time management tips for students

Time Management Tips for Students | Tips to Boost your Productivity

The class was about to be concluded when the teacher produced a large glass cup. Many ahead, as well as eyebrows, were raised. The situation seemed more awkward when the teacher opened the table’s drawer and produced a bag containing small rocks.

The students’ mouths were gaping. Did their elderly teacher turn senile and confused the class with being a geology class or something to that effect?

Then the teacher took the stones out and carefully placed them inside the cup. After putting all of them, he asked his pupils, “Is the cup full?”

Everyone in the class, in varying pitches, said:



“There is no place at all!”

While wondering what was going on, some of them began pitying their old teacher.

He then produced another bag, which contained sand. The surprised students then watched as he poured the sand into the cup.

The teacher then asked the students, “Is the cup full now?”

The students affirmed that the cup indeed was full. 

The teacher now reached out for his bag and took a bottle out. The students were speechless, as he began to pour water from the bottle to the cup.

The teacher asked again, “Is the cup full now?”

The students replied in unison that now, the cup was completely full.

The teacher smirked and took out a small sugar packet and poured its contents into the cup. Triumphantly, he asked again, “Is the cup indeed full now?”

In disbelief, the students again affirmed that the cup was indeed full, albeit wondering what was going to happen next.

The teacher then excused himself out of the room and, within a few minutes, returned with a small bunch of flowers.

He then placed the flowers in the cup, arranging them neatly. The students were amazed as they saw the beautiful flower arrangement in a cup filled with smaller rocks, sand, and water with half dissolved sugar.

The above story can be inferred as a lesson in time management.

Following are some time management tips for students:

1. Prioritize your tasks

The first time management tips for students is prioritizing tasks is something that many individuals fail to do. It is the primary sub-skill of time management. Divide your homework and assignments into levels of varying priority. 

In the above story, the rocks in the arrangement represent the utmost importance and urgent tasks. By finishing them at first, you will be able to relieve yourself of significant stress.

The sand represents our responsibilities, which have to be fulfilled daily, complete after finishing the essential tasks.

The water, fluid in nature, represents our work. It is to be fulfilled after our primary tasks.

The exclusive sugar is symbolic of our hobbies. After all the work is completed, one needs to turn to their pursuits as self-fulfillment. Try not to deprive yourself of it.

Finally, the flowers represent the excellence achieved, the pinnacle attained.

2. Set goals wisely

The goals set should be measurable and smart. They have to be reasonable.

If you are a student who is scoring about 50-60% at present, then don’t set your goal to achieve 100% in the next academic year. You need to be aware of your strengths and flaws and improve your skills, which cannot happen within a short period. 

It is better to set the bar of your goals a little low but higher than your performance. Then, with set periods, increment the plan’s level as well. 

Say, as per the above example, you can aim to score about 75% in the next year, and 85% the following year, and so on.

3. Set a proper time limit

Suppose you have five assignments to submit the next weekend. You set about analyzing them, and realize that you can only finish four of them within the deadline. Hence, you make the necessary arrangements to get it done somehow. However, if you had not realized it sooner, you would have been panicking about it later.

Estimating and setting a time limit to each task can help improve organization and efficiency. It will also help you focus your mindset on completing tasks before the deadline. 

Setting a time limit can also help you recognize upcoming obstacles, which can hinder your performance. You will be well-prepared to deal with it. Your future planning may also help to avoid roadblocks and this is one of the best time management tips for students.

4. Have regular breaks

As the proverb says, ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,’ constant work can derail the focus and motivation. Allow a little time-gap between tasks to clear your head and refresh yourself. You could grab a brief nap, go for a short walk, or, if possible, meditate and this is a very helpful time management tips for students

5. Organize your tasks

Use your calendar to include and organize tasks. Write down the deadlines for projects, assignments, or other tasks. Try to fix the time-slots wherein the given studies can be done at ease. This will help with more long-term time management. 

Also, try to remove non-essential or trivial tasks from your calendar as much as possible. This will ensure a clutter-free schedule.

Organizing your tasks on a day-to-day basis is also beneficial. Consider; making a to-do list at the end of each working day for the next day. This will help you to get the stress off your shoulders.

If you are a night owl who prefers to work during the night, change your schedule to embrace it. The same goes for a morning person as well.

6. Focus on one task at a time

Unless you are confident in your abilities as a multi-tasking person, do one thing at a time. 

If you have begun upon a task, see it through to the end. Avoid doing half work, i.e., abandoning the current task mid-way and engage with another. 

An example of half-work is writing an assignment, then, mid-way through, suddenly checking your email and social media. 

It is poor management, but it is also bad for your concentration. It leads you to lose your momentum. It is always better to focus on the task to avoid these roadblocks.


How do I cope with the feeling of being overwhelmed?

Usually, you feel this due to one of the two things. 
You may feel that you have to do everything, assuming that more is better. The best way to solve this problem is to focus on achieving just a few things by prioritizing them. 
Else, you may feel overwhelmed by looking or thinking about what needs to be done. Your mind may go to an instant panic mode as you try to get everything done.
To get rid of this feeling, jot down all the things that can be done tomorrow. Put that list in a safe place, and don’t think about anything on the list until tomorrow.

How can I stop procrastinating?

Several findings have shown that one of the biggest reasons we procrastinate is that we don’t feel that we’ve freely chosen the given work. 
If the work has been forced upon, or if you have decided to do something out of pride, guilt, or jealously, then you haven’t chosen the project. In such cases, the work is left unfinished till the last moment.
Another reason behind procrastination is that you may feel that your self-image is at stake. If you fear the result of a project or any other work may alter your public image, then work is put off as much as possible.
Once the reason behind procrastination is analyzed and dealt with, it can be easily stopped.

How do I overcome distraction?

You can overcome it by starting to set aside precisely one hour per day to work upon a single task or multiple tasks. Once you form this habit, try increasing the duration of these periods.

How can I say ‘no’ to unwanted tasks?

Time is a precious resource that cannot be even brought by money. The only way you can avoid unwanted things, which are not a part of your chosen field, is to practice saying ‘no’ frequently. 

Also Read: How Emotional Intelligence Will Help Students to get Success?

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