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Time Management Activities for College Students

We'll go over the most effective time management activities for college students for boosting your productivity.

Jan 19, 2024
  • Student Tips
College student in a coffee shop taking notes

Nearly all of us have procrastinated on completing an assignment before. Depending on which source you consult, different numbers will pop up - for example, the American Psychological Association estimates that 85-90% of Bachelor's students procrastinate with their coursework.

Similarly, more and more managers have noted the new generations' lack of time management skills. College is a great opportunity to polish these up in order to increase your chances at performing well in university, as well as your future jobs.

Falling behind in college?

Check out our guide on how to catch up without burning yourself out!

Time management activities for college students

Here are realistic, no-nonsense time management activities for college students:

Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix is a powerful tool for managing tasks efficiently. It involves categorizing tasks into four quadrants based on their urgency and importance.

Eisenhower Matrix

This method helps you focus on what truly matters, ensuring that critical tasks are attended to promptly while lesser important tasks are scheduled or delegated.

You can create an Eisenhower Matrix by hand (on a piece of paper) or digitally using Microsoft Excel/Google Sheets or an app like TickTick.

Note: While you can absolutely plot the matrix whenever you're planning for projects, you should get into the habit of thinking about your tasks in the urgent - important scale.

Time blocking

Time blocking involves dedicating specific blocks of time to certain activities or tasks, and then actually adding those tasks to your calendar/planner.

The main benefit is that you're eliminating extra effort and mental burden of having to choose what to do minute-by-minute, which usually leads to not doing much.

Time blocking for students - infographic example

There are a few variations of time blocking:

  • Time blocking: "I will study every day from 7pm to 10pm."
  • Task batching: "I will dedicate the last hour of my workday to administrative tasks like writing to-dos and answering emails."
  • Day theming: "Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays are my study days, Tuesdays and Thursdays are for classes, Fridays are for friends, Sundays are for self-care."
  • Time boxing: "I will finish my homework assignment on Friday between 10am and 2pm."

Note: Time blocking and time boxing are similar, but not exactly the same. Time blocking means dedicating a specific chunk of time to an activity, while time boxing limits the time you spend on a task.

A common mistake with students who first try out time blocking is that they're too rigid with their plans. Time blocking is a planning method, but things often go sideways. It's okay to move things around - but the point of this time management activity is to have structure and overview of the larger goals at play.

Distraction management

Social media and even emails can be a significant distraction if not managed properly. There are several things you can do to manage your distractions:

  • Set specific times to check your messages
  • Use app blockers to stop you from accessing certain apps/sites
  • Turn off notifications on non-critical apps
  • Use the Do Not Disturb mode as the default mode on your phone
  • Understand what triggers you to pick up your device and eliminate (or manage) the cause

These approaches ensure that your messages and emails are attended to without letting them dominate your day.

Good sleep habits

Good sleep is fundamental to maintaining focus and productivity. It helps you learn more and problem-solve more efficiently. Research has shown that it's also great for learning a new language.

How much sleep do you need?

The U.S. National Sleep Foundation estimates that 18-25 year olds should get around 7 to 9 hours of sleep every day. But how much time do you need?

Dr. Edward Pace-Schott, a sleep expert from Harvard, suggests the following:

When you’ve been on vacation for two weeks, how are you sleeping during that second week? How long are you sleeping? If you’re sleeping eight or nine hours when you don’t have any reason to get up, then chances are you need that amount or close to that amount of sleep.

Lack of sleep can lead to decreased concentration, impaired memory, and reduced ability to learn. You should prioritize getting enough rest to ensure they are alert and focused during their academic activities.

Why is time management important in college?

Time management is important in college for several reasons:

  1. Balancing diverse responsibilities: College life is not just about academics. Students often juggle classes, assignments, part-time jobs, internships, extracurricular activities, and social commitments.
  2. Improving your academic performance: By allocating appropriate time for study and revision, you can improve their understanding and retention of subjects, leading to better academic performance.
  3. Reducing stress and anxiety: Poor time management can lead to last-minute cramming sessions and rushed assignments, which heighten stress and anxiety. With Gen Z being the most stressed generation yet, good time management offers great benefits to your mental health.
  4. Preparing for future careers: Good time management skills are expected in professional settings.
Sara Evans

Author

Sara is the Content Designer at Keystone Academic Solutions, in charge of creating and curating content for students across the globe. Due to her background in UX and teaching, she's always in pursuit of new ways of presenting information more clearly.

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