How to Improve Time Management for Students

June 22, 2023
5 min read

Time management is a critical professional, academic, and personal skill to have. Develop it early by learning about the top time management strategies for students.

We’ve all been in situations where we hated our past selves for waiting till the last minute to complete a project or felt in over our heads as we juggled multiple commitments simultaneously because we procrastinated. It’s a common experience that can and should be avoided with effective time management skills.

Students must hone these skills early to achieve their goals and set themselves up for success as their curriculums become more difficult and their lives more busy in college. In this guide, we’ll go over how to improve time management and explain why it’s a critical skill for students!

Top 10 Time Management Strategies for Students

As a student, now is the time to build a solid skill set that you continue honing throughout your life! Here are 10 tips to consider as you begin developing your time management:

1. Implement New Strategies Slowly

The first suggestion to keep in mind is to implement new tools or strategies into your daily routine slowly. For instance, if you want to try dedicating more hours each week to your studies, begin with 15-20 minutes a day. Work your way to your goal daily so you do not get overwhelmed!

2. Experiment With Tools

Experiment with multiple time management tools to find the best for you. Here are some fan favorites: 

  • To-do lists: Create daily or weekly to-do lists to outline tasks you need to complete.
  • Planners: either physical or digital planners can help you keep track of your tasks and deadlines.
  • Calendars: Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar, and Apple Calendar allow you to block out time for different activities and enter  all  your projects for the month.
  • Reminders: keeping reminders on your phone that will notify you of upcoming deadlines can keep you on track and organized.
  • Habit-tracking apps: apps like Streaks or Habitica can help you form positive habits and track your progress to establish a productive routine.

There are numerous apps and resources available to assist with your time management! Try out a few and see which ones suit your needs and preferences.

3. Prioritize Tasks

You must prioritize your obligations to complete everything on time and without  unnecessary stress. Some students prefer to complete simple tasks first to get them out of the way, while others choose to tackle their harder tasks first and leave the easier ones for last. 

Choose whichever strategy works for you, and stick to it! If you struggle to fit everything into your schedule, see what you can move around!

4. Limit Your Distractions

Another important step to take is to limit your distractions. One of the biggest distractions is your phone! Keep it out of reach for the time allotted to your academics. We all know how easy it is for “just five minutes” to turn into an hour.

5. Avoid Multitasking

It may seem counteractive to only focus on one task at a time, but multitasking has  been shown to decrease productivity. It is better to complete one task at a time to dedicate your full attention to it and can produce higher-quality work.

6. Be Flexible

Learning to manage your time effectively won’t be simple and won’t happen overnight! It will require a lot of trial and error and change. Be open to adapting your schedule, and remember that improving your time management is ongoing.

7. Reward Yourself

The wise Jim Ryun once said, “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” Finding the motivation to complete your tasks on time and resist procrastination is the hardest part of improving your time management. Make it more appealing by creating a rewards system.

Set a reward for yourself at the end of each successful week. If you stick to your desired schedule and complete everything you need to, treat yourself. Whether it’s going out with your friends, binge-watching a show all weekend, or ordering your favorite takeout, celebrate your progress!

8. Work Smarter, Not Harder

Find ways to decrease your workload so that you can work harder, not smarter. For instance, if you have to read a book for class, consider purchasing an audiobook, you can listen to while you shower, eat, or complete other tasks. Form study groups with your friends so that you can share notes and have more resources to use.

Leverage the tools at your disposal to enhance your productivity! 

9. Be Realistic

Improving your time management is not a way to complete all of your tasks for the month within a week. It allows students to effectively allocate and utilize their time to achieve their goals and priorities.

As such, you should keep your goals realistic. Instead of aiming to finish three essays in one week so that you can play video games all of the next, break these tasks down. Work on them slowly every day so you can complete them punctually and still have time to play video games! 

10. Make Time For Fun!

Managing your time does not mean spending all of it on your academics. Make time for those you love and the things you love so that you remain motivated and do not get burned out.

Best Time Management Tools for Students

Being a student and juggling everything from homework, assignments, tests, and other commitments can be tough. Below, we’ve compiled a list of helpful time management tools to keep you on track when tackling your responsibilities. We’ve chosen these tools because they have been proven to aid students in time management and make their lives a lot easier!

