Counselor talking to a student

Time Management

Counseling Center

Yes, there are only 24 hours in one day. Do you feel overwhelmed with things to do? Do you have problems getting everything done? Do you feel there just is not enough time in the day? If so, good time management skills can help you.


Answer the following statements with “Yes” or “No:”

  1. I think daily planning guides are a waste of time _____

  2. My academic goals are pretty clear to me _____

  3. Leaving assignments until the last minute is a big problem for me ____

  4. I organize my time very well _____

  5. I wish I were more motivated _____

  6. It’s easy for me to cut visits short with people who drop by when I’m studying _____

  7. Visitors should feel free to see me whenever they want ____

  8. I know which activities in my life are important to focus on and which ones aren’t ____

  9. I’m a perfectionist in everything I do _____

  10. I have enough time to pursue some leisure activities _____

SCORING: Give 1 point for each “Yes” on odd numbered statements and 1 point for each “No” on even numbered statements.

1-2:  You are doing pretty well managing your time

3-4:  You are doing okay, but could make some changes in managing your time

5-7:  Managing your time well is a problem

8-10: You should apply some time management skills.


  • Time management is the process of setting and following a schedule in order to organize and prioritize aspects of your life such as school, work, family, friends, etc.
  • Time management is a tool that can provide structure in your life.
  • Time management is actually quick and easy to use.
  • Time management requires some self- discipline initially but will become easier as it becomes a habit.


  • Assists you in planning activities so that you are able to complete them efficiently
  • Gives you an idea when you will be busy so that you can make plans to get things done ahead of time
  • Helps you to be punctual
  • Aids you in remembering obligations such as meetings, appointments, special events, and achieving more in your academic performance
  • Assists in monitoring project progress
  • Allocates time which is appropriate to a task’s importance
  • Ensures that long term projects are not neglected
  • Makes each day and week more productive


  • determine which things you do are important, and which can be dropped
  • use your time in the most effective way
  •  increase the time you have to do your work
  • control distractions that waste your time and break your flow
  • increase your effectiveness
  • reduce stress


  • Allows you control over what you do instead of your activity schedule controlling you;
  • Increases your productivity; and
  • Gives you more quality time to relax and enjoy life outside school or work.


Make a “to do” list or check list - Using a ‘to do’ list can help you organize and prioritize your activities.

Plan each day according to the priorities you have set - Plan on doing the most urgent items first.

Do one thing at a time - Keep your efforts focused on one activity at a time. Your day will gain momentum with each project you complete.

Review your plan - Reviewing your plan regularly will cue you to adjust your schedule and accommodate new items on your list.

Be flexible - Make changes as you see the need in your review process.

Set deadlines - Setting deadlines helps you to prioritize your work so that you can get it done on time.

Set goals - Set realistic goals for the day, week, month, semester, or even the year in the following areas:

  •   Intellectual development – Set goals for your course work, i.e. plan time to study for tests, set timelines for projects, etc.
  •   Social development – Plan how much time you want to spend with friends, in extracurricular activities, or in other social   events.
  •   Personal development – Ask yourself: How much sleep will you get? How often will you exercise? How healthfully do you  want to eat?

Use your own organizational style, such as calendars and planners - If you do not like to use calendars, you will need to find another method of tracking your time that suits you.

Avoid procrastination- Waiting until the last minute will only contribute to stress.

Avoid perfectionism - Strive for excellence instead of perfection.

Divide large tasks into smaller ones - This will make projects more manageable so that you do not feel so overwhelmed. For example, instead of “I have to clean the entire apartment,” focus on one room at a time.

Don’t exhaust your attention span - Take regular breaks to avoid tiredness and loss of concentration.

Use your body’s prime time - Our bodies work better at certain times of the day. Work during your body’s prime time to get more done. For example, if you are a “morning person,” get up earlier to study for a test instead of staying up late the night before.

Be aware of environment - Study and work in an area where you can concentrate and get work done. Studying in bed is not usually recommended, since our bodies tend to associate our bed with sleeping.

Avoid interruptions - Interruptions can be very distracting and will interfere with work. Study with the television off, for example. Let others know when you want time to yourself or find a place where interruptions will be very minimal.

Say “NO” - Do not hesitate to say “no” to things that you do not have time for. Commit yourself only to extracurricular activities that interest you and ones that you can manage in the time you have available.

Plan your next day - Plan each day in advance so you are not surprised with what you have to get done. Prepare items the night before that you will need the next morning to avoid a last-minute rush.

Reward yourself - Reward yourself when you meet your goals. It will help to keep you motivated. One example is to give yourself some leisure time when you have reached your goal.