Time. The finite resource. The phenomenon that we all share in common. It’s what motivates humans to do what they can on this Earth while they’re still here, and knowing how to manage your time as a student is the only way to maximize your efficiency.
I bet you didn’t think about it this way, but Bill Gates shares the same 24 hours as a 3 year-old girl.
What you choose to do with that amount of time everyday will ultimately define who you are as a person.
While we’re in school, time is not always in our control. We have to work around classes, deadlines, and be able to fit that in with all of our daily hobbies. Not to mention learning how to juggle school and work!
These 10 time management tips for students will help you organize your life and make college and high school a breeze. Come on, let’s not waste time! 😉
First, let’s talk about why you need to manage your time in the first place.
Why Do I Need to Manage My Time as a Student?
Time management allows you to complete everything that you need to get done within a certain period. It will help you organize your life which can be quite difficult during school.
Once you start managing your time, you will notice better grades, higher productivity, and ultimately a better mood!
For all my lazy students out there who finally want to get out of bed and not watch Netflix all day, you need these tips! The change will feel amazing once you get used to it and you won’t want to go back to it ever again.
Things get busy during high school and college, I get it. Which is why I want you to implement these time management strategies and give yourself more time to do the things you love.
Let’s start one of the most important time management tips for students…
Have a Schedule
I’m sure you saw this one coming, but it’s essential!
Having a schedule where you can input your to-do list into specific time slots will be the easiest way to keep track of everything.
Planners with monthly, weekly, and daily pages are extremely useful for tracking priorities (which will be discussed soon).
If you need a good planner, I highly recommend this one for all of your time management needs.
Following your schedule religiously is the most important aspect of balancing school and your personal life. Get in the the habit of writing notes, random thoughts, and ideas that you have as you go about your day into the planner as well.
You should treat it as your second brain, so that way you don’t have to clutter everything in your real one!
Prioritize Your To-Do List
Having your to-do list written down is a great start, but prioritizing it is even more valuable. Here’s how to do it:
- Go through what you have to do for the day
- Group similar tasks together (time it takes to complete, similar subject, etc.)
- Number the tasks in the order that you want to complete them
- Start with an easier task for the beginning of every day (this helps reduce feeling overwhelmed and jump start your productivity)
I used to get a feeling of discouragement when I knew there was a lot to complete the next day, even when I had my to-do list written down. However, now that I prioritize the list, I don’t get that feeling anymore.
If you get that same feeling, then you might just be missing out on prioritizing your time. Give it a try!
Have Long Term and Short Term Goals
Having long term and short term goals will help you complete tasks faster and more efficiently.
Long term goals should be anywhere from 1 week to 1 semester. Short term goals should be within the time frame of 1 week, but usually 1-2 days.
When you manage your time this way, things start to become more clear. You’ll know exactly what you have to get done and the amount of time that you have to do it.
Once you have your long term goals, all you have to do is divide them up into weekly, daily, or even hourly tasks.
Those tasks are now your short term goals. If you finish tasks early, take on a little task here and there to finish everything before you’re supposed to.
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Giving yourself some sort of incentive is a great motivator to keep at your goals.
Humans are naturally wired to do better at tasks that incentivize reward. Which is why we study hard for A’s, train hard for gold medals, and work hard to increase salary.
When it comes to time management tips for students, these rewards can be simple things like giving yourself a piece of candy when you’ve completed your tasks for the day.
Get in the Habit of Using Reminders
Although I don’t advise using technology to plan out your day, reminders on your phone can be a stress-free way to manage your time.
You should still have your goals written out in a planner, but reminders can help you remember when it’s time to complete them.
For example, if you don’t have your planner with you and you just got out of class, your phone can remind you to write down the homework you were assigned or get to studying for a test.
Reminders are essentially your back up planner for things that you may forget at times.
Avoid Distractions When Studying
This is probably one of the hardest time management tips for students to get down.
We love distractions. We love procrastination when we don’t want to do the hard work.
Here’s what I recommend you start doing now…
- Turn your phone off for tasks that take longer than 30 minutes
- Put your computer on full screen to avoid opening other tabs
- Only listen to music that is designed for focus (songs without lyrics)
- Study on a full stomach and have water next to you
Write the 4 bullet points above on a piece of paper and stick it on your wall in front of your desk so you never forget!
We get distracted by every little thing that we can, so cut them out for good when you’re studying.
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How to Make Your Studying Time More Effective
There is a special formula that was created for the most efficient studying technique. I only use this method now and boy does it work well!
It’s called the Pomodoro Technique and here’s how it works:
- Work for 25 minutes
- Take a 5 minute break
- Repeat 4 times
- After the 4th cycle, take a longer 30 minute break
The amount of memory retention you get from this method is insane and will ultimately save you time in the long run!
I recommend setting a timer for the 25 minute cycles just so you stay on track. Avoid using your phone during the breaks and instead, go grab water or a snack.
Combining this technique with tip #4 can help you stay motivated and continue to study hard.
Multitasking Will Ruin Results
I can’t speak for everyone on this, because some people can make it work. However, if you are thinking about multitasking, I would advise against it.
Getting multiple things done during the same period of time statistically doesn’t make sense if you want to be 100% efficient. If you work on 2 things at once, it’s almost impossible to put your full effort into both.
Plus, all the other time management tips for students are enough to avoid having to multitask in the first place. Take advantage of the other tips to make high school and college easier on you.
There is a theory about minimizing deadlines which summarizes that we give ourselves too much time to complete tasks, and in turn it ruins our efficiency.
For Example: If you have an essay to write that is due in 3 week, minimize that deadline to 1 week. On top of that, when you actually start the essay, give yourself 3 hours instead of the whole day to write it.
For some reason, we are able to complete tasks faster than we think! This can be a useful asset to keep in mind when you feel like your schedule is extra busy.
The 2-Minute Rule
Similar to minimizing deadlines, we tend to leave the easiest tasks for last.
These tasks can include washing a bowl after eating from it, doing laundry, writing something down, sending a teacher an email, etc.
Here’s what the 2-minute rule suggests…
If it take 2 minutes or less to do something, do it right away.
This may be difficult for you at first, but from someone who always does this now, I can say that I feel so much more organized. Following this rule has changed my time management tremendously (and for the better)!
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How to Organize Time Spent on Each Class
The best way to remember how to do this is by following these steps:
- Make a syllabus outline with all of the dates of major deadlines for the semester
- Color code the outline (use a different color for every class)
- Use the above time management tips on prioritization to order the importance of the tasks
- Split your time according to when tasks are due and how long it takes to do them
Everybody will have a different way to do this. This method is simply what has worked for my friends and I. The most important things to keep in mind for this is your syllabus due dates. That’s your main focus for splitting up the time properly.
How to Start Managing Your Time Today
It will be hard for you to start implementing these tips if you say you’ll do it later.
Now is not the time (no pun intended) to wait for your schedule to magically appear in front of you. Here’s what you can do right this second:
- Make a list of your deadlines for the semester
- Get yourself a planner on amazon
- Write out your personal goals (long and short term)
- Make your schedule for tomorrow
- Set reminders to start working on those tasks
- Keep up with it!
Hopefully these time management tips will help you become a better student in high school or college.
Remember that a lot of these methods are simply about organizing your brain onto paper so that you don’t have to cram everything into your head. Our bodies are not designed for remembering every little thing we have to do.
Sometimes we just need a little helping hand to keep track of things. And that’s okay!
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, leave them down below. Thanks for reading!