Strategies for Success with Time Management

Get started on the right foot!

Fill out a Semester Plan with all of your due dates! 

  • Review all syllabi and enter in all deadlines on a master calendar. Add new deadlines to the calendar as you learn about them.
  • You can also add the official academic deadlines to your Google calendar by following the directions at this link.

Set a Schedule. Create a weekly plan.

  • Weekly schedule (PDF) Set a schedule of regular study times, regardless of what is due.

Set goals. Setting short-term, mid-range, and long-term goals can give you something to focus on and direction. Take note of how current successes can lead to long-term successes. Don't be afraid to set goals just because you can't always reach them: It can take multiple tries. Set realistic goals. Sometimes you can't get everything done, because it is just too much!

  • To-do list (PDF)- Short-term goals for this week/today; Create daily, weekly, monthly to-do lists as well as year-long goals. Refer to the big ones once a week, and create a fresh daily list at the start of each day/week.
  • Goal-setting sheet (PDF)- Midterm/long-range goals; You may realize that you are not pursuing a goal because it just isn't that important to you. That can be helpful to realize, too.

Handle those large projects.  Create a Reverse plan (see this tutorial for more).

  • Reverse planning worksheet- Whittle away at tasks--don't expect yourself to do everything at once. Make a plan to complete a project in small chunks, ensuring timely completion with reduced pressure/stress. 

Power strategy: Do not wait for deadlines to begin studying. Set aside daily study sessions and whittle away at study, reading, or projects so you finish at least one day before the deadline. Make these study sessions a daily habit, no matter how far away the deadline is.

Focus on habits. Create habits that make it easy to get things done because you no longer have to think about it. Try the 32-day commitment—commit to one task every day for 32 days to create a new habit.

Reflect. When things go wrong or you don't get the results you are hoping for, reflect on the behaviors and situation that led to the failure. What went wrong and how can you make changes to improve the chances of success the next time?

Mix it up. Take breaks. Switch tasks. Find a way to make your activities fun. When you have been working for a while and are feeling restless (but have more to do!), try changing modes. Switch from computer to paper or dictate your ideas or work with a friend or draw it out or act it out or talk aloud to yourself or get a stack of post-its or index cards just to try a new approach to your work. These other modes may not be as efficient, but they may give you fresh energy to help you keep going. Sometimes they can lead you to get new ideas, too. Different timer apps can be fun.

Practice Self-Care. Exercise regularly. Get enough sleep. Pay attention to what you are eating. Spend time in activities you enjoy. Taking care of yourself makes you better.

Use the 20-minute rule! If you are struggling getting started, tell yourself, "I don't want to do ______, but I know I can do anything for 20 minutes." Set a timer and get started. Some people only need this to be a five or ten-minute session. Experiment and see if this works for you. More often than not, the act of getting started is more difficult than the activity itself.

Do one thing. When you find yourself hesitating to start, think-- "What is one thing I could do right now?" rather than "I should finish this huge project in one sitting that I don't even want to start on."

Final exam plan

More Information:

The library has a video on time management tips for college students that you may also find helpful.

Interested in learning more? Consider taking a one-credit hour course on Time Management in College. Find out about our offerings here.

Need individualized assistance? Consider scheduling a consultation with a peer academic coach during the fall and spring semesters.