Self-Help Materials: Time Management

I. Symptoms of Poor Time Management

  • Rushing.
  • Chronic vacillation between unpleasant alternatives.
  • Fatigue with many hours of non-productive activity.
  • Consistently missed deadlines.
  • Insufficient time for rest or personal relationships.
  • The sense of being overwhelmed by demands and details.
  • Poor grades.
II. Requirements
  • Practice. It takes about 3 weeks to integrate time management into your lifestyle.
  • Self-Discipline.
  • Realistic and practical goals. Flexibility-allow "holes" or "open time" in your schedule.
  • Log the activities that waste your time and the ways you procrastinate for two days. Avoid these pitfalls.
III. Long-term Planning/Semester of Monthly Schedule
  • Work backward from the future to the present.
  • Use calendar and syllabus-tests, projects, holidays, special events.
  • Breakdown large tasks to a daily "to do" list that you can prioritize.
IV. Short-Term Planning/Weekly Schedule
  • Record fixed time commitments on schedule-classes, labs, jobs, etc...
  • Schedule activities essential to daily living-personal care, meals, sleep, exercise, and errands.
  • Schedule time for recreation/leisure activities, campus activities, and spiritual development.
  • Schedule study time.
V. General Tips for Time Management and Study Habits
  • Plan to study two hours for each one hour of class time. You should attempt to engage in approximately 35 hours of academic work per week.
  • Study 45-50 minutes at a time and plan 10-15 minute breaks.
  • Short study periods each day are much better than one massive study timeslot. Avoid marathon study sessions.
  • Use scattered one or two hour time slots to study. Use time between classes. Most people study best in daylight hours.
  • Use "wait time" effectively. Listen to audiotapes of notes or review flash cards.
  • Allow brief time just before classes to review the daily lesson and key words from the most previous lectures.
  • Allow brief time immediately after classes for review of notes. Refine the organization, fill in, or expand notes.
  • Begin a study period with the subject that is least interesting or most difficult for you before you get fatigued.
  • Plan to study some on the weekend. This is a good time for special projects and papers.
  • Borrow time, don't steal it. If something comes up and you use identified study time for something else, look to other free time to exchange in your schedule that same day or at least within the week.
  • Learn to say no to alternate activities if they are not on your schedule.
  • Schedule review time daily for short durations and weekly reviews for approximately 1 1/2 hours.
  • In your schedule, write in the specific course you will study, not just the term "study."
  • Attempt to study at the same time everyday if possible. Know your peak time.
  • Control your interruptions. Avoid phone calls and visitors by expressing a request to significant others not to bother you during study hours. Place a "DO NOT DISTURB" sign on your door.
  • Study for each class everyday!


VI. Questions to Ask Yourself

  • What is one task I can do toward accomplishing my goal?
  • Am I being too hard on myself?
  • Consider studying as your job. Would I pay myself for what I am doing now?
  • Am I making time for things that are important?
  • How did I waste time today?

The Academic Success Center staff has many resources to help you improve your time management.