How to master time management as a student


Time management is one of the biggest challenges for students who are trying to strike the right balance between university life, home and work. Without a proper plan to arrange your priorities, it’s hard to stay on track and be organized, especially during the exam period.

Whether you’re a full-time, part-time, online or on-campus student, time management is key to managing stress, achieving your goals and being successful in your studies. Here are some strategies to help you master time management as a student.

Assess How You’re Using Your Time

How exactly are you spending your time? You need to evaluate how your day-to-day activities align with your priorities and when and if you can take on additional tasks if asked to do so.

Something we talk about all the time on Phyzzle, our site dedicated to helping students navigate school life, is that it’s important to do a thorough time assessment if you want to manage your time better.

Consider taking these simple steps:

  • Get a simple planner to help you track your planned daily tasks
  • Use your planner to determine what needs to be prioritized and what needs to shift
  • Identify habits you can change to improve time management

Set Clear and Realistic Goals

With a clear picture of how you’re using your time, it’s time to set clear goals for your upcoming week. Goals should be realistic and flexible to accommodate changes in your priorities and tasks that need to be completed. Computer problems, illnesses and family issues could change your plans, so integrate adaptability for the unexpected into your plans.

Create short to-do lists that include three or four goals a day and ensure they are manageable and clear on what you need to do. Focus on the big picture as you plan your goals and ensure you’re maintaining consistency in achieving your goals. This will help you stay motivated with your school work.

Prioritize Your Tasks

A Top Universities online guide on time management notes that, learning to prioritize your tasks is a core part of managing your time as a student. It’s common to find most of us focusing on the most urgent tasks instead of the most important. To limit time wastage, here is what you need to do:

  • Create a small 2×2 table.
  • Note down all “Important” and “Not Important” tasks on the first column and “Urgent” and “Not Urgent” on the second column.
  • Use this table to categorize all your weekly tasks based on their importance and level of urgency.
  • Identify the tasks you can put off to focus on those with immediate deadlines.

Being able to separate what is important and what is urgent helps you avoid time wasted and prioritize on more important, quality work or tasks that need to be completed. Ensure you’re keeping your list of tasks to be done to a minimum. Any tasks that fall into the categories of not important and not urgent should be disregarded if possible.  

Be a Good Planner

Good planning is what will help you stay organized and in control. Use your planner to keep records of all important events, deadlines as well as mandatory time and task commitments. Be clear on time planned for classes, exercise, sleep and the much-needed breaks in between so you can relax and have time for your family and friends.

It’s also important to plan the exact time when you need to accomplish the goals you set in the previous step. Having a written plan will help you determine if you have enough time to accomplish these goals. Keep in mind we all have limits on what we can do or accomplish in a comfortable, effective and productive way, so know your limits.

Monitor Your Time Management

By following these simple steps, you will have a pretty effective time management strategy in place. However, you can only accomplish your goals if you implement what you’ve planned. Monitoring yourself and how you’re managing your time helps you refine your plan and address challenges you identify.   

Author bio:Tom Miller writes about unconventional study methods for math, science, and engineering students at