Managing Your Time

Time management is crucial more now than ever before, mainly because you have more time to “plan” to get things done “later.”

Student studying in hammockWith no clubs, organizations, sports practices, and altered work schedules for on and offcampus jobs, there is more time to say: “I will do that later.” Do not fall into the “I’ll do it later” trap, because later is always possible…well…until you run out of time. Treat your schoolwork like a job: set regular hours each day when you're “at work,” and hours that you’re free to relax.

How much time should you set aside for work? Well, even though your environment has changed, your work expectations shouldn’t. For most one-credit courses, it’s safe to say you receive three hours of instruction per week. If you are taking four classes (minus labs, lessons, or other add-ons), you are “in-class/online” at least 12 hours per week.

Below are some examples of how you might spend your time when preparing for courses that vary in difficulty.

Study time needed for a typical class: 3-6hrs per week:

  • Six hours: Synchronous/asynchronous in-class time (3hrs), reading assigned textbook chapters (1.5hrs), completing homework assignments (1.5hrs)

Study time for a demanding class: 6-9hrs per week:

  • Eight and a half hours: Synchronous/asynchronous in-class time (3hrs), read assigned textbook chapters and an article (2hrs), complete homework assignments (2hrs), Zoom professor during virtual office hours (30mins), Zoom a Writing Center appointment (1hr)

Study time for a very challenging class: 9-12hrs per week:

  • Twelve hours: Synchronous/asynchronous in-class time (3hrs), read and research assigned articles (4hrs), complete homework assignments (2hrs), Zoom group tutoring (1hrs), schedule one-on-one tutoring (1hrs), Zoom professor during virtual office hours (30mins), and Zoom/call a classmate/friend (30mins)

If you are taking one less demanding class (3-6hours), two typically demanding (12-18hours) courses, and one challenging/demanding (9-12) class: that’s 24-36 hours of dedicated school time. That 24-36 hours includes but is not limited to: attending class, doing homework, working with academic support (writing center, QUAD Center, or World Language Studio), and talking to friends. Therefore, be sure to have a method for scheduling your time. Below are examples of ways students manage their time.

If you a first-year student, you can work with a Colloquium Associate (CA). The CA can help in constructing one of the following scheduling examples and discuss other study strategies with you. If you are interested, please contact Sarah Kirk, Ph.D., Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Development, Director of the First-Year Experience, Professor Chemistry.

If you an upperclassman (sophomore, junior, and senior) and would like assistance in constructing one of the following examples or would like to discuss other study strategies, please contact Kelvin Clark, Director of the Office of Academic Support at He can connect you with a Peer Academic Coach.

If time management is not an issue for you per se, but organizing and prioritizing assignments is, the Learning Plan and Priority Matrix may be useful for you. For each course, you can think about upcoming tasks and due dates to construct a timeline for you to follow.

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