Time Management Strategies

Most students whose grades are disappointingly low simply don't spend enough time with their books. While an hour a day may have sufficed in high school, two hours of studying outside of class for every hour in class is the norm at the university. In other words, if you have a typical load of 15 credits, you will want to devote about 30 hours a week to your studies. Although that may sound time consuming, a reasonable study plan will lead to more free time than you have now. Time management advantages are numerous: better grades, fewer late-night study sessions, more time to participate in campus activities, and more guilt-free play time! There is enough time in the week to balance class, study, work, activities, and recreation. By spending a little time getting organized — maybe 15 minutes on a Sunday night — you will have more productive hours during the week.

How do you organize time?
You should aim for a regular amount of hours spent studying each day. Five hours a day Monday through Friday plus one long morning session on Saturday would give you thirty hours during the week. It would also give you the rest of Saturday and all day Sunday to play. If you have to cut back on the study hours one day because of work or special activities, you must make it up during the same week.

Tips for getting the most from your time:

  • Be realistic
  • Don't cheat on your sleep. Your body always wins
  • Don't let the odd hours between classes get lost! Use it for review, library time, or necessary errands
  • Pay attention to your best hours, and arrange your study hours then
  • Don't attempt marathon study sessions. Two 2-hour sessions separated by a long break will be more efficient than one long session. You'll only concentrate for about two hours anyway
  • Schedule ahead; set intermediate tasks and goals
  • Put your hardest subject first, your easiest (usually your favorite) last. Interest will pull you through when stamina begins to wane
  • Don't waste time being stuck. Call a study-buddy for help, or put the work aside for a while and come at it fresh
  • If you find that you're not sticking to your schedule, pay attention to the things that are getting in the way. You may have left something important out of your weekly planning such as adequate travel time between classes and work, or enough time for errands.  You may also need to change your habits (moving your study place away from the telephone or TV, or doing something active after classes before you hit the books).
  • You aren't spending enough time on the things that are most important to you if you find that you're unhappy with your week, even though you've worked hard and accomplished most of your goals. In this case, re-think your values and prioritize what matters most to you and make time for it.
  • Don't overdo it
  • Keep your schedule realistic
  • Set priorities
  • Be flexible and allow for trade-offs

Where can you find help?

Student success Services offers workshops on time management and other helpful study strategies. To find out more, clicks here:
SSS Workshops

Make an appointment with the Student Success Coordinator, Susan Vinson, for personalized help with time management:
WC Online

When making an appointment, select Student Success Services under ‘CHOOSE A SCHEDULE’.

*Adapted from the UW Seattle Website.


Time Management Resources

Weekly Schedule-Blank

Weekly Schedule-Sample

Time Study Exercise

You can print this document for your reference here.