Time Management for Students: Activities, Examples, Methods, Skills, Techniques, Tips & Tools

Time Management for Students: Activities, Examples, Skills, Techniques, Tips & Tools

Time Management

Time is an important natural endowment that every human being has in the same measure. The difference between success and failure in life in every human endeavour lies principally in Time Management. The post, Time Management for Students: Activities, Examples, Methods, Skills, Techniques, Tips & Tools, is an insightful discussion on Time Management for Students and those who wish to get a handle on their time.

Our time is our life and it becomes imperative to manage it well through useful goal setting strategies. Any student who wishes to be successful in their academic endeavours needs to read this post on Time Management. Let us attempt a description of time…


  • Time is a limited, investable, non-renewable resource.

  • Time cannot be saved for future use.

  • Each activity requires a minimum quantum of time.

  • Time has a value like currency.

Time Management for Students: Activities, Examples, Methods, Skills, Techniques, Tips & Tools

In putting together this post, I decided to look up what great minds have to say about time and I came up with the following selections. You can check some other quotes on Time Management

  • Men talk of killing time, while time quietly kills them
    Dion Boucicault
  • Better three hours too soon, than one minute too late.
    William Shakespeare
  • Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.
  • Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.
    William Penn
  • Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life.
    Alan Lakein
  • Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week.
    Charles Richards
  • The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.
    Stephen R. Covey
  • Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much can be done if we are always doing.
    Thomas Jefferson
  • This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • A man who dares to waste one hour of life has not discovered the value of life.
    Charles Darwin

More Quotes on Time Management 1

  • Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.
    Benjamin Franklin
  • Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year – and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!
    Anthony Robbins
  • If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got.
    Lee Iacocca
  • It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?
    Henry David Thoreau
  • Take care of the minutes and the hours will take care of themselves.
    Lord Chesterfield
  • It’s how we spend our time here and now, that really matters. If you are fed up with the way you have come to interact with time, change it.
    Marcia Wieder
  • Whether it’s the best of times or the worst of times, it’s the only time we’ve got.
    Art Buchwald

More Quotes on Time Management 2

  • This is the beginning of a new day.
    God has given me this day to use as I will.
    I can waste it or use it for good.
    What I do today is important, because
    I am exchanging a day of my life for it.
    When tomorrow comes,
    this day will be gone forever,
    leaving in its place something
    that I have traded for it.
    I want it to be gain, not loss;
    good not evil; success not failure;
    in order that I shall not regret
    the price I paid for it.
    Author Unknown
  • Lost wealth may be replaced by industry, lost knowledge by study, lost health by temperance or medicine, but lost time is gone forever.
    Samuel Smiles
  • Money, I can only gain or lose. But time I can only lose. So, I must spend it carefully.
    Author Unknown
  • One thing you can’t recycle is wasted time.
    Author Unknown
  • Lost time is never found again.
  • All that really belongs to us is time; even he who has nothing else has that.
    Baltasar Gracian
  • Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.
  • Time is money.
    Benjamin Franklin
  • Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.
    M. Scott Peck
  • Your greatest resource is your time.
    Brian Tracy
  • You cannot kill time without injuring eternity.
    Henry David Thoreau
  • Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.
    Peter F. Drucker

More Quotes on Time Management 3

  • What may be done at any time will be done at no time.
    Scottish Proverb
  • A wise person does at once, what a fool does at last. Both do the same thing; only at different times.
    Baltasar Gracian
  • One worthwhile task carried to a successful conclusion is worth half-a-hundred half-finished tasks.
    Malcolm S. Forbes
  • A year from now you will wish you had started today.
    Karen Lamb
  • The surest way to be late is to have plenty of time.
    Leo Kennedy
  • While we are postponing, life speeds by.
  • You will never “find” time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.
    Charles Bruxton
  • Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.
    H. Jackson Brown
  • The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.
    Michael Altshuler
  • I am definitely going to take a course on time management… just as soon as I can work it into my schedule.
    Louis E. Boone
  • In truth, people can generally make time for what they choose to do; it is not really the time but the will that is lacking.
    Sir John Lubbock
  • Those who make the worse use of their time are the first to complain of its shortness.
    Jean De La Bruyere
  • The great dividing line between success and failure can be expressed in five words: “I did not have time.”
    Franklin Field

