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In the fast-paced, digitally-driven world of academia, effective time management isn’t just an advantageous skill—it’s a necessity. Balancing study time with other commitments, fighting off the lure of procrastination, and keeping your cool amid looming deadlines can make navigating university life feel like walking a tightrope. But with the right strategies, you can master the art of time management, transforming that tightrope into a broad, secure bridge to success.

In this article, we’ll delve into the top 10 tips for time management, offering students a practical guide for maximizing productivity while maintaining a balanced lifestyle. From understanding the ‘4 Ps’ of time management to exploring the root causes of procrastination, we’ll equip you with the tools to handle your academic load with grace and efficiency. Whether you’re a freshman taking your first steps into college life or a senior preparing for the final stretch, this comprehensive guide is your ticket to a more organized, stress-free, and fulfilling academic journey. So, are you ready to take the reins on your time and make every second count? Let’s get started.

List ALL Your Tasks! (And Don’t Forget About the List)

Example of a To-Do List for a Student
Example of a To-Do List for a Student

When it comes to effective time management, understanding your workload is the crucial first step—and that starts with listing your tasks. A list is more than a mere collection of to-dos; it’s a tangible roadmap that lays out your academic journey, making the path ahead clear and navigable.

The importance of listing tasks lies in its simplicity and visibility. As students, our minds are often bustling with different assignments, due dates, and commitments. Without a structured system to keep track of everything, it’s easy for important tasks to slip through the cracks or for last-minute panic to set in as deadlines approach.

When you list your tasks, you not only make the invisible visible but also bring a sense of order to what can often seem like chaos. Each item on your list represents a step towards your goal, whether it’s acing that upcoming exam, finishing a term paper, or preparing for a presentation. By writing these down, you have a clear, at-a-glance overview of what needs to be done, and you can prioritise effectively based on deadlines, task importance, and the estimated time needed to complete each task.

Furthermore, a task list can serve as a powerful motivational tool. Each task you check off gives you a sense of progress and achievement, encouraging you to keep going. It gives you a realistic sense of your productivity and helps you stay accountable to yourself.

In essence, listing your tasks is like laying the foundation for a house. It sets the stage for all your other time management efforts, providing the structure and organisation you need to effectively manage your time and boost your academic performance. So, don’t underestimate the power of a well-crafted to-do list. It could be the key to transforming your time management skills and unlocking your full academic potential.

Creating a Life Schedule

Creating a life schedule is an actionable, realistic, and empowering step in managing your time effectively as a student. This is not just about plotting your academic tasks on a calendar; it’s about designing a balanced lifestyle that accommodates your studies, work, social activities, and personal time.

A life schedule goes beyond your academic to-do list. It’s a holistic overview of your life that helps you see how different parts of your day interconnect. It’s not just about what you need to study for tomorrow’s test; it’s also about making time for a part-time job, exercise, socialising with friends, and ensuring you get enough sleep each night.

Choose a format

Whether you prefer a physical planner, an app on your phone, or a digital calendar, choose a tool that you find easy and enjoyable to use. This could be as simple as a notebook or as complex as a time-management app that syncs with all your devices.

Note your fixed commitments

Start by adding the non-negotiable parts of your week to the schedule. These are things like classes, seminars, work shifts, or regular club meetings.

Schedule study time

Block out dedicated time each day for studying. Remember to consider your most productive times of the day.

Plan time for self-care and leisure

Don’t forget to schedule time for activities that help you relax and recharge. This includes sleep, meals, exercise, social activities, hobbies, and just plain downtime.

Be realistic and flexible

Life happens, and things don’t always go as planned. Leave some ‘buffer zones’ in your schedule for unexpected tasks or delays.

Review and adjust

Your life schedule should not be set in stone. Regularly review your schedule to see if it’s working and adjust as needed.