1. Google Calendar

Google Calendar is a tool that helps you keep track of your schedule and appointments. It lets you create events, set reminders, and organize your time effectively. You can view your calendar on different devices like your phone or computer, making it easy to stay organized wherever you go.

2. ClickUp

Students have various tasks besides studying, like assignments and group projects. ClickUp offers a user-friendly platform to organize tasks, set due dates, and track progress. It allows for easy collaboration, file sharing, and note-taking. Integration with time-tracking apps is recommended for better efficiency.

3. myHomework Student Planner 

Even though it mentions homework, this app isn't just for school kids. It's great for anyone, whether you're in high school or university. The myHomework Student Planner app helps you keep track of all your assignments, exams, projects, and important events on a calendar. 

Plus, it has a homework widget that syncs your assignments and sends you reminders before they're due. It's perfect for staying on top of deadlines and avoiding last-minute surprises.

4. StayFocusd 

If you can't resist checking social media when you're supposed to be studying, try using an app to block distracting websites. For Google Chrome users, an extension called StayFocusd limits your time on sites that waste your time. If you're always on your phone, you can try Anti-Social. It shows you how much time you spend on your phone compared to others and lets you block apps you use too much.

5. Pomofocus

The Pomodoro Method, created by college student Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s, helps maximize productivity by focusing on tasks for 25-minute intervals, followed by 5-minute breaks. Named after a tomato-shaped kitchen timer (hence the Italian word for tomato), this technique is now simplified with apps like Pomofocus. 

It's ideal for tackling smaller tasks and studying, reducing overwhelm and boosting focus. Try scheduling Pomodoro focus sessions weekly or breaking up study days into 25-minute blocks.

6. Todoist

It's easy to feel overwhelmed when you're bombarded with school assignments, personal tasks, event invitations, and more from various sources. Todoist is a popular app that helps you manage your time more effectively by organizing your to-do lists digitally. 

Instead of scattering your tasks across sticky notes, papers, emails, and documents, Todoist lets you create digital lists with categories, due dates, and subtasks. This app allows you to keep track of your daily goals and future tasks all in one place, saving you time and reducing the need to search through emails and papers.

Why Is Time Management Important for Students

Now that you know how to improve your time management, you may ask, “why is time management important for students?”

There are a few reasons time management is imperative for students:

  • Balance: allows students to effectively balance their academics with their extracurriculars, professional obligations, and personal lives.
  • Long-term goal achievement: effective time management can help students reach all of their goals. 
  • Maximizes productivity: enables students to make the most of their time and complete tasks with a higher degree of effort and care.
  • Reduces stress: helps students minimize last-minute rushes, all-nighters, or missed deadlines which lead to stress.
  • Builds a strong foundation for the future: these skills will carry over into students’ postsecondary and professional careers, allowing them to become better students and employees.

In summary, students who develop their time management skills can benefit from more balanced lives, more optimized academic performance, better preparation for college, and less stress!

FAQs: How to Improve Time Management Skills

If you have any lingering inquiries about how to improve time management, here are the answers to frequently asked questions about mastering this skill.

1.  What is the Best Way for Students to Manage Daily Activities?

Some of the best ways for students to manage daily activities are:

  • Keep a calendar or agenda.
  • Establish clear goals for what you want to achieve each day and work towards them systematically.
  • Don't overwhelm yourself with too many commitments. It's okay to decline tasks or invitations if you're already busy.
  • Do the most important things first.
  • Allow time to relax.
  • To stay organized and manage your time effectively, allocate dedicated time slots for studying, assignments, activities, and other commitments.
  • Be open to adjusting your schedule as needed to accommodate unexpected events or changes.

If you’re a student having trouble with their daily tasks, these helpful tips should help you manage them a bit easier. 

2. Why Do Students Struggle With Time Management?

Students struggle with time management because finding the motivation to complete tasks on time can be difficult. Additionally, students tend to have more distractions that prevent them from staying focused.

3. What Is the First Step In Improving Your Time Management Skills?

The first step to improving your time management is to want it! If you aren’t motivated to change, you will not stick to your schedule and will not see the desired results.

Final Thoughts

Remember, improving time management is a continuous process! Be patient with yourself, stay committed to developing better habits, and adapt your strategies as needed. 

By taking control of your time now, you can achieve academic success, reduce your stress, and create a healthy school-life balance that sets you up for long-term success!

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