Time Management for Students

People do not just wake up in the morning, get into their cars and hit the road without somewhere to go. Similarly, a wise student must have a goal he or she desires to attain. Goal setting allows you to choose where you want to go in school and what you want to achieve. They give you long-term vision and short-term motivation. The understanding of Time Management by any student would help such to have realisable and objective goals that would lead them into success at the end of their academic career. We shall consider some concepts that have to do with Time Management and Goal Setting…

What is Time Management?

Sometimes, one wonders if those who are successful have more than 24 hours at their disposal. But the frank reality is that some people achieve so much with their time than many others. The simple reason this is so is hinged on good time management. So, what is time management?

We can say that Time Management has to do with the process of effectively organising and planning how to apportion one’s time properly between several activities that one has to engage in. Effective Time Management certainly helps one to engage in SMART work as opposed to HARD work and much can be accomplished within a short time. Frustration and stress happen when one does not manage their time well.

Time management is an essential skill in the modern world where several activities have to be crammed into each day. In a nutshell, the following sentences summarise time management:

  • It is the proper use of available time for the accomplishment of set tasks.
  • Time management is managing ourselves in relation to time.
  • It is setting priorities and taking charge of your situation and time utilization.

Let us talk about Goal Setting…

Goal Setting

We can describe goal setting as the process of identifying some things that one wishes to accomplish or get done and establishing or mapping out SMART goals and time frames towards achieving the set objectives. For example, if you want to make a First Class or have Distinction in School, there are things you must eliminate in your life and there are study habits or patterns you must take on. Similarly, if you want to loose a specific pound or kilogramme of weight, your eating habit has to change and you set out time to see your desired weight become actualised.

We have pointed out that goal setting allows you to choose where you want to go in school (as a student) and what you want to achieve as they give you long-term vision and short-term motivation. The following interesting and thought-provoking lines from Guan Zhong (720 – 645 BCE) aptly describe the three types of goals there are:

The best return for one year is to grow grains;
The best return for ten years is to grow trees; and
The best return for a lifetime is to educate people.

Types of Goals

There are generally about three types of goals and these include long-term, medium-term and short -term goals.  Let us see these 3 types of goals closely…

Long-term Goal

Long term goals may focus on what you want to achieve in life, your vision of where you want to become. A long-term goal has to do with a future accomplishment and this is crucial for a successful career and certainly requires time and planning. It is not something you can do withing a short time, one year or few years; it takes almost a lifetime.

Medium term Goal

Medium term goals focus on things you want to achieve in a period of 1-5 years. Medium-term goals serves as the bridge between daily activities and the long-term goals one has. In other words, medium-term goals are set to be achieved somewhere between a ones short-term goals and their long-term goals. Medium-term goals last longer than a year, but less than five years. Since it takes a long time to achieve long term goals, medium-term goals enable one to be motivated on the way to fulfilling one’s long-term goals while working on the daily short-term goals necessary for the fulfilment of the long-term goals.

Short term Goal

Short-term goals are those daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual actions one requires to take in order to one’s medium-term and long-term goals. We can imagine short-term goals as our daily drivers or a vehicle faithfully and consistently that takes us to work daily though we may not like it as such. Every short-term goal must be a defined single action prioritized for that day and week and that also supports a monthly or quarterly goal. Short-term goals can cover a semester, a month, a week or a day.

SMART Goal Setting

Some refer to this as SMART Objectives, SMART Methodology or SMART Targets.

What are these SMART GOALS? SMART is an acrostic for Specific, Measurable, Achievable/Attainable/Appropriate, Relevant/Realistic/Rigorous  Time-bound. A student achievement goal should be SMART.

Specific – State where you need to be in a particular subject /course or a personality development area.

Measurable – how will you know you have reached the point?

Achievable, Attainable, Appropriate – The goal is under your control as a student.

