Time Management for University Students

Books and a clock

Time management for university students is critical for their academic success. When students make the transition from attending high school to college or university life, they often have difficulty managing their time.

Time Management Stress in College

One reason the difficulty usually occurs is that the students are not prepared for the major academic differences between high school and college life. Another reason is that many college students are living away from home for the first time. These students are not used to the freedom of managing their own time and often fall into routines that are unproductive. Many students waste their time without even realizing it. Before they know it, their assignments and projects are due and it is exam time. This often results in long stressful days and nights of working on papers and cramming for exams.

The following are several of the main differences between high school and university life:

  • In high school teachers remind students of assignments and upcoming exams. In college students are responsible for reading their texts, completing their assignments and preparing for exams on their own.
  • High school teachers generally go over reading assignments in the classroom while university professors generally expand on the assigned reading.
  • Teachers in high school cover all of the important material and summarize what the students need to learn. In college, students have the responsibility of learning the material on their own.
  • Students in high school must attend all class. In many cases, attendance in university classes in not mandatory.

Although there are many more differences between high school and college life, with just these few examples it is easy to understand why university students must have excellent time management skills.

Time Management for University Students

Learning to manage your time effectively is well worth the effort. Once you learn time management skills and utilize the time management tools that are best for you, you will feel less anxious and stressed. By learning how to become organized and use your time effectively you will feel more in control of your life, be more productive and actually have more time to relax and enjoy your free time.

Time Management Tools

Use time management tools that work for you, such as a:

  • Time management organizer or planner
  • Day planner
  • An activity log
  • Calendar
  • Electronic or online organizers

Time Management Techniques

Taking the time to learn and use the following time management techniques will help you to make the most of each day as you experience increased productivity by effectively managing your time.

  • Use an activity log to find out where your time is really going. Keeping an activity log helps to eliminate procrastination and wasted time.
  • Make a prioritized to-do list with the most important tasks at the top, going down to the least important. Many students find that having a daily and weekly to-do list is helpful. By prioritizing your tasks you know what is most important and needs to be done first.
  • Scheduling your time making sure to allow time for yourself. It helps you to be realistic about the schedule and how much you can do in a certain amount of time.
  • Set realistic goals for yourself. Setting goals helps motivation and successfully achieving your goals builds self confidence.

Time Management Tips for Students

  • Take the time to learn time management skills and put them into action.
  • Everyone has a time of the day, or biological prime time, when they do their best work. It could be early in the morning, during the afternoon or late at night. Determine your prime time, the time when you have the most energy and accomplish more tasks, and plan to use that time for your most important tasks.
  • Overcome procrastination. If you find yourself procrastinating, look at the task and break it down into smaller manageable tasks. This way you will not feel so overwhelmed.
  • Let go of being a perfectionist.
  • Learn to say no.
  • Keep a small notebook, or digital recorder, with you to jot down important things that come up.

Time Management Resources for Students


The effective use of time management for university students typically affects their grades and ultimately their professional life.

Time Management for University Students