Learning skills: Time management

Presents information and URLs on learning skills

Time management

Time management is a key skill necessary to achieving your goals; if you don't have sufficient time to complete assignments, you're not going to do well. In addition to using your course outline to stay on track, here are some other suggestions:

  • Start to manage your time at the beginning of a course. Get or make a four month at-a-glance calendar so that you can see the big picture and post it in a prominent place.
    • List all study-related tasks that need to be done.
    • Think ahead. Starting early will allow you to get extra help if needed, and instructors are more likely to be willing to help if you haven’t left asking to the last minute. 
  • Break tasks into smaller, more manageable jobs. Smaller tasks are easier to tackle and give you a sense of accomplishment.
    • Estimate the amount of time each task will take. With practice you’ll get good at this, and it’s a very useful skill!
  • Make a weekly schedule that indicates key tasks/dates for the coming week, such as the dates readings must be done by, when assignments are due, and when you must participate in an online discussion or class.
  • Use “to do” lists when you have a lot to do in a day and use the list to set priorities.
  • Use the best times for the most important/difficult/boring tasks e.g., if you're most awake and alert in the morning, do the most challenging task in the morning.
    • If you tend to procrastinate, do the most important task in the first available “good” time slot.
  • Take at least one 10 minute break for every 50 minutes of study.
  • Set beginning and end goals for each block of time, such as reading a chapter section or writing an outline. Having a specific objective to work towards can be motivating and you'll enjoy a sense of accomplishment when you reach the goal. 
  • Make the most of waiting time. If you're standing in line, riding a bus, or otherwise not doing anything but waiting, take advantage of that time to read or review materials.
    (Source: Roberta Mason, RRU)

For more great time management suggestions, please see the University of British Columbia's student toolkit on time management. If you tend to procrastinate, please see "Procrastination" for tips on how to get tasks done on time and without rushing.

More information

Creative Commons

Information within this guide was adapted from the University of Guelph's "A Guide to University Learning" and from information provided by Roberta Mason, Associate Vice-President, Student and Academic Services, Royal Roads University. These materials are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 United States License.