Time management tips and tricks for college students

By Evan Lynn
February 18, 2020

The books and notebooks I currently have in my school bag. Photo by Evan Lynn
The books and notebooks I currently have in my school bag. Photo by Evan Lynn
Evan Lynn studying for Dr. Cordes’s test. Photo by Bridget Lynn

Poor time management skills is an issue many college students face on a regular basis. It’s hard to juggle working part-time, going to classes and getting homework done. Somedays it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything needed to be successful the following day.

In 2015, a small study conducted by Student Engagement Insight polled 3,000 students about time management and found 78 percent of students sometimes have issues managing their time, 9 percent of students always have a problem managing their time and 17 percent of students never have an issue managing their time.

The researchers who performed the study then asked students what they believe to be their biggest issue with time management and 59 percent said procrastination. The rest of those polled admitted to being distracted by someone, usually friends or family, or poor planning on their part.

“Time management is really all about managing yourself. You can’t really “manage” time because there are 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour, 60 seconds in a minute—and that never changes,” Dan McCarthy, writer for The Balanced Career, wrote. “However, you can control where and how you spend your time and take actions to reduce or eliminate time wasters.”


Five helpful tips for effective time management:

  1. Prioritize your goals: Not everything has the same importance level and it’s important to look at your daily tasks and syllabuses to establish the proper priority because without that we can get lost in mundane tasks. Example: Walking your dog is not as important as finishing your timed online test.
  2. Don’t always say yes: If something will interfere with your goal, just say no. Example: Your friend asks for help interviewing someone for their article, but you have a big test tomorrow. Say no and focus on getting an A.
  3. Put your electronic devices away: This one is huge. In our culture, so much time is wasted mindlessly scrolling social media, googling things that don’t matter or texting friends. McCarthy recommends getting a set amount of work done then giving yourself a 30-minute electronic break as a reward.
  4. Be organized: Make sure your workspace is clean and organized because this small step can produce huge results. The environment is everything.
  5. Take care of your health: McCarthy recommends healthy eating, getting enough sleep and exercising because this can help keep you focused with enough energy to perform the task at hand.

Since we live in a digital society, there are a ton of apps that can help figure out effective time management skills.

“Thanks to the constant barrage of meetings, emails, and instant messages we receive, free time is a scarce commodity,” Brianna Hansen, writer for Wrike, wrote. “Time management has grown into an empire of applications, software, and hardware all with

Screenshot of my Focus.me. Photo by Evan Lynn

the sole purpose of making sure every minute you spend is productive.”

Five effective apps to use:

  1. Evernote: This app stores both online and handwritten notes. It also makes it super easy to search for them when need be and everything is in one location on your phone. This app is free.
  2. Pocket: This app stops people from getting distracted. It “pockets” content like articles or videos for a later date. This app is free.
  3. Focus.me: This app provides users with the amount of time they spend distracted by irrelevant content. The user can also block websites to use their time more effectively. This app is free.
  4. TickTick: This app helps users stay organized and has everything from a calendar to an appointment reminder all in one easy spot. This app ranges from free to $27.99 a year.
  5. Tomato Timer: This helps with reducing break time by setting a timer as a reminder to get back on task. This app costs $2.50.

I’m guilty of not managing my time as well as I could, but I think with these helpful tips and apps it can be a little easier to stay on task and complete everything I set out to do.

Evan Lynn

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