15+ Essential time management tips for successful college students
12 mins read

15+ Essential time management tips for successful college students

Time management is tricky for everyone, especially college students. That is why I have decided to compile a few of my favorite time management tips that helped me navigate college with ease and that I still use now in my work. 

These tips aren’t in any particular order, so be sure to read all of them to make sure you don’t miss any that could change how you manage your time. Without further ado, here are:

15+ Essential time management tips for college students

1. Plan your day

Before you leave your house to go out and about, make sure you have planned for the day otherwise the day will be over before you know it and you’ll have nothing to show for it. Having a plan allows you to make sure you and to the intended things and keep track of what you’re not able to get to before the day ends.

2. Prioritize your tasks

As I have shared in a blog post before, not everything on your planner is urgent and important. Some things can afford to wait a little while and therefore can be pushed further down the planner list without any consequences.

Tasks that can wait should wait so you can focus on items that are important and time-sensitive. 

3. Break down large tasks into smaller parts

Looking at a huge assignment or task can be so discouraging. It can make you a master procrastinator. To avoid procrastination and to better manage your time, you need to write down the small tasks that add up to a bigger objective. 

For instance, if you are working on a term paper or a research paper, you can break it down by chapter then further break those chapters down by topic then break topics further into their respective headings then use those to track your progress.

4. Use a checklist

Raise your hand if you love a good checklist. Writing a checklist and slowly checking things off as you do them throughout your day is so fulfilling and encouraging.

It just makes you want to accomplish more things in the day. It is for this reason that you need to have your tasks on a checklist.

You can have one n your planner, or you can set one up through your google calendar or on your phone notepad app.

5. Set reminders

This is something I swear by. I have a timer for everything. The reason why that is is that some days are overwhelming and becomes difficult to remember all the things I have to do so I decided to make my life easier and set timers for everything.

Set a timer for when to begin a task and when to end it so you can switch tasks. Setting reminders will free up some brain space and allow you to manage your time a lot better.

6. Use Google Calendar

Google Calendar is a free tool that you should be taking advantage of as a college student to help you manage your time.

You can use Google calendar to set up all your events, but you can also use it to schedule your to-do list. This will allow you to have everything you need to do in your pocket at all times.

The other reason why I love google calendar is that you can access it on all your devices wherever you are, and you can also add notifications for all the tasks you need to do, which will make sure you are managing your time, not the other way around.

7. Create rewards

All work with no play makes Tom a dull boy. Have something you look forward to after a long day of hard work and managing your time well.

As for yours truly being a closeted Otaku, I tuck into my anime and Manga when the day is done. You also need to have a reward for yourself, something to keep you motivated as you manage your time like a boss.

8. Set a schedule

As a college student, you should be running on a schedule our schedule is determined by your class timings. It doesn’t matter whether you’re physically going to campus or you’re learning online your class schedule is the schedule you should be running on.

In order to manage your time well as a college student, you need to schedule your days around your classes, this way your school life remains priority #1.

9. Set realistic timelines

Did you know that setting unrealistic timelines makes you worse at time management? Therefore, in order to course-correct on this, you have to set realistic time frames for all your tasks as a college student.

Say you have classes, co-curricular activities, and a part-time job, your schoolwork is priority #1, next comes your part-time job, and finally your co-curricular activities. 

Keep in mind that co-curricular activities are a privilege, therefore it doesn’t get the privilege of time when you are planning your tasks for the day.

The reason why I have bothered to share this is that I have seen time and time again students struggling with this so I hope this helps you out.

10. Wake up on time

This could seriously ruin all your plans. Getting up on time makes sure that you start your day off right. It makes sure that the day starts on your terms and not the other way around.

Waking up on time is the first thing you do to manage your time first thing in the morning, by managing when your day begins.

When you lose grasp of that, the rest of the day can feel like it is out of your control, which is why waking up on time is such a crucial part of managing your time as a college student.

11. Eliminate distractions during tasks

Another great time management tip for college students is to make sure that when you’re performing tasks, you perform them in an environment that is free of distractions. 

For instance, if you’re studying then it’s a good idea to switch off your phone but if you can’t switch it off then it’s a good idea to use a focus app like Forest that will make sure to block all notifications and calls giving you time to focus on the task at hand.

12. Do one task at a time

Performing one task at a time is another way to make sure you’re managing your time well as a college student.

Trying to do more than one thing at a time is how to make sure you don’t accomplish anything at all. You can’t try and complete an assignment while you catch up with the latest episode of the bold type. It doesn’t work.

Therefore, when performing tasks, handle them one at a time. Complete a task, then move on to the next one.

13. Get enough sleep

Without enough sleep, our bodies can’t perform at their peak. We are generally slower in almost every way which dulls our ability to manage time effectively as college students.

It is therefore important to prioritize sleep as a college student. FOMO is only in your head. It doesn’t actually exist. 

When you get enough sleep you are more likely to wake up on time and therefore start the day on your own terms and increase the chances of managing your time as well as possible.

14. Set apart time for planning

All these plans and schedules need to have someone sit down and do them, and that someone is you, congratulations. Remember to make time to review your schedule and plan accordingly for the week. 

As a college student, I would reserve Sunday afternoons or evenings for this task as I recommend you do the same because by Sunday evening you know all the tasks you are carrying forward from one week into the next, and you ought to have completed all the tasks set out for that Sunday except for the weekly planning of course.

15. Balance is the key to life

Who was it who said that balance is the key to life? whoever they were we owe them a lot because they were so right.

You have to make sure that as a college student there is a balance of all the things you need to tend to. You need to make sure that your weekly planner caters to school work, work stuff, and time for friends and family.

In these times we can all agree that time is a little scarce so you might not be able to visit them physically but that’s what all the video applications are for like WhatsApp, Facebook, Duo, and so many others.

16. Identify your time wasters

It is almost impossible to manage your time properly as a college student when you have no clue as to the things that affect your time management skills, to begin with.

You, therefore, have to start by analyzing how you spend your time over a few days, write down how long tasks take, how long your commute takes and what ends up derailing you from the tasks you need to attend to. Once that is done you then must come up with mitigating strategies against them.

For instance, if your phone distracts your study sessions then carry out your study sessions without your phone. Leave it in a different room or use Forest to stay focused for the duration of the study session.

17. Take breaks as needed

Here is another helpful time management tip for college students, be sure to take breaks as needed. This is especially for study sessions.

Because our time like everyone else’s time is finite, we have to use it in the most efficient way.

Reading for two hours or more without taking breaks is not going to yield the desired results, you’ll therefore have to review the same materials more time than you have to in order to grasp it as you would have had you simply taken healthy breaks in between.

18. Time your breaks

Time your breaks. Let’s be honest here, not everyone knows how to take a break. Some of us take a break that goes on until the next day I’m I right?

In order to manage your time in the most efficient way as a college student, you need to make sure that all your breaks are timed and once the timer goes off you have to get back to work. 

At the end of the day, the truth is that we all have 24 hours in a day, same as 4.0 GPA students with families and jobs. The only difference is how we manage our time. You can be a master at time management if you simply apply these tips to your daily life. How do I know? Because I apply them every day. 


Thanks for stopping by, I hope this helps.


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