4.1 Time Management in College

“Either run the day; or the day runs you”
– Jim Rohn

Questions to consider:

  • Is time management different in college from what I am used to?
  • How does time management impact college success?

Learning Objectives

  • Explain how time is a limited and precious commodity
  • Describe how your world view and sense of self-efficacy contribute to your time, tools, and environment management habits
  • Identifying your current time management challenges


What I like about time is that it is the same for everyone! You may be wealthy or not; you may be tall or short; you may be living in any part of the world; we all get 24 hours in a day. Each person is gifted the same amount of minutes and hours in a day when it comes to time. So, how do you define time? How do you use this time? What does time mean to you? Is the meaning of time and management of this time different now that you are in college? Remember that time is a precious commodity deposited daily into our account. Take some time to reflect on how you use this daily deposit of 24 hours or 1440 minutes or 86400 seconds.

Time Management

Time management is the process of planning and exercising conscious control of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity. (Wikipedia)

(Source: Wikipedia: Time Management)

“Technically, time cannot be managed, but we label it time management when we talk about how people use their time. We often bring up efficiency and effectiveness when discussing how people spend their time, but we cannot literally manage time because time cannot be managed. What we can do though, is find better ways to spend our time, allowing us to accomplish our most important tasks and spend time with the people most important to us.”

(Source: Blueprint for success in College)

The philosophical approach towards time management emphasizes embracing the fact that we have the freedom to choose what we want to do with our time. It is critical to understand that time is limited and that it is up to our own to judge where we want to spend it. Time management is not just about being more productive and efficient; this can lead us towards stress and overworking.

The following TED talk by Brad Aeon explores the philosophy of time management. Aeon is a Ph.D. researcher at the John Molson School of Business focused on time management, temporality, and work-life balance. He focuses on the improvement of our temporal decision-making as a solution to achieving more success by leading a less busy life. In this talk, Brad engages the audience with this question “Will you fill whatever lifetime you have left with so-called time management techniques and shortcuts? Or will you see time management as a way to infuse your life with meaning and purpose?”

(Source: YouTube: The Philosophy of Time Management)


Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXBA4eWskrc


A very unfortunate situation in higher education is the danger students face from poor time management. One instance of poor time management can trigger a cascading situation with disastrous results. It’s not just your academic performance that can be affected by cascading events that have a domino effect on your college path, personal life and much more. And dropping out of school is not your only danger. There are other consequences that affect the financial cost to you as a student if your lack of time management skills causes you to delay when you finish college. While it may not be possible to prevent life challenges while you are in college, you can do a great deal to prevent the chaos and the chain reaction of unfortunate events that they can cause. This can be accomplished through thoughtful prioritization and time management efforts.

In college, there is a significant difference because a great deal of time management is left up to you. While it is true that there are assignment due dates and organized classroom activities, learning at the college level requires more than just the simple completion of work. It involves decision-making and the ability to evaluate information. This is best accomplished when you are an active partner in your own learning activities.

Activity – What Students Say

  1. How difficult is it for you to keep track of multiple tasks over the course of a term?
    1. Extremely easy
    2. Somewhat easy
    3. Somewhat difficult
    4. Extremely difficult
  2. Do you use a particular app to help you manage your time?
    1. I use Google calendar
    2. I use the calendar on my phone
    3. I use a paper/notebook planner
    4. I use the calendar on my learning management system
    5. I use another app or system
    6. I don’t use any type of planner or app
  3. Rank the following in terms of what you would most like to improve regarding your time management skills.
    1. My ability to predict how much time my tasks will take.
    2. My ability to balance various obligations.
    3. My ability to avoid procrastination.
    4. My ability to limit distractions

What follows in the rest of this unit is a close look at the nature of time management, procrastination and its impact and prioritization of time in ways that can help keep you on track to graduate college on time.

Attributions and References

This chapter contains adaptations from:

Baldwin, A. (2020). College Success. Provided by: Open Stax.
Book URL: Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/college-success/pages/1-introduction
Section URL: https://openstax.org/books/college-success/pages/3-1-the-benefits-of-time-management
License: CC BY: Attribution

All Rights Reserved Sources:

Wikipedia: Time Management  Accessed from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_management

Blueprint for success in College
Content previously copyrighted, published in Blueprint for Success in College: Indispensable Study Skills and Time Management Strategies (by Dave Dillon), now licensed as CC BY. Accessed from https://press.rebus.community/blueprint1/chapter/14-time-management-theory/

YouTube: The Philosophy of Time Management Accessed from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXBA4eWskrc


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Fundamentals for Success in College Copyright © 2022 by Priti Parikh, Centennial College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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