Time Management in Higher Education

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Institutions of higher learning provide students with more freedom than they have experienced in earlier stages. The impetus is on them to manage their schedules. Poor time management in colleges contributes to rigors. Time management skills are essential for each student, and if poorly practiced, they can find themselves behind on studies, experience mental and emotional stress, and low academic performance (Kaushar p. 59). Conducive settings promote positive outcomes to the students. Students’ time management is an important aspect determines various factors while learning. Nonetheless, some students lack adequate skills to manage their time effectively, which in turn have adverse effects on their lives and academics. Sometimes students lose significant opportunities for failure to plan their time. Some of the poor performances witnessed among the college students score are not due to their weaknesses, but because they failed to prepare for the right time to revise and engage in other duties (Australian Professional Skills Institute 2016). Time usage by the students depends on their daily routines and activities. Stress usually sets in when students try to cope with their tasks and achievements. Time management is an art that requires students to arrange, organize, schedule, and budget on their time to generate effectiveness and productivity. The best solution for poor time management among college students is to eliminate distractions, which is the primary cause of academic procrastination (De Paola and Scoppa p. 219). The process of removing distraction include making a schedule and sticking to it, prioritizing tasks, setting a boundary for each work, accounting for the good disturbances but staying away from bad distractions, and avoiding procrastination to implement the processes (Naturil-Alfonso et al. p.1155)

Alternative Solutions to the Problem and Refutation

            Different time management approaches work effectively for different people. Thus, each student should consider taking a realistic pattern. To development proper coping strategies, students should identify the factors that make time management a struggle, environmental distractors, availability of learning plans, and overwhelming tasks that do not allow regular study breaks. There are many barriers to effective time management. Nonetheless, the significant factors are procrastination, distraction, and poor planning since they generate other problems that hinder concentration of the students on essential activities. Many students are tempted to put things off for later consideration. Based on Charles Dickens’ philosophy, procrastination is the thief of time (Strang 2015). Since students also require adequate time for interaction and learning other life social skills, the solutions should not suppress their ability to engage with other crucial elements in life.


            Proper planning is key to ensuring efficient time management. Lack of thoughtful planning and prioritization of tasks causes several challenges to the students. The problem often manifests in different ways including misplaced priorities and easily bowing to peer influence. To address the issue, students need to plan. When working on their schedules, students can easily generate plans for their activities (Arvidsson 2016). However, the critical step is to learn how to estimate how long each action would take. While planning, there is a need to integrate buffer time into the schedule for allowing some times for delays, disruptions, and mechanical challenges. The process of planning requires students to get planners, whether paper or electronic. The planners should first be used to schedule examinations, and assignments then fill in time to study, eat, sleep, socialize, and relax. Most students have plans to engage in different learning activities; the problem remains compliance with such schedules.

            Despite high recommended as a useful time management tool, planning presents different challenges. The plan brings rigidity since it makes students inflexible to other vital activities in the learning processes (Management Study Guide 2018). Developing the schedules implies that before determining the tasks, the student has concluded to adhere to them strictly in all situations. Planning does not allow scope for individual freedom, and in a learning setup, it encourages focusing on personal interests rather those of other students (De Paola and Scoppa p.221). Planning is not an event rather a process, which is time-consuming since it involves collecting, analyzing, and interpreting information. Thus, the method is ineffective during crisis management or emergency when a quick decision is needed. There is a probability in planning since it involves forecasting on the future estimates, which could prove to be inexact due to the uncertainty of the future. Changes in the anticipated tasks in the college can render the plans ineffective.

Scheduling Rewards

            Students need to be treated when they do the right things. In the previous institutional management practices, the punishment was considered the most effective method of ensuring that students set priorities based on future needs; education was vital. Recent studies have established that rewards are increasingly becoming more motivational factors than punishments for time management. Students should take a few minutes of their time to take a break to do something that they enjoy including taking a walk or watching television (Arvidsson 2016). Such breaks are essential to enable the brain to relax and be more productive when the learning process continues. Each student aims to pass an examination and be successful in life. Effective time management is the determinant of these factors. Taking a few minutes to reward oneself is a form of motivating and a method to appreciate the outcome.

            Although scheduling rewards is a form of appreciating the efforts placed to achieve an outcome, students usually overindulge, which in turn disorients their plans and focus. Such practices require discipline and understanding that achieving various learning objectives is key (Tumwebaze 2017). In addition, students consider socializing and hanging out with friends vital in colleges. Consequently, most of them often find the rewards in the company of their friends fun, which leads to more time wastage considering differences in priorities and goals in the learning process.

