Time Management Tips

Time management is important as a student, but can be especially challenging with the transition to online courses in response to COVID-19. Some online courses can lack the structure of face to face classes that we’re used to. Below are some tips to help you to structure your study time to get the most out of your semester!
  • Study Help
  • Health & Wellness
  • Mental Health
bullet journal calendar

1) Use a to-do list, appointment book/planner, and/or calendar.

Writing down your responsibilities has a number of benefits. Not only will it help you to make sure you don’t forget any important deadlines, but it can also reduce stress by allowing you to drop your mental checklist.

Use a planner or calendar (or both) to keep track of due dates for assignments, projects, or labs, and to keep track of dates for tests, exams, and other events.

2) Set aside some time to plan each day or week.

Take half an hour to plan a day or week at a time, specifically looking at which assignments to work on at what time. That way, when you have a chunk of good study time, you don’t take up the first 20 minutes deciding what to work on.

3) Structure your out of class time.

Write down a specific assignment in a specific time slot, as if it was a class you were planning on attending.

Use small bits of time between classes and meetings effectively. In fifteen minutes, you can review, edit, and revise your notes from a recent lecture. A half-hour is good for beginning an assignment.

4) Prioritize your tasks.

Focus on completing the most important and the quickest tasks first. If you have a few “to-do’s” that will only take 5 minutes, do these first for peace of mind.

5) Break large tasks into smaller pieces.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you have a really big task before you. Breaking big tasks into smaller pieces will help you to get started, which is often the hardest part. For example, writing a paper can be reduced to pieces such as picking a topic, doing research, making an outline, and writing an introductory paragraph.

6) Diagnose your procrastination.

Is it really the WHOLE paper you’re having trouble starting, or just deciding on a topic? Is it the whole assignment, or just a section you can’t understand? Identifying this can help you figure out ways to tackle the problem and get started.

7) Limit distractions.

Spend a few days recording how much time you spend on distractions like social media or TV. Then, cut out the distractions you don’t actually enjoy, and schedule time for the ones you do enjoy. You can set an alarm so you know when to get back to work.

8) If you can’t limit your distractions, get away from them.

If you know you’ll give in to sources of distraction, get away from them. Create clear boundaries between work and play by putting up a “do not disturb” sign on your door, turning off your phone, going to a space without a TV, or studying in the library. Everyone is different- make the specific changes that you need to focus.

9) Give yourself time between tasks.

Plan on arriving to appointments 15 minutes early, and bring something to do in case you find yourself waiting. Scheduling some buffer time will help to reduce your stress if things run long.

10) Let yourself be less than perfect.

If you try to complete every task to perfection, some of your other responsibilities may not get done at all. Focus on completing each assignment that is due to an acceptable level if you’re short on time, and then go back to improve upon your work if you have time left over.

11) Build rewards into your schedule.

Four hours of solid studying followed by a half hour phone call to a family member or friend is more productive than four unfocused hours of study interrupted repeatedly by phone calls.

12) Take time for yourself.

Self-care is very important in helping you to be able to cope with academic and personal stresses and to help you learn more effectively. Setting aside time for exercise, spending time with friends, family, and other supports, and ensuring you’re getting enough sleep and adequate nutrition are all ways that you can take care of yourself.

13) Access supports.

If you feel you might need some support around time management, self-care, stress management, goal-setting, or other wellness-related concerns, you can connect with a Wellness Coach for support, information, and/or referrals to other services at CNC and in the community.

Wellness Coaches are located in the Student Services office (Room 1-753) at the Prince George campus. You can call them at 250-561-5818 or email wellnesscoach@cnc.bc.ca to book an appointment.

If you feel you might need some support around study skills and would like to access one on one tutoring, you can connect with the Testing and Tutoring Centre.

The Testing and Tutoring Centre is located in Room 1-725 at the Prince George campus. You can call them at 250-561-5837 or email tts@cnc.bc.ca to book a tutoring appointment.

For information about all of the services available to you at your campus, please contact the Student Services office at 250-561-5818 or visit our website.