet with regularly.
Others also offer academic advising programs where you can meet with an advisor to discuss your academics and progress. If you don’t know what programs are available to you at your university, ask around! Your mentor/advisor is there to help you succeed, so don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice.
9. Don’t underestimate downtime
Making time for yourself and downtime is important, especially when you’re managing a packed schedule. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and stressed with everything that you’ve got going on, but it’s important to take some time out for yourself. There’s no rule that says you can’t take a break once in a while.
Rest and relaxation are just as important as working hard and studying. It’s important to take regular breaks throughout the day to help you stay refreshed and focused during the day. You can also make time for hobbies or activities that don’t have anything to do with academics, such as yoga or meditation, to help you de-stress and avoid burnout.
10. Reward yourself and celebrate accomplishments
One of the best ways to keep yourself on track when it comes to time management is to treat yourself for your accomplishments. Whether you’ve managed to get through an entire term paper in one sitting or finished a semester with an “A” average, there’s no harm in rewarding yourself for your hard work.
While there are countless ways to celebrate your successes, rewarding yourself is a great way to keep yourself motivated and inspired to continue managing your time effectively. Whether you reward yourself with something materialistic or an experience, it’s important that you find what truly resonates with you as a person.
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By celebrating your accomplishments, you’ll feel more empowered to continue pursuing your goals and dreams.
11. Don’t hesitate to ask for help
While you should always strive to be self-sufficient, there may come a time when you need to ask for help. Whether you’re struggling to meet your coursework deadlines or feel overwhelmed by the extracurricular organizations you’re involved in, sometimes it’s best to seek outside assistance.
While learning to ask for help is often a challenge for many students, it’s important to overcome any inhibitions you may have about doing so. Whether you’re struggling academically or just need someone to talk to, asking for help is a sign of strength.
If you have a trusted friend or teacher you can confide in, or a support group you can turn to, it can often provide much-needed support and encouragement. It’s important whenever you’re struggling to not hesitate to ask for help.
12. Establish daily habits
Daily habits such as prioritizing sleep, exercise, and eating healthy are crucial to ensure you’re getting the most out of your days. A daily routine can be a powerful tool for creating habits that allow you to prioritize self-care in your busy schedule.
When creating a daily routine, it’s important to keep in mind the activities that are essential to your well-being. Whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, it’s important to create a schedule that works best for you.
While it’s true that everyone’s daily routine may differ slightly, having a daily routine can help make your day-to-day life more manageable.
Daily habits are often best when they’re rooted in mindfulness. By incorporating mindful practices such as meditation or journaling into your daily routine, you can create a schedule that works best for you.
13. Use technology to your advantage
There are numerous apps and tools designed to help you manage your time more effectively. While some may feel overwhelming at first, learning how to use these time-management tools can help you create a more organized and efficient schedule.
- Journaling: Journaling is a great way to reflect on your day and get clarity on what’s truly important to you. Journaling can be done in a variety of ways, from keeping a simple reminder list to writing out your goals and aspirations in a given day.
- To-do list apps: To-do list apps are a great way to keep track of daily tasks and stay on top of your coursework. Whether you prefer paper or digital, there are a variety of apps you can use to create a to-do list and stay organized.
- Time management apps: Time management apps are designed to help you get a birds-eye view of your day, week, and month. While these apps can be helpful, they also come with the risk of creating too much of a burden.
- Meditation apps: While meditation can be done without any special equipment, there are a variety of apps designed to help you meditate more efficiently.
- Social media apps: While social media apps can definitely help you stay organized, it’s important to not get lost in the digital world and lose sight of what’s important to you.
14. Only commit to activities you enjoy
As a student, it’s important to know your limits and only commit to the extracurricular activities that truly inspire you. While it’s true that time management is essential to ensure you’re staying ahead of the game, it’s also important not to overcommit to activities that may not be a good fit for you.
If an activity isn’t bringing you joy and making you feel fulfilled, then it’s likely you’re overcommitting and bringing more stress into your life. While it’s important to remain active in your community and take part in activities that are related to your interests, it’s crucial to know your limits and only commit to activities that truly inspire and engage you.
15. Establish a routine
While it’s true that you should only commit to the extracurricular activities that truly inspire you, it’s also important to establish a routine that works best for you. Whether you prefer to wake up before the sun rises to get a head start on the day or like to unwind with a yoga practice in the evening, it’s important to create a routine that works best for you.
Establishing a daily routine can help you stay organized and focused on the most important tasks throughout the day. While there are many different ways you can create a routine, it’s important to find one that resonates with you.
Whether you prefer to create a routine based on your astrological sign or the seasons, or a more structured routine, it’s important to find one that works best for you.
16. Don’t forget to care for yourself
While it’s true that taking time for self-care can seem daunting with a packed schedule, it’s important not to forget to care for yourself. Taking time to de-stress and practice self-care is crucial in helping you sustain a healthy lifestyle.
While it’s important to take time for yourself, it’s crucial to find the right balance. Make sure you don’t forget to take care of yourself and find time to do the things that are essential to your well-being.
Whether you prefer to meditate, journal, read, or indulge in a hobby that brings you joy, it’s important to prioritize self-care in your busy schedule.
17. Define what “good” looks like for you
As a student, it’s easy to fall into the trap of defining your success by other people’s standards. While it’s important to set goals and aspirations for yourself, it’s crucial to define what “good” looks like for you.
Whether you set high expectations for yourself or low ones, it’s important to define what your goals and aspirations truly are. By clarifying what “good” looks like for you, it’s easier to prioritize the activities and tasks that contribute the most to your success.
18. Ensure you’re making the most of your time
While it may seem impossible to manage your time as a student, there are a variety of ways you can ensure you’re making the most of your time. Whether you prefer to create a daily to-do list or follow a time management strategy, it’s important to find a system that works best for you.
Whether you prefer to journal, create a to-do list, or use a time management strategy, it’s crucial to find a system that works best for you. By taking the time to create a system that works best for you, you can ensure that you’re making the most of your time as a student.
While it may seem impossible to manage your time as a student, if you can figure out the most important things and focus on them first, everything will fall out for you.