Manage Time | LSU Center for Academic Success

Manage Time


Do you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day and wish you could stop the clock? As a college student, this is normal as you are likely trying to balance academic, social, work, and personal obligations. Also, you may have classes meeting in different formats with various expectations and competing deadlines to meet.

Success will require time management, effective learning strategies, motivation, and consistent engagement with course content. Use our valuable tools and strategies to help manage it all. 


Time Management Tools Quick Links

For information on the best way to fill out the following time management tools, please see our "Using Time Management Tools" section.

Master To-Do List

Master To-Do List (PDF)

Finals Calendar

Final Exam Planner (PDF)

 


How to Manage Time Effectively

Cultivate a Daily Routine Sun Icon

Even if you’re not coming to campus or attending face-to-face classes, make sure to do the following every day:

  • Wake up at a regular time
  • Eat breakfast
  • Get dressed
  • Check Moodle and email

A good routine can set you up with a mindset for success and keep you on track.

Have a good space (or two) to do your work that is:

  • Distraction-limited
  • Comfortable (but avoid studying in bed!)
  • Ready with all your supplies 

When you feel stuck, change your environment, but avoid studying in bed!


 

Organize Your Classes 

  • Use this Class Organizer to take stock of where you are in class and make the most of your remaining opportunities to succeed.

Time management doesn’t have to be a tricky situation with these helpful tools to guide you in getting the most out of your time. 

The CAS semester calendar gives a quick snapshot of important university dates and deadlines for the entire semester.

This semester calendar guide will help you carefully review Moodle and course syllabi to add due dates for assignments, exams, and other important dates to help you set up your personal calendar. It will give you a “big picture” view of your entire semester so that you can determine when your heavy weeks are.

Use the CAS weekly planner along with the weekly planner guide to plan your schedule in detail.

  • Plan Your Class Time
    • Consistently plan routine “class time” so you keep up with the course content
    • Write in scheduled courses
      • First, write in times for classes that will be meeting either online or face-to-face at scheduled class times (For example, Biology lecture at 9:00 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays via Zoom.)
    • Identify times for other courses
      • Next, plan out your “class time” for all other courses. (E.g., “Attend” Psychology MWF 9 -10 a.m.) Use this time to engage with your instructor or classmates on Moodle, or to get introduced to new course content for the first time (like watching posted videos or reading a new chapter)

  • Plan Your Study Time
    • Identify open times
      • Once you’ve entered all your class times, blank spaces where time is available should be apparent.  This is where you need to schedule our study time (called Focused Study Sessions)
    • Plan Focused Study Sessions
      • On your weekly schedule, plan at least two Focused Study Sessions in between each class session. (Set a goal, execute without distractions, take a 10-minute break, then review your progress. What’s still muddy? What will you tackle next?)

Use this Master To-Do List template to identify and prioritize your responsibilities.

The Master To-Do List can be used in many different ways. One way is to create a game plan for the week on Sunday night or use it to prepare for exams.

Sunday Night Game Plan

  • Review your syllabi and list tasks to complete for each course that week
  • Identify tasks that you can tackle in your Focused Study Sessions
  • Assign priorities to tasks
    • You can identify which tasks are highest priority, which are lower priority, and which would be nice to get done if time permits

Quiz or Test Preparation

  • Identify main topics that will be covered on the exam and write the main topics on the top row
  • Write the subtopics that need to be studied under the related main topics
  • After you feel you have mastered each topic, check it off the list and focus your time on the items that still need to be mastered

View this Master To-Do List example that illustrates how to fill in the list with action items from a set of courses.

Use the CAS finals exam planner to plan ahead for your final exams. You can also use a Master to Do List for each course to keep track of what you need to do to prepare for each exam.

This Finals Planner example will give you ideas on how to customize a plan for yourself.

 

Checklist IconOne of the key elements of effective time management is establishing specific and clear goals. Creating SMART goals will help you define attainable goals to ensure success. 

SMART Goals Method

Goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time bound. Creating goals that reflect these characteristics will hold you accountable and establish proper time management.

To learn more about this strategy, please visit our Learning Journey Moodle Course Module 2: Get Organized and Manage Your Time.

Clock IconHave you ever wondered where the time goes? One helpful tip is to create a time audit so you can specifically see and understand where all of your time is being spent. By tracking your activities throughout the day, you can be more intentional about taking back control of your time. For example, look at how much time you’re spending on games, social media, etc. using the Screen Time feature on iPhone and Android.

Lightbulb IconOne of the biggest challenges to proper time management is procrastination, which students often experience in their academic career. (Even many professionals face procrastination in their careers!)

Try to determine exactly why you’re procrastinating and find a direct solution to counter that reason. 

Common Causes Possible Solutions
Perfectionism
  • Work toward complete drafts instead of perfect pieces
  • Accept that messy is okay for works-in-progress
Lack of Motivation
  • Build a social support network
  • Create new techniques to challenge yourself
Unclear Directions
  • Set SMART Goals
  • Consult with an instructor or peer in class
Fear of Failure
  • Acknowledge your accomplishments
  • Challenge your conclusions
Distractions
  • Prioritize your assignments
  • Create an effective study environment