Published: Jan. 20, 2024

studyingCollege can be busy. Balancing time with friends, a job, academic expectations and other responsibilities can quickly fill your schedule. By implementing time management strategies, you can stay on top of your academics while still leaving time for fun and other commitments. Here are tips to help you manage your time this semester. 

Get organized 

One of the most important things you can do to manage your time is to create and follow an organizational system. You can use a calendar, planner or app to track your schedule and responsibilities. Include exam dates, project or paper deadlines, work schedules, student organization meetings, study time and other events or commitments. Regularly look ahead at your next few weeks to see what is coming up and which things should take priority.  

Block out study times 

Schedule consistent blocks of time to study or review class material. You can establish a weekly routine for when and where you study. Creating a routine can help you balance school work with social time and keep you on track for midterms and finals. Consider what works best for you. Do you prefer to study alone or with friends? Try out different working environments to determine your preferences. Find a study spot on campus that matches your ideal study environment. 

Make a plan for your study sessions and group projects 

Take note of papers, projects or tests coming up and break them into smaller tasks. You can make progress on assignments to avoid being overwhelmed later in the semester. For group projects, discuss how to divide tasks and determine who will be responsible for each portion of the assignment. You can prevent procrastination and stay on top of your academics with a plan. 

Determine your priorities 

With the busyness of college, you can benefit by focusing on your priorities. For example, performing well academically matters for your long-term college success. Yet, even within your classes, you can decide where to focus your time. You may need to study more in your calculus class or put more time into a lab report than other assignments. Or you may need to focus on earning money for next semester at an on-campus job over socializing. Having priorities doesn’t mean you can’t make time for fun or other interests. Determining what’s most important can help you manage your time so that you can take care of the most important things first and then have flexibility in your schedule to do the other things that matter to you. 

Fight distraction 

It’s easy to get distracted while trying to study or complete tasks. Start by turning off your phone or leaving it out of reach while studying, working or trying to focus on a task. You can also try setting focused time free from distractions. Choose an amount of time, like 15 or 20 minutes. Then, set a timer and work for the entire time. When the time ends, take a five-minute break to move, look at your phone or have a snack. After five minutes, set the timer again and repeat the process. By staying focused and resisting distractions, you can accomplish responsibilities faster and move on to other things you enjoy. 

Ask for help 

If you feel stuck on a problem or a concept discussed in class, you don’t have to struggle alone. Text a classmate, visit your professor’s office hours or find a study group. You can also sign up for free tutoring through the Academic Success and Achievement Program (ASAP), which is available to all first-year students, new transfer students and students living on campus. The sooner you ask for help, the less likely you will fall behind.