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Time Management 101 for College Students

One of the most essential skills that anyone should learn in their college years is how to manage their time and leverage the limited hours they have to their best advantage. Here's a 10-step plan to manage your time more effectively, whether in school or beyond.

By David WyldPublished 2 months ago 4 min read
Time Management 101 for College Students
Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash


As a professor, I can safely say that time management is - no doubt - the most essential skill a college student can - and should - learn and possess. With the many academic, social, and personal demands that come with college, it can be not easy to juggle everything and get everything done on time. However, effective time management is possible with the right approach and mindset.

In this article, we will explore some tips and strategies that college students can use to improve their time management skills and achieve success in all aspects of their lives.

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1. Set Goals

The first step in effective time management is to set goals. You need to know what you want to achieve to determine how to best allocate your time. Start by creating a list of short-term and long-term goals. This can include academic, career, personal, and social goals. Once you have created your list, prioritize your goals based on their importance and urgency. This will help you to focus on the most important tasks first and avoid wasting time on less critical activities.

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2. Create a Schedule

Once you have set your goals, the next step is to create a schedule. This should include all of your regular activities, such as classes, work, and extracurricular activities. You should also allocate time for studying, completing assignments, and other academic tasks. Be sure to include some downtime in your schedule, which will help you relax and recharge.

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3. Use a Planner or Calendar

Using a planner or calendar is an effective way to keep track of your schedule and stay organized. You can use a physical planner or an electronic calendar, whichever works best for you. Make sure to include all your activities and deadlines in your planner, and check it regularly to stay on top of your schedule.

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4. Prioritize Tasks

When it comes to time management, it's crucial to prioritize your tasks. Setting priorities means focusing on the most critical tasks first and avoiding distractions. One way to prioritize your tasks is to use the Eisenhower Matrix, which categorizes tasks based on their importance and urgency. Tasks that are important and urgent should be done first, while tasks that are less important and less urgent can be done later.

I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” - Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th U.S. President

The Eisenhower Matrix

Source: Next Level Gents, "The Eisenhower Matrix," December 2023 (Used with permission)

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5. Avoid Procrastination

Procrastination is one of the biggest obstacles to effective time management. It's easy to put off tasks that we don't like or find difficult, but this only leads to more stress and anxiety later on. To avoid procrastination, break large tasks into smaller, more manageable ones and set deadlines for each. This will help you to focus on one task at a time and avoid feeling overwhelmed.

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6. Eliminate Distractions

Distractions are another common obstacle to effective time management. Whether it is social media, email, or other notifications, distractions can quickly derail your focus and productivity. To eliminate distractions, turn off your phone or put it on silent mode, close unnecessary tabs on your computer, and find a quiet place to work.

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7. Take Breaks

Taking breaks is an integral part of effective time management. It's easy to get burned out if you work too long without a break, so make sure to take breaks throughout the day. This can include short breaks to stretch or walk around, as well as longer breaks for lunch or other activities. Taking regular breaks will help you to stay focused and energized throughout the day.

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8. Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep is crucial for effective time management. Lack of sleep can lead to decreased productivity, poor concentration, and increased stress and anxiety. Make sure to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and try to maintain a regular sleep schedule. This will help you to stay alert and focused throughout the day.

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9. Learn to Say “No”

Learning to say no is a vital part of effective time management. It's easy to get overwhelmed with requests and commitments, but saying yes to everything will only lead to more stress and less time for the things that are truly important to you. Be selective about the commitments you make, and don't be afraid to say no when necessary.

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10. Use Technology to Your Advantage

Finally, use technology to your advantage. There are many apps and tools available that can help you to manage your time more effectively. These include productivity apps, time-tracking apps, and task-management tools. Find the organizational tools that work best for you and incorporate them into your daily routine.

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In conclusion, effective time management is essential for college students who want to succeed not just in their classes but in all aspects of their lives. By setting goals, creating a schedule, prioritizing tasks, avoiding procrastination and distractions, taking breaks, getting enough sleep, learning to say no, and using technology to your advantage, you can improve your time management skills and achieve your goals. Remember that effective time management takes practice and perseverance, but with the right mindset and approach, anything is possible. And college is the best time to learn time management skills and integrate them into your daily life!


About David Wyld

David C. Wyld is a Professor of Strategic Management at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana. He is a management consultant, researcher/writer, publisher, executive educator, and experienced expert witness. You can view all of his work at You can subscribe to his Medium article feed at:

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About the Creator

David Wyld

Professor, Consultant, Doer. Founder/Publisher of The IDEA Publishing ( & Modern Business Press (

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  • Babs Iverson2 months ago

    Agree, time management is an essential skill for college students! Superb advice and how to article! Love it!♥️💕

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