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Time Management Tips for Students

a big alarm clock on top of a pile of books and agendas

Work smarter not harder, is a great theme for time management. People who lack time management skills tend to run late and build up stress along the way. Time management skills are important for creating a balanced life. When you manage your time you can create space for both work and play. Without time management skills you are at the whim of the most pressing thing that needs to get done.

Time management requires planning and self-monitoring skills.

Once you plan your time it takes self-control to stick with your plan and not spend work time on a more enjoyable task like talking to a friend. The Stop, Think, Plan, Do system can be helpful for learning time management.


  1. Look at your planner.

  2. Review your short-term assignments (the ones that are due the next day) and long-term assignments (any projects, tests to study for, etc. that need to be worked on over several days) and write them under tasks.

  3. If you don’t know the homework from one of your classes, call that friend whose number is in your planner.

 Ask yourself questions

  1. What is due tomorrow? – make sure these come before assignments that are due later in the week

  2. Which assignments are the hardest? Which are the easiest? – do the harder ones first and save the easier ones for later

  3. Number the assignments in the order that you plan to do them in.

  4. Estimate the time it will take for each assignment, asking yourself:

  5. How many problems do I have to complete?

  6. How long does homework usually take for this class?


  1. Write the amount of time you think each assignment will take under “Estimated time needed.”

  2. Add up the amount of time you estimate your homework will take overall.

  3. Look at the clock and plan when you are going to start and when you will take breaks.

  4. Then estimate when you will be done with your homework.

  5. Look at your daily schedule to see how much time you had set aside for homework tonight – do you estimate that you will have enough time to finish it all?


  1. Set a timer when you start each assignment and stop it when you are finished. 

  2. Record the actual time for each assignment on your chart.

  3. What was the difference?

  4. Did you over or under estimate your time?

  5. Can you use this information to help you plan your time in the future?

  6. Cross off each assignment when it’s done!

  7. Seeing what you have completed and what you have left helps you see your progress.

Additional tips:

  1. Don’t be afraid to say “No”.  Your time is valuable and limited, make sure you say “no” to anything that is going to take you away from achieving your goal.

  2. Create a dedicated time to study. Turn off your phone and focus on what you are doing, you will find the work will go much quicker.

  3. Stay with what you are working on. Don’t allow yourself to get sidetracked with ideas that cause you to procrastinate.

  4. Get a good night’s sleep. Sleep is important for your brain and energy level.


Learn more time management and executive functioning tips in the Executive Functioning Workbook.


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