Tips on Time

Here is some advice that will help you manage your time like a boss.

Put all due dates in a calendar

  • This gives you the “big picture” for the semester
  • You will see some weeks are busier than others
  • It is good to flag these weeks, because to keep on top of your work, some tasks will need to be completed days before they are due

You might have a week like this:

Sociology Test   History Paper Due English Midterm French Quiz

As the guide says, DON’T PANIC! Deep breath, do some stretching, rant to your roommate, but if you manage your time effectively, this is totally doable. Busy, but doable.


  • Tests have fixed dates
  • Written assignments, can be completed before they are due

You can use the Semester Schedule handout to do this, just make sure you pick the correct semester. 


Schedule, Schedule, Schedule

  • This can be monthly, weekly, daily… whatever works best for you
  • Scheduling your time is therapeutic. If your schedule is planned well, it ensures you are in control of your life and that your work will get done
  • When creating your schedule, try to keep your study sessions as similar between days
  • We get into the routine of our classes because they’re the same every week, let’s do the same with studying
  • Making a schedule also ensures you have time for activities outside of school. The gym, work, grocery shopping, making that cheesy lasagna you plan on sharing with your learning strategist… all the things!

Make To Do Lists

  • You are less likely to forget a task if you write it down
  • Also, you can separate tasks based on their priority (or importance)
  • An assignment due tomorrow will have higher priority than an assignment due next week
  • An assignment worth 30% of your final grade will have higher priority than an assignment worth 10%
  • You want to make sure you are spending your time where it matters
  • Don’t waste time doing unimportant tasks. “Keeping busy” is not the same as “Getting things done”  


Location, Location, Location

WHERE you study often determines WHETHER you study.

  • What are the people around you doing? Are there people around you? How quiet is it? How comfortable are you? How likely are you to be distracted?
  • And keep in mind what you are studying? If you need to talk aloud, study somewhere you can do that. If you need to focus, study somewhere you can do that
  • When you are in bed, your brain knows it is time to sleep. When you sit at your study spot, your brain will know it is time to work
  • Libraries and study halls are great locations to study. Your kitchen table with your roommates dancing to the latest hit single while making that cheesy lasagna, is possibly not the best place. The choice is yours 


Break. It. Down.

  • It is easy to become distracted or unmotivated when confronted with large tasks
  • By breaking these tasks into smaller chunks, not only do they seem more manageable and less intimidating, but you are less likely to become bored, lose focus, or procrastinate
    For Example: Remember that history paper from before? Rather than put off… put off… and write the whole, darn thing on the Tuesday, spread it through the days like butter on bread 



Pick Topic

Find Sources

Finish Finding Sources

Start Reading

Continue Reading

Make Notes

Finish Reading

Make Outline

Write Page One

Write Two Pages

Write Three Pages

Write the Rest

Take a Break



Doesn’t that look more inviting? It’s the difference between a warm, fuzzy hug and one from that obnoxious relative we all have who squeezes until you need to see a chiropractor.

You can do this with everything! Need to read a 50 page boring, textbook chapter? Read 10 pages a day over five days. You are more likely to get something done if it is easier. And reading 10 pages in one sitting is easier than 50.

Use “Waiting Time”

  • You take the bus. Visit your dentist. Stand in line for coffee. This is called “waiting time”
  • Always carry portable work with you—reading is a great portable task!
  • Let’s say you wait for the bus 10 minutes/day… 5 days a week. That’s just under an hour of reading you could complete while waiting
  • Having portable work is also therapeutic because you won’t feel like you’re wasting time, work while you wait! 


Work Smart

We are all different when it comes to our productivity. Some of us are morning people, some of us are night owls. Knowing WHEN you are most productive, can save you time when it comes to school work!

It is best to study difficult subjects first. You will have more energy and alertness at the beginning of your study session, so get the tough stuff out of the way. But if you know you’re more productive in the morning or evening… do the hard stuff then.

What takes you an hour to do when you’re feeling good, can take 1.5 hours or longer when you’re tired. We only have so much time, so work smart!


Cuseo, Joseph B, Aaron Thompson, Michele Campagna, Viki Sox Fecas. Thriving in College and Beyond: Research-Based Strategies for Academic Success and Personal Development. Dubuque: Kendall Hunt Publishing Company, 2016.