Effective time management is one of the most critical skills a student can learn.  Now that you are in college, you might be balancing a job, a family, housework, commuting, errands, and yes, schoolwork!  There will be textbook readings, papers, and tests to study for. And you can get it all done, one small step at a time.

First, you need to decide - paper or technology?  There are online weekly schedule makers you can use to type in your class schedule and other obligations that you may have on a weekly basis, such as Free college schedule maker or Schedule builder. If you prefer to handwrite a schedule to manage your time, print this blank timesheet to fill out.

Tips on creating your schedule:

  • Block off all known obligations, including classes, travel, eating, work schedule, etc. 

  • After your obligations are blocked off, you’ll see what time you have available to do schoolwork. Examine all of your syllabi for your courses. Create a list of everything that must be done for the next two weeks.  Include the chapters you are expected to read as well as those tasks that you want to incorporate even if they are not expected by the instructor.  For example, making flash cards or taking notes on your readings. You should expect to spend about two hours outside of class for each hour in class.

  • Be sure to block off some time for yourself as well so you can spend time with friends, have relaxation time, etc.

If you are not sure how long a task will take, build in more than you think you need.  It is better to finish early, then run out of time. Be sure to build in little reward times, too, to celebrate your accomplishments.  If possible, try to keep the schedule the same from week to week. It will become a regular part of your life.

Use any extra time to plug in tasks for the following week so you can get ahead of the semester, or build in additional study techniques to try.  Learning is all about repetition, so rewrite notes, take notes on the reading, create flash cards and then use them. Study smarter, not harder.

Apps for time management

If you are someone who would rather have a calendar at your fingertips, here are some apps that can help you manage your time!

  • Finish - This app is touted as the best app for procrastinators.
  • My Study Life -  A cross-platform planner for students, teachers and lecturers designed to make your study life easier to manage. My Study Life allows you to store your classes, homework and exams in the cloud making it available on any device, wherever you are.
  • My Priority Planner -  A time management app based on the Eisenhower Method. It lets you effectively prioritize tasks in a straightforward manner.