Relevant, Realistic, Rigorous – related to your studies, realistically attainable (you may need to walk before you fly) but pushes you beyond your comfort zone.

Time-bound – The goal has a time frame: a semester, session, week, etc.

SMART Goals for Students

1. Set goals for different aspect of your life: social, spiritual, family relationship, academics. For example, what score do you want in a particular course?
2. Set your targets in clear terms. Don’t write “I want to study more”; rather “Get up at 4.30am to revise to one hour every day”.
3. Write your goals down where you can see them.
4. Begin to work towards achieving them. Sleep early if you want to wake up early to study by giving up activities

A student achievement goal should be SMART.

  • Specific – State where you need to be in a particular subject /course or a personality development area.
  • Measurable – how will you know you have reached the point?
  • Appropriate – The goal is under your control as a student.
  • Relevant, Realistic, Rigorous – related to your studies, realistically attainable (you may need to walk before you fly) but pushes you beyond your comfort zone.
  • Time-bound – The goal has a time frame: a semester; session, week

Importance of Goal Setting

It is certain that any individual without goals will live life haphazardly and might eventually end up nowhere as standing for nothing guarantees falling for anything. The importance of goal setting among others include the following:

  1. Goal setting allows you to choose where you want to go and what you want to achieve.
  2. It gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation.
  3. Goal setting involves using your present achievement data to set target goals for personal improvement.

Lanre Olusola, in his informative article, in TheGuardian Newspaper clearly spells out the importance of goal setting. You can look it up to know more importance of goal setting.

Time Management Skills

A major time management skill is Goal setting which we have discussed above. Others include Prioritisation, Self-motivation, Focus, Determination, Planning, Delegation/Outsourcing, Record keeping and many others. We can refer to time management skills also as Time management Strategies which the post has addressed. You can jump to the Time management Strategies below to see them…

Time Management Tips

The following tips will help anyone, especially any student, who wishes to manage their time very effectively:

  • Do things with concentration, dedication and commitment and not in a careless manner.
  • Trust others and distribute works to others (group activities).
  • Never think about unnecessary things and never be a in other people’s matters.
  • Postponement of planned events is an avoidable bad habit.
  • Breakdown your goals into smaller tasks with manageable steps.
  • Be punctual. Hurrying up is not always the best way of doing a thing faster.
  • Don’t forget or misplace things.
  • Use a calendar/ Get on by being organised.
  • Time is life, do not waste it.
  • Identify major thieves of time and eject them.
  • Make a realistic list of things to do and act on it.
  • Eliminate unnecessary activities.
  • Memory aids such as notes, phone recording are useful.
  • Analyse how time is spent.
  • Never take on more than is necessary, learn to say no.
  • Analyse yourself and operate within your strengths.
  • Employ a programme of physical and mental fitness.
  • Manage backlog.
  • Employ a schedule or planner to chart the way ahead.
  • Never cease striving to become more efficient and effective.
  • Treat each day as your last, maximize it.

Time Management Strategies

Time management involves several sub-skills as discussed below:

Making a Things-to-do List

  • Do not face a day without a clear idea of your targets for that day. Include other activities in addition to routine things like lectures and practicals.
  • You can make your list at night, while planning for the next day, or very early in the day.

Prioritization by Urgency and Importance

  • Determine which, of the many items you have pencilled down, are absolutely necessary and which must be done as soon as possible.
  • This is what is meant by prioritization, a ranking or ordering of things according to their importance or urgency.

Time Budgeting and Time-tabling

  • Determine how much time you can afford to invest on an activity but be sure to include all your major activities, including rest and recreation.
  • Your prioritization may be helpful here: you may want to spend more time on activities that you consider more important but allocate only the time you need.
  • Factor into your time plan possible delays and foreseeable problems.

Time-tabling: Things to Consider

  • Who am I?
  • What subject(s) do I like/detest? Why?
  • What time(s) and for how long do I like to study?
  • Where and in what conditions do I like to study?
  • When and for how long must I sleep in a day?
  • What activities (sports, social, WHO AM I? religious) do I like to participate in?

