Time Management

Time management is a very unique practice to each individual student. Everyone has a different schedule, preferences and style when managing their time. As such, these handouts are purposefully broad. They provide the big picture and task you with understanding and applying how it might connect to your time management preferences. If you would like to discuss specific aspects to your experience with time management, or any of these handouts further, consider scheduling an academic coaching meeting.

This handout provides an overview of the four main steps to strong time management. Skill in each of these steps means you are good at managing your time! As stated above, time management is very unique to each individual person. What one person may consider “good time management skills,” may not work for another person. As you read the four steps, reflect. Be creative. Consider what style, or styles, will work for you. See the second page for an in depth example on how to make it “Do-Able.”

Before we can improve our time management skills, we need to know how we currently manage time. What better way to know than to log how you spend each day for one week? At the end of each day, take five minutes to log how you spent the day. Be as specific as possible and leave no blanks! “Hung out” “relaxed,” “Did homework,” are not good examples, because they are vague. The more detail you put into your time diary, the more you will get out of it. This is an option of how to fulfill Step 1 from the “4 Steps of Time Management” handout. The Time Diary provides a strong lens that makes us aware of where our time management skills are currently at. Then, it is easier to move forward and improve. Scroll down when you open the handout out to see the example.

“Once I filled it out, I realized how much time I was wasting. I thought it would take a lot of academic coaching meetings and effort to change my time management. But it really just took 5 minutes of looking at my time diary to get better!” – Student who completed a time diary

In this handout, you will find a simple scheduling system. In this document, you can log what you have to do this week and break it down to manageable parts. Some people like to know what they need to do each day, without planning work completion to specific times. If you think: “At some point today I will read chapter 1…” then the Weekly Study Plan just might be for you.

Make sure to scroll to the second page to see an example. (The Weekly Study Plan uses the same example as the Combined Time Diary/Weekly Study Plan. Look at both examples side by side, to see which you may prefer.) This is an option of how to fulfill Step 3 from the “4 Steps of Time Management” handout. Feel free to take the idea and make it fit your time management style in your own unique way. (Example: follow the format, but use a white board instead).

Like the Weekly Study Plan, you will find a scheduling system in this handout. It allows you to break down assignments into smaller pieces. It also allows you to assign specific days and times to complete each piece of an assignment. If you like to know what you need to get done each day, and at what time, the Time Diary/Weekly Study Plan might be for you.

Make sure to scroll to the second page to see an example. (The Combined Time Diary/Weekly Study Plan uses the same example as the Weekly Study Plan. We suggest you look at both examples side by side, it is a good way to see which you may prefer!) This is an option of how to fulfill Step 3 from the “4 Steps of Time Management” handout. Feel free to take the idea and make it fit your time management style in your own unique way. (Example: follow the format, but use Microsoft Excel/Google Calendar instead).

We have all heard of a “To-Do List.” However, sometimes our list can be very long. With academic tasks, and other obligations. Looking at our list can get stressful. It can also cloud our decision making on what to do and when. This handout is a helpful visual that organizes our “To Do List” and clarifies which things we should prioritize first. Starting with what is urgent (coming up soon) and important. Sometimes we justify to ourselves that some tasks have urgency and importance when they really do not…this is procrastination! Make sure to scroll to the second page to see an example. This is an option of how to fulfill Step 3 from the “4 Steps of Time Management” handout.

Procrastination is often the reason people give for poor time management skills. It is so easy to say: “I’ll do it later.” “I have plenty of time.” “I can afford to procrastinate.” If you are interested in reducing procrastination, it is very helpful to understand why you procrastinate. This handout goes over 10 of the top reasons people procrastinate. Read it over, and see if you identify with any of them. It is very possible there are other reasons why that are not listed here. Nevertheless, this handout is meant to encourage your own reflection. So reflect, and act on limiting your levels of procrastination!

“I always thought I had bad time management skills. But in reality, I knew how to manage my time just fine. I blamed my lack of time management on the fact that I was just a procrastinator. I use to write papers the night before. I would wake up super early to cram for a morning exam that I had just three hours later. After talking about why I procrastinated with an Academic Coach, and reading the procrastination handout, I realized why I procrastinated. I still do sometimes. But I am aware now. Just being aware of why I procrastinate helps me not do it as much. And I get stuff done way better now. I don’t think anything would have changed unless I talked about it in Academic Coaching. Think about meeting with them. They know what they are talking about.” – Student reflection on procrastination