Remember, the objective of a life schedule isn’t to regiment your life, but to create a harmonious balance between work and play, ultimately leading to a more productive and enjoyable student life. It’s about working smarter, not harder, so you can excel academically while also living a full and balanced life.

Be Flexible But Realistic

One of the major roadblocks many students face when trying to manage their time is setting unrealistic expectations for themselves. While it’s important to stay motivated and ambitious, it’s equally essential to be honest with yourself about what you can realistically achieve in a given timeframe. On the other hand, life as a student can be unpredictable, and it’s crucial to maintain some degree of flexibility to accommodate unexpected changes.

Understand Your Limits

The first step to being realistic with your time management is understanding your own limits. A common mistake is to plan too many activities in a day, leaving no time for breaks, meals, relaxation, or unexpected tasks. As a guideline, consider allowing around 8-10 hours a day for work, study, socialising, and practical needs.

Allocate Time Effectively

As a full-time student, you are expected to dedicate 35 hours a week to university studies, including time spent in seminars and lectures. Make sure to account for the remaining time for independent study. Being realistic also means acknowledging that tasks often take longer than expected, so always allow a buffer time when scheduling.

Maintain Flexibility

While a well-structured schedule is important, rigidity can hinder your ability to adapt to unexpected circumstances. Whether it’s an unplanned group study session or an unforeseen assignment, life throws curveballs that require you to adjust your plans. Hence, a degree of flexibility should be built into your schedule.

Regularly Reassess and Adjust

It’s okay if your initial plan doesn’t work perfectly. Regularly reassessing your schedule and making necessary adjustments is an integral part of time management. This not only helps you improve your planning skills over time but also keeps you prepared to adapt to changes in your academic or personal life.

By being both flexible and realistic, you can create a time management strategy that accommodates the unpredictable nature of student life while also setting achievable goals. This balance will ultimately lead to less stress, better academic performance, and a more enjoyable university experience.

Avoiding Procrastination and Distraction

Procrastination and distraction are two of the biggest enemies of effective time management. They can easily derail your study plan, reduce the quality of your work, and cause unnecessary stress. Here are actionable strategies to keep these common challenges at bay and stay focused on your academic goals.

Identify Your Distraction Triggers

Before you can combat distractions, you need to understand what they are. Spend some time reflecting on your previous study sessions. Where were you the most focused? Where were you most distracted? The answers to these questions can help you create an optimal study environment that keeps distractions to a minimum.

Find Your Ideal Study Method

Different study methods work for different people. Some students find studying with friends to be a motivator, while others work best alone. The key is to figure out what works best for you. If you discover that group study sessions lead to chatter and distraction, it might be best to switch to solo study or find a more focused group.

Take Active Steps Against Procrastination

Procrastination can be a significant roadblock in your path to effective time management. Try to make your study sessions more engaging and enjoyable to counteract this. This could involve gamifying your study, incorporating elements of your interests into the study material, or rewarding yourself after a productive study session.

Use Technology Wisely

Teenager Using Apps for Productivity
Teenager Using Apps for Productivity

While technology can be a significant source of distraction, if used wisely, it can also be a powerful tool to combat procrastination. There are numerous apps designed to help with focus and productivity, ranging from task managers, timers following the Pomodoro Technique, to apps that limit your access to distracting websites or apps.

Exercise Regularly

Physical activity can also be an excellent way to clear your mind and reduce the urge to procrastinate. Even a quick 10-minute run can help refocus your mind and refresh your mental state.

By actively seeking to understand your distraction triggers, finding what study methods work best for you, and taking active steps against procrastination, you can significantly improve your focus and productivity. Remember, overcoming procrastination and distraction is a journey, not a one-time effort. But the payoff in terms of improved grades and reduced stress is well worth it.

Including Exercise in Your Schedule

When you’re juggling a multitude of tasks, squeezing in a workout might feel like an impossible feat. However, incorporating regular exercise into your schedule is not only beneficial for your physical health but also for your mental wellbeing and academic performance. Let’s explore how to realistically include exercise into your student life and why it’s crucial for effective time management.

