Time Management for College Students: 8 Helpful Tips

Coursework, group projects, essays, and exams take up a lot of time. Learn all about time management for college students to meet all your deadlines!

TCM Staff

7th June 2023

College can be busy and stressful. Between going to class, doing the homework, taking the tests, and finishing the assignments — we all get stuck. We hardly get any time to relax and enjoy the journey! 

The truth is, there’s more than enough time to enjoy college, get good grades, and meet all your deadlines. The trick is time management for college students. 

You might be wondering what time management for students entails, or how to manage time in college so that you can find some balance.

We’ve put together some time management tips for college students, to help you stay on track!

Photo of a clock against a two-toned background

1. Write It Down

You’re more likely to remember to do something if you write it down. Make a list of all your assignments — including weekly assignments, quizzes, and exercises or short papers — onto a visible or easily accessible notepad, or digitally on your computer or laptop. Alongside each item, make sure you record the due date and time! You should even note down periods of time where you won’t have to go to school, like Spring break. This will give you something to look forward to!

Refer to your list every night or morning so that you know what’s due in the coming days. You might even use a project management tool like Asana to keep everything organized in a visually appealing way. 


2. Schedule Work and Study Time

So you’ve noted down all your exams and assignments with corresponding due dates. Great! Now, what’s your plan for completing or preparing for them? 

This is where your work schedule comes in. Along with your list of items, pencil in time to work on assignments and study for tests. Make sure you schedule this time before something is due, and be realistic with your goals. 

If you have a project due, you’ll likely need to schedule a few time slots to get it done. If you’re uncertain about how much time you should allot for each item, do some testing of your own! Apps like Toggl help you track the time you take to complete certain tasks. Or, just record your time the old-fashioned way. This is a great exercise to help you become more self-aware and to help you set realistic goals. 


3. Stop Multitasking

Here’s a super important management tip for college students: stop multitasking. Studies show that multitasking doesn’t work. While quickly switching between tasks might feel like you’re getting more done, you’re actually lengthening the time it takes for you to complete a task. This goes for multitasking with more than one school task, and multitasking with a school task and unrelated task. 

Watching TV while studying for an exam isn’t effective either. Focus on one thing at a time for best results, and to save yourself time in the long run. 

Pro-tip: Turn your phone off or set it on “Do Not Disturb” to avoid distractions while studying. 


4. Take Healthy Breaks

If you go an entire day working without any study breaks, you’re sure to burn yourself out. Healthy breaks should be included in all time management strategies for students. 

You might consider the Pomodoro Technique, in which you reward every 25 minutes of studying with a short, 5-minute break. You can use this break to stretch your legs, check- in with a loved one, make yourself a snack, or just rest your eyes and give yourself a mental break from your study material. Studies show that the Pomodoro Technique helps people feel more focused and productive. 

The availability of time management apps has helped increase productivity and focus among students.


5. Accept Help

There will be times where you won’t be able to do it all on your own. You might be faced with a crazy busy week at school, and also have chores and errands to do as well. In these cases, your loved ones are only too happy to offer you support. 

Perhaps your roommate could take on chores for one day if you cook them dinner when you’re less busy. Or, you can ask your parents to pick up that package waiting for you at the post office. 

While we might feel vulnerable to accept help, the truth is that we can’t handle everything alone all the time. Use your support network to help you manage your time!


Girl studying for an exam


6. Set Realistic Goals

Similar to writing down tasks, goals help you keep your eye on the bigger picture. And, they help us feel more accomplished amidst constant work. 

You can set big goals or small goals throughout your week or semester. For example, spending 6 hours studying for an exam could be one goal. Or, getting help from a friend or professor on a challenging concept could be another goal. You could also make a daily goal to complete a set amount of coursework, or to organize your study space!

Reward yourself for completing your goals  — you deserve it!


7. Be Healthy

Many of us have unhealthy methods of coping with stress. This might look like overeating, procrastinating with television, drinking alcohol, or simply not taking time to exercise. 

Keeping our bodies healthy improves our energy levels, which helps us be more productive while we work. 

Try to eat healthy most of the time, and only eat junk food sparingly or as a reward for completing your goals. Get a good night’s rest each night, and schedule in time for exercise. 


8. Divide and Rule

Big projects and exams are intimidating at first glance. With so much on your plate, it’s easy to put it off and procrastinate. Start checking off your to-do list by completing shorter tasks to get your groove going. You might also consider breaking up large projects and research assignments into more manageable chunks. 



Why Is Time Management Important?

The consequences of poor time management in college are severe. If you don’t manage your time effectively, you risk:

  • Lower grades and poor performance
  • Insomnia or fatigue
  • Poor eating habits
  • Docked participation and punctuality marks

Time management is important because it helps you to:

  • Improve self-discipline
  • Increase productivity
  • Improve your quality of work
  • Reduces stress
  • Increase amount of free time for things you enjoy


Happy student smiling


Proper time management for college students helps make or break your college experience. You can enjoy the fun and exciting parts of college while still performing well academically by practicing strong time management skills for college students. 


Using the above time management tips for students is a great start in making the best use of your time. If you want to save on time spent searching for scholarships, check out our scholarship database!

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