Academic Support Programs

College is busy! Time management is one of the most important skills you can master to succeed academically. Allocating your time and energy will help you feel more present and will hopefully give you some breathing room. Once you start to develop the habit of actively managing your time, you can be more open to participating in other campus activities because you are able to balance the demands of your course load, research, employment, and commitments to your friends and to yourself.

Create a schedule

In college, your professors expect you to spend two hours studying outside of class for every hour in class. In other words, if you have a course load of 15 credits, you will want to devote about 30 hours a week to studying. Use this worksheet to help you decide how much time to dedicate to each class. The best way to fit your studying in addition to your other responsibilities is to make a time-blocked schedule.

  1. Start by listing your daily responsibilities. This includes time to sleep, get ready in the morning and to eat, class time, work hours, and any other commitments. Try to be realistic - include how much time you actually spend on each activity, not how much time you'd like to spend.

  2. Add in the study time you need each day.

  3. Schedule in weekly tasks such as laundry, shopping, and cleaning.

  4. Include something fun each day—working out, riding your bike, reading for fun, or visiting friends— whatever you enjoy!

  5. Fill in extracurricular activities like RSO events, meetings, or time with friends.

  6. In the evening, write down all the things you hope to accomplish the next day, then write a star by top priority items that you need to complete first. 

See an example of time blocking and download your own 7-day schedule sheet here.

Don't like using paper? Use an online scheduler like Google Calendar or a calendar app in your phone. Often times, these apps can send you reminders, allow you to color code, and share events.

Estimate your weekly study hours

Download this worksheet or use the form below to calculate how much time is optimal each week for studying. Course difficulty is influenced by your background in the subject as well as personal skills and strengths.

Tackle procrastination

Procrastination comes down to your decisions and recognizing when you might not be doing your work because you are getting distracted by things like social media or video games.

Recognizing these moments is the first step of taking charge of your time management. By identifying some specific strategies to curb procrastination, you can start to feel more in control of your academic and personal responsibilities.

Here are some things you can try (and check out Oregon State University's page on time management for even more tips):

Tip: Still can't stop procrastinating?  Find a study buddy and make a pact that you will study quietly with one another for a certain amount of time. Every hour or so, take a break to talk, check your phone or get some fresh air. Holding each other accountable will make it easier for you to get work done.

Get the most from your time

Making a schedule is a great first step, but you want to make sure that you use your time effectively! Here are some tips to keep in mind as you continue to refine your time management schedule.

Despite your best effort to manage your time, you might not always meet your time management goals. If this happens, Don't be afraid to ask yourself, "what matters most right now? Am I making time for these things each week?" These questions can be a helpful place to start as you're defining your priorities.

Try this: Build in rewards into your schedule to break up long study sessions with a phone call, coffee break, or chitchat with a friend.