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Why Exercise is Important for Students

Regular physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that can leave you feeling happier, more relaxed, and less anxious. It increases your heart rate, which pumps more oxygen to your brain, aiding in memory retention and cognitive functions – critical aspects when you’re studying and learning new things.

Moreover, exercise is a fantastic way to break up your study sessions. It provides an effective transition between different tasks or subjects, helps clear your mind, and can even enhance your creativity.

How to Incorporate Exercise into Your Schedule

Making time for exercise can feel daunting, especially when you’re balancing academics, part-time work, and social life. Here are some actionable tips to help:

Start Small

If you’re new to exercising, start small. Aim for short, manageable workouts like a 10-minute walk, a quick yoga session, or simple stretching exercises. Gradually increase the length and intensity as you become more comfortable.

Make It a Part of Your Routine

Schedule your workouts just as you would a class or study session. This commitment can help ensure you don’t skip it. Whether it’s a morning jog to start your day or an evening workout to wind down, find what works best for you.

Combine Socialising and Exercise

Turn exercise into a social event. Join a sports team, take a dance class with friends, or start a workout challenge. This not only makes exercise more enjoyable but also provides a motivational boost.

Use Breaks Wisely

Use your study breaks for brief physical activities. Do some jumping jacks, push-ups, or take a quick walk around the block. These short bursts of activity can significantly add up by the end of the day.

Opt for Active Transportation

Whenever possible, choose active means of transportation. Walk or bike to your university or part-time job. It’s a simple way to incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine.

Exercise should not be viewed as a luxury but as an integral part of your student life. With careful planning and commitment, you can successfully include it in your schedule and reap the rewards of enhanced focus, stress relief, and improved academic performance.

Constantly Reviewing Your Schedule

While creating a schedule is a crucial step towards effective time management, it doesn’t end there. The final piece of the puzzle is constantly reviewing and adjusting your plan. Remember, a schedule is not a rigid framework but a flexible guide that must adapt to your changing needs and circumstances. Let’s delve into the importance of reassessing your schedule and how to go about it effectively.

Why You Should Constantly Review Your Schedule

Time is dynamic, and so are the demands of your life as a student. Assignments pop up unexpectedly, some tasks might take longer than anticipated, and personal life can sometimes throw a wrench in your best-laid plans. Regularly reviewing your schedule allows you to stay on top of these changes and ensures that your plan remains effective and relevant.

Moreover, reassessing your schedule helps you recognise what’s working and what’s not. You can identify any time drains, ineffective study habits, or perhaps even discover newfound pockets of productivity.

How to Review and Adjust Your Schedule

Now that we understand the ‘why,’ let’s delve into the ‘how’ of constantly reviewing your schedule:

Set Regular Check-Ins

Schedule weekly or bi-weekly check-ins with yourself. Use this time to reflect on your schedule – did you manage to stick to it? Were there tasks that took longer than expected? What can be improved?

Consider Performance and Energy Levels

Keep track of your energy levels. When are you most productive? When do you feel sluggish? Use these insights to align your toughest tasks with your peak productivity periods and less demanding ones when you’re usually low on energy.

Assess Task Completion

If certain tasks consistently remain incomplete or are always pushed back, it might indicate over-scheduling or procrastination issues. In such cases, consider breaking down the task into smaller, more manageable chunks or using techniques like the Pomodoro Technique to boost productivity.

Prioritise and Adapt

When faced with unexpected tasks or emergencies, be ready to adapt. Prioritise based on urgency and importance, and re-adjust your schedule accordingly.

Take into Account Your Wellbeing

Don’t forget to review your self-care time. Are you getting enough sleep, exercise, and downtime? An effective schedule should encompass not just academic and work commitments, but also time for rest and recreation.

