Chapter 7 Time Management


A great aspect of time is its equality. Regardless of race, religion, or age, everyone has the same amount of time in a day, week, month and year. Wealthy people cannot buy more time and poor people do not receive less time. A minute for a tall person is the same amount of time for a short person. An hour for a woman is the same amount of time for a man. Regardless of how many languages someone speaks, their sexual orientation, ethnicity, educational background, income or experience, everyone has 365 days in a year. Granted some people will live longer than others, but everyone has the same amount of time every day as everyone else.

Time is also how we keep track of when we’re supposed to be and where we’re supposed to be (work, home, class, meeting friends and family, etc.). Think about how many measures of time you have in your home (clocks, watches, cell phones, TVs, DVRs, computers, microwaves, ovens, thermostats, etc.). It is obvious time is important to us.

Time: A Limited and Precious Commodity

We cannot go back in time. If I used my time poorly last Wednesday, I can do nothing to get it back. Other commodities may allow for accumulating more or starting over, but time does not. We cannot “save” time or earn more time.

“If you had a bank that credited your account each morning with $86,400, but carried no balance from day to day and allowed you to keep no cash in your account, and every evening cancelled whatever part of the amount you had failed to use during the day, what would you do? Draw out every cent, of course! Well, you have such a bank, and its name is time. Every morning it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off as lost whatever of these you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries no balance; it allows no overdrafts. Each day it opens a new account with you. Each night it burns the record of the day. If you fail to use the day’s deposit, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against the morrow. You must live in the present – on today’s deposit. Invest it so as to get the utmost in health and happiness and success.”

— Anonymous

We often bring up efficiency and effectiveness to describe how people spend their time. What is your relationship with time? Are you usually early, right on time or late? Do you find yourself often saying, “I wish I had more time?” Are you satisfied with your relationship with time or would you like to change it?

A clock face that reads, "Time, our most precious resource"

One of the challenges many adult students face is being over-committed. Some are working full-time and going to school full-time. Students may be taking care of children, siblings, parents, or be care-givers for loved ones with health needs. Students can have a multitude of other commitments and responsibilities. It can be difficult to take action to complete goals when there are so many areas competing for our time. And sometimes we cannot “do it all.” Sometimes we need to prioritize, let something go, adjust and reevaluate what the most important things are to us.

Other students may struggle because college does not have as much structure as they may have been used to in high school. They may think, “Why should I start a homework assignment now when I don’t have anything I have to do for the next three days?” This mindset usually leads to the student waiting until the last minute to start the assignment and as a result, the quality of work is not high.

Time management for successful university studying involves these factors:

  • Determining how much time you need to spend studying
  • Knowing how much time you actually have for studying and increasing that time if needed
  • Being aware of the times of day you are at your best and most focused
  • Using effective long-term and short-term study strategies
  • Scheduling study activities in realistic segments
  • Using a system to plan ahead and set priorities
  • Staying motivated to follow your plan and avoid procrastination

For every hour in the classroom, university students should spend, on average, about two additional hours on that class reading, studying, writing papers, and so on. If you’re a full-time student with fifteen hours a week in class, then you need another thirty hours for the rest of your academic work. That forty-five hours is about the same as a typical full-time job. If you work part time, time management skills are even more essential. These skills are still more important for part-time university students who work full time and commute or have a family. To succeed in university, virtually everyone has to develop effective strategies for dealing with time. In this chapter, you will learn strategies for time management and discover tools to help you implement them.

Learning Objectives

In this chapter on “Time Management,” students will:

  • Apply strategies for effective time management.
  • Evaluate different scheduling tools for learners’ personal needs.
  • Develop long-term and short-term goals.
  • Create personal schedules including study times, assignments, tests, and personal obligations.

Text Attributions

This chapter includes content remixed from the following sources:

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