Prioritizing Tasks

            Each college student has tasks to accomplish at the end of their study. Nevertheless, they have diverging responsibilities. Some works may be similar but prioritized differently from one student to another. Effective time management requires students to make priorities, which are aligned with their goals and values. Students need to focus on the activities that they should undertake in a day or a week and holding themselves accountable for them (Strang 2015). While planning and prioritizing the tasks, the students should focus on the big picture and ensure that smaller goals connect to the broader professional and personal goal. Some students are most productive in the morning while others later in the day. The tasks should be prioritized depending on the time the student feels highly productive and calm.

            Prioritizing tasks is vital, especially if the student does not intend to miss deadlines. Priorities changes from time to time depending on the time of the study. Most students have failed to be realistic when prioritizing essential issues due to influence from the classmates: time schedules are copied to allow for the unnecessary interactions. Aligning priorities with the goals in colleges is difficult due to the ever-changing expectations.

The Best Solution: Eliminating Distractions

            Most students in colleges are distracted by non-issues. Thus, to manage their time effectively, students should get rid of the distracting them and allowing them to procrastinate. With the advanced technology and accessibility of Internet-enabled devices, social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Messengers have become the major distracting factors (Hussain and Sultan p.1899). Elimination of these factors involve a serious of steps:

            Making schedules and sticking to them: students with poor management skills should start to organize their time in advance. There are always surprises, but with programs in place, the students would be aware of the tasks and responsibilities to handle daily. The plans also enable students to track their progress and consequently identify the patterns and recurring tasks to be incorporated into the program (Ganzer et al. p.6)

            Priorities and setting boundaries: once the students establish the tasks, they need to learn how to prioritize them. To execute any plan or manage time efficiently, students should decide the tasks to include in the schedules based on the significance and overall impact on professional development (Australian Professional Skills Institute 2016). If the students are to meet the task objectives, the boundaries need to be clear: informing friends the time and extent of interaction. To set the limits right, students should communicate hours of the day they do not want to be disturbed, except in emergency cases.

            Accounting for good distractions and staying from bad distractions: regardless of how much students try to avoid distractions, they will occur. The break is vital to remain productive. The best way to overcome these challenges is accepting that they will happen and trying to integrate them in the schedule. Students should also block out downtime in the programs by setting a few minutes to rest. If the distractions consume much time, students should stay away from them (Tumwebaze 2017).


            Time management is a common problem among students. The study has established that many students are struggling to manage their time well and avoiding procrastination. Many strategies can help to reduce these problems. However, they require commitment from the students. The paper discussed various solutions to address the problem: encouraging students to plan their tasks, scheduling rewards, and prioritizing the tasks. The best recommended method to enhance time management among the students is eliminating distractions.

Works Cited

Arvidsson, Norman. "Ways to Improve Your Time Management Skills." Recruiter, Recruiter, 9 Apr. 2016, www.recruiter.com/i/7-ways-busy-to-improve-your-time-management-skills/. Accessed 30 Oct. 2018.

Australian Professional Skills Institute. "Time Management Tips for Students." APSI, Australian Professional Skills Institute, 7 Apr. 2016, www.apsi.edu.au/7-time-management-tips-students/. Accessed 30 Oct. 2018.

De Paola, Maria, and Vincenzo Scoppa. "Procrastination, academic success and the effectiveness of a remedial program." Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, vol. 115, no. 1, 2015, pp. 217-236.

Ganzer, Justin, et al. "Time Perspective, Hope, and Learning Strategy among Rural Australian University Students." SSRN Electronic Journal, vol. 10, no. 4, 2015, pp. 1-10.

Hussain, Irshad, and Sarwat Sultan. "Analysis of procrastination among university students." Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 5, no. 1, 2010, pp. 1897-1904.

Kaushar, Mehnaz M. "Study of Impact of Time Management on Academic Performance of College Students." IOSR Journal of Business and Management, vol. 9, no. 6, 2013, pp. 59-60.

Management Study Guide. "Disadvantages of Planning." Management Study Guide - Free Training Guide for Students and Entrepreneurs, Management Study Guide, 2018, www.managementstudyguide.com/planning_disadvantages.htm. Accessed 30 Oct. 2018.

Naturil-Alfonso, Carmen, et al. "Procrastination: the poor time management among university students." Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Higher Education Advances (HEAd'18), 2018, pp. 1151-1158.

Strang, Tami. "College Students' Barriers to Effective Time Management." Cengage Blog, Cengage Blog, 4 Sept. 2015, blog.cengage.com/college-students-barriers-to-effective-time-management/. Accessed 30 Oct. 2018.

Tumwebaze, Peterson. "How Poor Time Management Affects Grades." The New Times | Rwanda, The New Times, 21 Nov. 2017, www.newtimes.co.rw/section/read/224043. Accessed 30 Oct. 2018.

August 14, 2023

Education Life



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Time Management

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