Remember, a schedule should serve you, not vice versa. Constantly reviewing and adjusting your schedule can seem like extra work, but it’s an investment that can greatly enhance your productivity, reduce stress, and ultimately contribute to your academic and personal success. Keep in mind that time management is not about packing your day with tasks but about making the most of your time to lead a balanced and fulfilling life as a student.

Understanding the 4 P’s of Time Management

Time management is a skill that not only helps us to be more productive but also to lead a more balanced life. One of the popular approaches to time management is the 4 P’s model, which stands for Prioritise, Plan, Perform, and Post-Evaluate. Let’s delve into the 4 P’s and understand how they can help in effective time management for students.


The first P stands for Prioritise. This is the process of determining what tasks are most important to you. Consider the urgency and significance of your tasks and rank them accordingly. Urgent tasks need to be done immediately, important tasks contribute to your long-term goals, while some tasks can be urgent but not important, and others neither. Remember, not everything can be a top priority, so be realistic about what you can accomplish and focus on what matters most.


The second P is for Plan. Once you’ve identified your priorities, the next step is to create a strategy for accomplishing them. This might involve creating a to-do list, a weekly schedule, or even a longer-term plan for your semester. Make sure to allocate enough time for each task, taking into account potential delays and breaks. Tools such as calendars, organisers, or digital planning apps can be incredibly useful in this stage.


The third P is Perform. This is where the action happens. Follow your plan and start working on your tasks, beginning with your top priorities. Stay focused and avoid multitasking as it can often lead to mistakes and decreased productivity. Remember, plans are there to guide you, but they should be flexible enough to adapt when unforeseen circumstances occur.


The final P stands for Post-Evaluate. This involves reviewing and reflecting on your performance once tasks are completed. Did you meet your deadlines? Were you able to stick to your plan? What obstacles did you face? Evaluating your performance helps you to identify any issues or inefficiencies, learn from them, and improve your planning and execution in the future.

Understanding and implementing the 4 P’s of time management can lead to more productive and less stressful days. It’s not just about getting more done in less time, but more about getting the right things done at the right time, thereby creating a harmonious balance between your academic, work, and personal life. Remember, effective time management is a journey, not a destination, so continuous learning and adaptation should be part of your strategy.

How to Handle Procrastination

Secrets About Time-Management - Infographic
Secrets About Time-Management – Infographic

Procrastination is often a significant roadblock in effective time management. It’s that sneaky habit of saying, “I’ll do it later,” only to find that “later” turns into hours, days, or even weeks of unproductive delay. Here’s how to tackle procrastination and keep your productivity on track.

Understand the root cause

First, it’s essential to understand what’s causing you to procrastinate. Is it because the task is too difficult or uninteresting? Are you feeling overwhelmed? Or, perhaps, you are unsure about how to proceed? Identifying the root cause can help you develop strategies to overcome it.

Break tasks into manageable parts

Large tasks can seem daunting, making it easier to put them off. To combat this, break your tasks into smaller, manageable parts. By doing this, you can focus on one piece at a time, making the overall task seem less overwhelming.

Use the “2-minute rule”

If a task takes two minutes or less to complete, do it right away instead of putting it off. This simple strategy can help you tackle small tasks quickly and reduce the overall amount of work you have to do later.

Create a conducive environment

Your environment plays a significant role in your productivity. Find a quiet, distraction-free space for studying. Make it as comfortable as possible to help you stay focused and less likely to procrastinate.

Implement the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique involves working for a set amount of time, typically 25 minutes, then taking a short break of around 5 minutes. After completing four “Pomodoros,” you take a longer break. This method helps maintain your concentration and reduces the urge to procrastinate.

Use positive reinforcement

Reward yourself after accomplishing tasks. This could be a short break, a treat, or anything else that serves as an incentive to get tasks done. Positive reinforcement can make work more enjoyable and reduce the tendency to procrastinate.

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. It helps you recognise and accept your feelings of procrastination without acting on them, enabling you to shift your focus back to your tasks.