Account for the following in your time-table:

  • Personal daily cycle
  • Study cycle
  • Time management plan
  • Your Time- Table must include:
  • Period and hours of sleep required;
  • Time required for eating; praying/fellowshipping; recreation;
  • Moving from residence to lectures, etc.
  • Time and hours for lectures, tutorials & practical work
  • Period and hours required for study each day/week to cover all courses

A Realistic Time Table should:

  • Be pragmatic
  • Account for all your courses & necessary activities
  • Account for your individual attention span
  • Be adaptable in response to exigencies
  • Reflect your essential personality in content and design
  • Be a guide, a tool

A Realistic Time Table should not:

  • Be too detailed
  • Be too scanty
  • Ignore any subject or major activity; social, sporting, religious, etc.
  • Be made to impress
  • Be a distraction

Elimination of Waste

  • Time is so precious that one cannot afford to waste it.
  • Whenever you find yourself unoccupied, ask: what am I investing this time in?
  • Time management may therefore involve giving up some less productive activities to buy time for the more important things.
  • Eliminate waste by using time saving devices. (E.g. an ATM, a telephone. How?)

Task Sharing

  • Some people have time management challenges because they get involved in too many activities. So do not bite more than we can chew.
  • Our priority tasks can also present time management challenges. For example, an assignment for a course might require students to read several books and online material, do site visits and conduct some interviews.
  • At such times, students can form study groups and share the tasks. Using this scheme, each student does two activities instead of four.
  • The right attitude is of prime importance in using task sharing as a time management strategy.


  • Multitasking is a concept used in computer science and it refers to a mode of operation offered by an operating system in which a computer works on more than one task at a time.
  • It can also mean the simultaneous management of two or more tasks by a person.
  • A student can set an action in motion, first writing up an assignment that must be word-processed, giving that assignment to a typist to be word-processed while working on another assignment.


  • Despite all efforts to invest time wisely, there may be some activities that cannot be accommodated on a particular day.
  • Such will have to be rescheduled appropriately, i.e. new times will have to be fixed for them.
  • Of course if they are not absolutely important, you might consider leaving them out altogether.

Time Management Devices

The following devices are useful in helping us to manage our time properly:

  • Things to do list
  • Timetable
  • Organizer
  • Calendar
  • Timepiece, alarm
  • Cell phone

Importance of Time Management

The importance are quite numerous; but just a few importance will be listed here. These include:

  1. Balance in work and family life is achieved.
  2. Boosts confidence and inspires one to do more.
  3. Enhances Efficiency and Effectiveness
  4. Enhances success in studies, work and life.
  5. Excellent time management allows one to create a healthy balance in your workflow and home life.
  6. Guarantees fast achievement of ones goals.
  7. Helps in developing more qualities
  8. Helps in overcoming the problem of procrastination
  9. It develops in one the art of self-discipline.
  10. It helps in developing good study habits
  11. Makes life meaningful and puts an end to indecision.
  12. One can get more done with less effort.
  13. Reduces stress and the tendency of getting overwhelmed.
  14. It helps in making better decisions.
  15. Puts one to be in control and engenders fulfilment.

Problems and Solutions for Proper Time Management

These problems can be categorised into Personal, Psychological and Social problems. The solutions to each is given under each problem…

Personal Problems

  • Set priorities
  • Organize yourself
  • Spend some time on leisure

Psychological Problems

  • Have self-discipline
  • Learn to say “No” when necessary
  • Believe in team work
  • Have a watch on the work entrusted

Social Problems

  • Allot some time for recreation: to spend with parents, nature, to love, to listen, to dream and to think
  • Beware of and avoid time wasting relationships and pursuits.

Final Note

In its definition of this non-renewable resource, Oxford Dictionary has this to say: Time is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events that occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past, through the present, to the future. The post, Time Management for Students: Activities, Examples, Methods, Skills, Techniques, Tips & Tools, has outlined, in a comprehensible manner and style, basic things that one needs to know and practise if time is to be properly managed and maximised for optimum productivity. You can share with your friends if the post has enriched you. You can also see some of our posts like Efficiency and Effectiveness and others in order to learn one or two things. See you around.


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