• Do you find it hard to stick to a study schedule?
  • Are your waking hours so filled with family and work commitments that your schoolwork suffers?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed by all the demands on your time?
  • Do you sometimes feel you’ve wasted whatever free time you have?

If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, this site is for you. Time management is a powerful tool that reduces stress by returning control of your life to you and helping you make decisions about what’s important. By managing your time effectively, you will be more focused, have more energy, and be more confident about reaching your short term and long term educational goals.

The Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) has copies of the following forms, or you can print them directly from your computer.

Begin with Semester Deadlines. Print a copy and fill it in with the names of each of your courses and the dates of each week in the current semester. Using each course syllabus, fill in key due dates: quizzes, tests, papers, projects, presentations, etc. You’ll notice that some weeks look pretty light and some weeks, especially near mid-semester and final exams, look pretty busy. This overview will allow you to take advantage of light weeks by working ahead so that you are less likely to be caught by surprise and overwhelmed by busy weeks.

Next, print and fill in the Weekly Schedule with fixed time commitments such as work hours and class and lab times. Also schedule time for family, meals, exercise and other recreation, keeping in mind that you will need to reserve 1-2 hours of study time outside of class for every hour spent in class or lab.

  • Be realistic when planning your weekly schedule
  • Use time between classes to study
  • Review lecture notes as soon as possible after class to help remember and understand material
  • Study your least favorite subject first, when you are fresh and relaxed
  • Study difficult subjects when you are not tired and when there are fewest distractions
  • Learn to say “no” when others put demands on your time
  • Allow adequate time for sleep and relaxation

Finally, maintain a running Things to do Today list. Print several copies of this form. During the day, write down everything you would like to accomplish over the next two days: personal commitments, such as a dental appointment; family obligations, such as volunteering in your child’s classroom for an hour; and of course, academic assignments. Be specific about which academic tasks you intend to complete. Break large tasks down into small jobs of about 45 minutes each; as you complete each job, cross it off. Writing something down makes it a real commitment; you’ll find you feel a great sense of satisfaction as you fulfill your commitments, one at a time.

For assistance with time management, make an appointment with any of the faculty in the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE). Remember, managing your time is a habit, and like all habits, it takes time to practice and refine. If your first attempts are unsuccessful, let them go and try again. You can take back your life!