Time Management

We've all experienced "time" for better or worse, its ups and downs, its flexibility and its constraints. How much of our arguments with time have been self imposed? As you begin your journey through time, you need to make conscious decisions and design your own reality. Your future depends on the decisions and actions that you make today. You need to set goals and decide early to stick to them. Students who are successful with their studies have clear, defined study skills and use their time wisely. As a freshman, you have to decide early on what works and what doesn't work for you when you are scheduling your classes, your study time, your household chore time (including bill paying) and your social time.

It's important to schedule your activities and manage your time appropriately. To reduce stress and anxiety created by missing your classes, study dates or important advising appointments, write everything down on a paper calendar, a bulletin board with 3x5 index cards, or transfer all of your important dates to a software tool like Microsoft Outlook. It's recommended that you have three different types of schedules. One would be your semester-long schedule on which you will plot all of your classes, labs, tests and papers taken from the course syllabus. Use different color pencils to mark the different course requirements. You will soon recognize them quickly. Also have a weekly calendar that hangs in your room over your computer that outlines your daily class times, your intramural or fitness training, your practices -- and be sure to include free times to visit with friends. Lastly, keep a daily "to-do list" that reminds you to keep current with your homework, important calls or doctor appointments. A successful semester is the result of a well-developed schedule that considers your long- and short-term goals. It is important that you include the following activities in your daily planner:

  • sleeping
  • eating
  • studying (include class time)
  • leisure time (social)

Since everyone has a different cycle for studying, sleeping, eating and leisure time, it's important that you develop your own plan and -- most importantly -- STICK WITH IT!

Share your calendar with your roommate. It may not match his or hers, but it will generate a conversation about priorities and respect for one another.

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Everything in this life takes longer than you think except life itself.

Time is nature's way of making sure that everything doesn't happen at once.

Time is that in which all things pass away.

Lost time is never found again. - Proverb

It is later than you think.- Chinese proverb

You can't turn back the clock. But you can wind it up again. - Bonnie Prudden

Time is at once the most valuable and the most perishable of all our possessions. - John Randolph

Never before have we had so little time in which to do so much. - Theodore Roosevelt


(Adapted from Edwin C. Bliss's list of top-40 cop-outs in Doing It Now)

  1. It is not due yet.
  2. I work better under pressure.
  3. I do not feel like doing it now.
  4. It is too difficult.
  5. I really mean to do it, but I keep forgetting.
  6. It is boring.
  7. I do not know where to begin.
  8. I do not know how to do it and do not want to ask.
  9. I do not have all the materials I need.
  10. I probably would not do a very good job anyway.

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With developed study-skill tools and effective time management, you will not need these excuses. You will quickly make the most of your time. Our last piece of advice -- read through the following tips on making the most of your time while you are a college student:


Think about your semester, your week and your day. Set realistic goals for each. Focus on what you would like to accomplish today and keep it at the top of your list. Cross the items off as you complete them and you'll quickly realize how good it feels to have accomplished one of your goals.

Protect your time

Missing one party or an outing with a friend is not the end of the world. You will receive other invitations. Let your friends know early that you have work to do and you will hook up with them at a later date. Don't feel guilty about saying no. Turn off your cell phone and avoid taking phone calls as they can be huge distractions. Do not eat at your desk. Take the time to go to the dining hall for re-fueling.

Create a positive study environment

Eliminate noise and distractions that will interfere with your work. Put a note on your door asking your friends to come back at a later time and make sure you have enough light in your working area.

Break down tasks

Don't become overwhelmed with large assignments. Break down your projects into manageable portions. Reserve time each week to continue working on a segment of the assignment.


Putting things off to the last minute is a terrible habit. Avoid this pitfall. When you put things off until the last minute, you create stress and chaos in your life.


If you tend to daydream, try studying in small blocks of time rather than large periods of time. If studying for long periods of time, try alternating topics; this will keep you active and engaged.


Reward yourself when you've accomplished something that you set out to do. To succeed in college, allow time management to become a habit. Be honest with yourself when you're completing your planner. A schedule that is personalized will be an efficient use of your time.

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Last Updated: 11/26/13