Remember, it’s completely normal to procrastinate sometimes, but don’t let it become a habit. Use these strategies to manage and overcome procrastination, keeping your academic journey on a smooth and productive path.


As we’ve explored, mastering the art of time management is not merely about improving productivity; it’s about crafting a balanced, fulfilling, and successful academic journey. Each tip we’ve discussed provides a stepping stone to developing an actionable, effective time management routine that suits your unique circumstances and needs. But remember, even with the most careful planning, there will be days when things don’t go as planned. Don’t be too hard on yourself—adaptability, resilience, and a willingness to learn are equally important.

In the grand scheme of your academic journey, time management is one cog in a much larger machine. It’s a crucial part of studying smarter, not harder, and achieving your full potential. However, it’s also essential to remember that you’re not alone in this journey. There are numerous resources available to help you rise to the challenges of student life and thrive, no matter what your educational path looks like.

One such resource is Edumentors. More than just an online tutoring platform, Edumentors connects you with students from top UK universities who have navigated similar academic terrain. These tutors offer more than subject matter expertise—they provide practical, hands-on insights into the rigours of university life and strategies to balance the multitude of responsibilities that come with it.

These mentors are always ready to help you manage your time better, grasp complex concepts, bolster your confidence, and tackle any academic challenge that stands in your way. Their invaluable first-hand experiences can give you a new perspective and additional tools to manage your time and academic responsibilities effectively.

In closing, remember that time management is a journey, not a destination. As with any skill, it improves with practice and patience. Keep striving, keep adjusting, and remember—the time you have as a student is a gift. Embrace it, enjoy it, and learn from it. Your future self will thank you.

Why is time management important as a student?

Time management is crucial for students as it helps them structure their day efficiently, prioritising their tasks, studies, and activities. By managing time effectively, students can maintain a healthy balance between academic obligations, personal life, and recreational activities. It also helps in reducing stress, improving focus, and ultimately enhancing overall academic performance.

Why do students struggle with time management?

Students often struggle with time management due to several factors. These include a lack of planning and organisation, poor prioritisation of tasks, difficulty in estimating the time needed for tasks, and easily falling into the trap of procrastination. Some students might also struggle with balancing their academic responsibilities with work, personal life, and extracurricular activities.

What are the 7 steps of time management?

The seven steps of time management usually include:

  1. Listing tasks
  2. Creating a life schedule
  3. Being flexible but realistic
  4. Avoiding procrastination and distractions
  5. Including exercise in your schedule
  6. Constantly reviewing your schedule
  7. Understanding the principles of time management, such as the 4 P’s: Prioritisation, Planning, Performance, and Procrastination.

What are the top 3 techniques to manage time?

The top three techniques to manage time effectively are often considered to be:

  1. Prioritisation: Identify what tasks are most important and tackle them first.
  2. Planning: Create a detailed schedule outlining when and how tasks will be completed.
  3. Avoiding Procrastination: Develop strategies to stay focused and prevent delay in completing tasks.

What are 11 tips on managing time wisely?

In addition to the seven tips mentioned in this article, here are four more tips to manage time wisely:

  1. Set clear and realistic goals.
  2. Learn to say no when necessary.
  3. Delegate tasks when possible.
  4. Use tools and technology to help manage time, such as digital calendars or productivity apps.

Is procrastination a form of ADHD?

While procrastination is not a form of ADHD, it is a common symptom among individuals with ADHD. However, anyone can struggle with procrastination, not just those with ADHD. It’s essential to develop strategies to overcome procrastination, such as breaking tasks into smaller parts, using rewards, and setting specific deadlines.

Does procrastination mean lazy?

Not necessarily. Procrastination doesn’t mean a person is lazy. It often results from a struggle with managing time, feelings of overwhelm, fear of failure, or a lack of motivation. Understanding the root cause of procrastination is crucial to addressing it effectively.


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