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Tom Siebold

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Time Management

You will find that your success in school will depend in large part on how you manage your time.  Each hour must be recognized as valuable and used as an important building block in an educational program.  Classes, work, sleep, home duties, recreation, and, of course, study must all fit into a carefully constructed time management blueprint.

Most students find that it is extremely helpful to design a weekly time schedule.  On a piece of graph paper draw a grid with the hours against the days of the week.  Plug in the “givens”: classes, work hours, church appointment, etc. (See the sample “Weekly Schedule” at the end of this section.)  

Below are some general guidelines to help you use your time for maximum study effectiveness.  

1. Class Post-Mortem.  Whenever possible, schedule a short study time immediately after a class.  Here you can reorganize your notes, review class discussion, check out fuzzy words or concepts encountered during the class period, or begin to look over an assignment just given.  It is important to have some time to review a class while it is fresh, hot out of the instructor’s mouth. 

2. Study Spice.  Be certain to add variety to your schedule.  Make an effort to juxtapose work and recreation, reading and writing, and mental tasks and physical activities.  You will find that it much easier to stick to a schedule that has a carefully arranged assortment of activities.

3. Study Aerobics. Do not schedule marathon study periods.  Keep them manageable.  Moreover, within longer study blocks of time, do not place similar subjects back-to back.   Juggle your subjects so the shift reflects a break in thought pattern.

4. Bumper Time.  Don’t over schedule yourself.  Allow some “bumper time” to manage those unexpected and unforeseen obligations that have a way of filtering into your daily life.

5. Recuperation. Remember that when the body is tired, it must sleep.  Schedule a healthy block of time for sleep.

6. The Golden Mean.  Plan adequate time to take care of your physical needs.  Give yourself ample time to eat, groom, and exercise.  Keep your mind and body in balance.

7. Chores. Keep in mind that your college life is just the—life.  You must plan for home maintenance tasks, errands, friends, and family.

8. Freedom.  Schedule unstructured time.  You will need time to socialize, rest, and generally attend to your recreation needs.  If your school time is ordered and you feel in control of time, you will enjoy your uncommitted time without feeling guilty or anxious, making it even more enjoyable.

9. Interference.  Protect your study time by limiting the greatest consumers of time: telephone, television, videos, gaming, etc.  Make an agreement with your roommates or family that during your scheduled study blocks they try not to disturb you.  During your study sessions turn off your phone, turn off the television and radio, and restrict interruptions and conversation until you have completed your study time.  If you must watch television, limit the hours you watch each week.  Select your programs carefully and schedule them in but be stingy with TV and don’t view more than your allotted programs.  (You might even want to experiment with eliminating TV altogether.)

10. The Wind Down.  Plan for a wind down period at the end of the day.  Use this time to review the day, jot down items for the next, and generally relax before going to sleep.  If you must watch television, this is good time to do it.  Better yet, use this time for conversation with friends, a walk with the dog, or a review of a favorite magazine.

11. Schedule Assessment. Once you devise a time management plan, stick to it.  At the end of several weeks, you will need to assess your plan and subsequently revise it.  But live by it and make it habitual.

Sample Weekly Schedule

Time Mon. Tues. Weds. Thurs. Fri. Sat. Sun.
7:00 breakfast            
8:00 Eng.   Eng.   Eng.    






10:00 Biol. Lab Biol. Lab Biol. Study  
11:00 review   review   review    
12:00 Lunch            
1:00 Hist. Sem. Hist. Sem. Hist.    
2:00 Exercise review Exercise review Exercise   Exercise
3:00   Phy. Ed.   Phy.Ed.      
4:00 Study   Study   Study    
5:00 Dinner            
6:00 Study            
7:00 Study           Study
8:00 Study       social    
9:00 Study            
10:00 Free            


12. Daily Prioritized To-Do ListOne good way to get the most out of your time is to create a daily prioritized to-do list.  Here is how to do it:

  1. Each morning jot down all the things that you must do and all the things that you feel you want to accomplish.  

  2. Break down large tasks like “study for my physics test,” into smaller achievable parts. 

  3. Prioritize your list.  Rank each item based on its importance of completion for the day.

  4. For each item that you will tackle, estimate the amount of time it will take.

You might want to use a simple To-Do List Chart:



Estimated Time

















Your Smartphone as a Time Management Tool

Your smartphone can be a helpful scheduling tool.  Check out the apps listed below:

1. iStudiez Pro: Allows you to include your study sessions, course schedules, and assignment deadlines.

2. Trello: This app is great for planning your school projects.

3. Outliner: Create "to do" lists, organize your study, and share the information from any computer or Web-enabled device.