Time Management 101 for Students

focused black schoolgirl doing homework at table in house
Madeleine Karydes
Madeleine Karydes

Madeleine attended UC Berkeley and double-majored in English and Media Studies. She is now an integral part of the Empowerly team.

Time management is an important skill to learn. It will not only improve your performance in school but also serve an important role in life. 

Time management is the process of structuring your schedule in a way that best serves your goals, no matter how big or small they may be. People that have mastered time management in their lives will tell you that it’s truly an art form that takes practice. 

But the reality is, sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day! It can prove difficult or impossible to get everything done that you want to. However, learning to organize your time is an important part of organizing your life. Learning time management skills and reinforcing them in your day to day, means you’re setting yourself on the right track to accomplish your goals. 

Create a Plan for Success.

A big part of time management is planning. In order to make the most of your time and be as efficient as possible, first, you must make a structure. At the outset, the planning aspect of time management might feel like it’s wasting your time. You might think “I could be doing my homework now, not planning when I will do it.” But the truth is that planning ahead and organizing your time will help you become more efficient in your life.

First, to improve your time management skills you must define your goals. After defining your goals clearly, you can start to plan the best and most efficient way to achieve them. For example, your goals could be big, like “I want to take as many AP classes as possible”—or more modest, like, “I want to finish this project early, so I can see friends this weekend.” 

Once you have outlined your goals, consider the activities you have to achieve. What are your steps toward the goal, along with the other tasks you have to complete (like household chores)? Make a list of those items. Then, you can start to think about how long they will take you, what you might need to start in order to complete them, and any other factors involved.

Prioritize Your Commitments.

Next, you will want to prioritize your goals and activities. For example, you may have a goal of completing your homework nightly before bed; at the same time, you may also have a goal of achieving honors at school. Your first goal of completing your homework will contribute to achieving honors at school. In terms of managing your time in this scenario, you would want to consider what you have on your plate each day that is a roadblock to completing your homework. Maybe you have an after school job or play a sport; if you do, you’ll have to make time to do homework before or after work or practice. 

Do you see how, if you plan ahead, you will know when you have time to do your homework AND you will be able to better concentrate on your other activities? When it comes time to do your homework, you won’t have to think or prepare, so you can instead dive right into your assignments. This will allow you to focus on the task at hand, making you the most efficient as possible. 

Consistency Is Key.

Planning your schedule out weekly will help you determine when it is best to do specific activities. In other words, when you can have breaks to do something fun, see friends, or enjoy your hobbies. Although you may want to improve your time management to achieve more of your goals or achieve them faster, it’s important to keep life balance in mind. With that, enhancing your time management skills will support your well-being, and help you learn to make time in your schedule for activities and adventures.

Quick Tips for Time Management:

We’ve talked about the importance of learning time management skills before, as it’s critical for developing in school and growing into your professional life. Below are some quick tips that will give you ideas on how to start practicing better time management and improve your skills for the future. 

1. Keep a calendar.

 Online or as a hard copy, it’s helpful to track your commitments and deadlines to stay ahead of the curve. 

2. Break up big things in advance.

Turning big projects into smaller, more digestible chunks will cut down on fatigue and keep you motivated.

3. At the beginning of each week, figure out what you’re doing each day.

Every day, give yourself 3 important tasks to complete. This concentrated list will help you focus and stay on top of your commitments. 

4. Schedule regular working hours during each weekday…

…and, give yourself time off. Work is important and so is your time to rest and recharge! Don’t forget to give yourself space for that time. 

5. Minimize distractions.

Whether it’s a quiet workspace, or turning off your WiFi, finding ways to keep yourself on task is key.

6. Cut down on commitments.

Ensure that your schedule is balanced, and don’t be afraid to move or cancel plans that feel like too much. 

7. Find a time management system that works for you.

At first, it might be good to try a few things, but once you find the system that works for you, keep at it. 

To read more about our 7 tips for time management, click here, and to learn more about preparing for college, connect with an Empowerly team member. Our team of experienced professionals are dedicated to helping students and families prepare for academics after high school. We can help support you too. Reach out to connect with an Empowerly team member today. 

Questions? Let us know!