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 Barnum Center (505 Lasuen Mall) (formerly Career Planning and Placement Center until 2006; Old Bookstore built in 1913), bicycles / bikes, Clock Bell Tower (501 Lasuen Mall), families, Hoover Tower (incl. Exhibit Pavilion) (550 Serra Mall). Credit:  Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service

Time Management

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Managing time in an organized and balanced way leads to both greater productivity and a sense of ease.

Strong time management skills allow you to

  • Prioritize time to complete necessary tasks for school, work, and personal responsibilities
  • Capitalize on limited or available time
  • Manage productivity and workflow, thereby reducing stress and anxiety
  • Prioritize tasks efficiently within limited allotted time constraints
  • Initiate tasks and get started with work in an orderly and efficient manner

Questions for Reflection about Time Management

  • Are you generally a person who frequently is late to events or turns in assignments after they are due?
  • Do you use a calendar or a planner to help you manage your time and assignments?
  • Do you find that you underestimate the amount of time necessary for an assignment?
  • Do you find that you can only complete an assignment immediately before it is due?

Questions for Reflection about Procrastination 

  • For how long do you typically procrastinate on an assignment or project?
  • What do you do while you’re procrastinating?
  • When you recognize that you’re procrastinating, are you able to quickly get back on track? 
  • What steps do you take to get back on track?
  • On a scale from 1-10 (10 being extremely controlled), rate your degree of control over procrastination.

Basic Strategies to Try

Create a List

  1. What are some things that prevent you from making the most of your free time?  Define distractions that impede your focus, initiation of work, and prevent you from getting things accomplished in school, work, and your personal life.
  2. Now that you have created the above list, brainstorm ideas and write down what you could try to reduce these distractions.  How could you avoid these patterns?

Use An Accountability Partner

Have you ever worked with an accountability partner?  If not, would you like to try? Sign up here.

Plan Your Time

  • Choose one day (typically Sunday or Monday) to plan your week in detail, making sure to write down everything in a planner, calendar, or app: all your school assignments, work responsibilities, personal to-do’s. 
  • Color code your courses in a way that allows you to visually organize this information, and make sure that if you use a Google or Outlook calendar, it syncs to your phone for alerts.
  • Estimate how long each task will take, and mark the time that you start on the calendar.  
  • If you often underestimate the time that a task takes to complete, use this time management reflection sheet to help you develop a better understanding of your own task completion.
  • Every morning as soon as you wake, look at your calendar or planner and set goals for the day.  Spend no more than 30 minutes reviewing/sending emails.  

Tips

When you take the time to create a schedule for yourself, you will hold yourself more accountable.  As mentioned above, having an accountability partner is incredibly helpful.  Here are some templates to help you manage your time:

Break down long-term assignments, papers and projects

The Stanford Learning Lab is in the process of building an assignment calculator. 
In the meantime, here are two assignment calculators that we like:

Review your time-management habits often

Once you have created a time-management schedule, you may need to adjust it when you better understand how long specific tasks take to complete.  Keep a log of these adjustments so that you can better anticipate your work flow patterns.  Take the time to review your schedule often.

  • Here is a link that can guide this reflection process.

Remember self-care

Build time into your schedule for exercise, socializing, self-care, and hobbies.  

Make sure that you are getting enough sleep! Don’t forget to write that into your calendar too!

Questions about how to implement these strategies? 

Email your question to stanfordlearninglab@lists.stanford.edu or attend one of our drop-in sessions.

Additional Stanford Resources

Resources Outside of Stanford