The counseling team is here to help you learn to manage your time more efficiently. To get started, check out the tips below, and don’t hesitate to discuss this topic further by scheduling an appointment with one of our counselors.

To explore areas in your life that will help you achieve the balance you need for a successful student experience, try out our Balancing Student Life Exercise (available through your GPS pathway on AUP Engage).

Time Management Tips


How can I make busy weeks seem lighter? How can I avoid missing deadlines? How can I stop feeling guilty when engaging in leisure activities instead of getting on with academic obligations?

Plan ahead. Using a calendar that allows you to plan ahead is crucial to managing a busy schedule. At the beginning of every semester, take a broad view of all your academic commitments, such as assignment due dates and exam dates, class times and work shifts, and enter them into a physical or digital calendar. You can mark these using color codes, which will allow you to quickly identify the type of task. Doing this will give you a clear visual of both open and busy times. It will be easier this way for you to identify time for leisure and other personal activities and engage in them without feeling worry or guilt.

Here are our recommended physical calendars:


Do you think deadlines are stressful? Do you feel you are more productive when playing catch-up?

Learning to see deadlines as allies can make a big difference in the way you tackle work. They provide a framework, promote action, drive priorities and promote accountability.

Good habits:

  • Plan your own personal deadline for a date that seems realistic and is not too ambitious.
  • Split heavy assignments into chunks that seem manageable and attainable throughout your calendar.

Aiming to completing work before it’s due can help you 1) meet your deadline, 2) have a buffer for if you are ever late when completing chunks as planned, 3) avoid unnecessary stress and anxiety.

This is particularly important when working on written assignments. Good writing needs time for editing, and if the writing is completed without leaving time for revisions, the work will suffer.



How can I feel like I know exactly what to do today? How can I feel like I'm moving forward with the day’s work? How can I feel like I'm accomplishing things?

Maybe you trust your memory when it comes to following along with every day tasks. It might be time to give your memory a break! Releasing your memory from that pressure by writing down a list of what needs to be accomplished each day can be a more productive way of getting things done.

Crossing off tasks once they are finished also provides a sense of relief and achievement which is a good way to encourage yourself to keep up with work, especially during challenging moments.


Do you feel like you know where to start? Do you know what tasks to focus on next? Do you have a system to decide how to prioritize?

Set your priorities. You can try the A-B-C method which works like this: Write down all your pending tasks and then assign each one an A, B or C.

A – must be completed today

B – would be nice to finish today

C – can be pushed to tomorrow if necessary

Life might determine that a C-level task becomes an A-level task at some point, or you could find yourself with a new pending task to add to the list, but it’s OK to switch gears and update your list as well as your ranking.


Do you feel like a hamster running in circles on a wheel, or stuck in a cycle of not doing what you need to do, feeling guilty, doubtful and helpless?

Procrastination is a common enemy of time management. It can have disturbing effects on college students such as problems with sleep, but it often also leads to feelings of inadequacy, doubt, anxiety and frustration. On top of that, not learning ways to stop procrastination while being a student can lead to procrastination continuing to be a negative habit in future employment.

To tackle this problem, you can start by asking yourself this question:

Why am I avoiding the work?

You may tell yourself that the reason is because you don’t understand the assignment or the reading, or maybe you can’t seem to find the time to do the work or simply don’t want to do it. In these cases, you could talk to the professor or other students and to help see things more clearly, or you could even join a study group that encourages you to work. You may also need to revisit your priorities.

Sometimes procrastination has to do with a deeper issue and you could try asking yourself these questions:

  • What is it that I am really trying to avoid by not completing the work?
  • When I think of the task, what are the specific feelings that come up? 
  • Are my perfectionistic tendencies or anxiety causing the delay?
  • Am I avoiding any possible judgments from anyone? If so, whose?
  • What will be the consequence if I fail?

The better you understand why you are procrastinating the clearer it’ll be how to tackle the problem. These may be difficult questions to answer on your own, so don’t hesitate to chat with one of our counselors


Do you see multitasking as a way to get more things done, but somehow end up feeling frustrated or like you are heading nowhere?

Many articles and studies explain the risks of multitasking and conclude that it is not an efficient system for most people. Both our ability to focus and the quality of our work suffer when attempting to do several tasks at the same time. Instead, concentrated focus is the best way to learn and produce high-level work.

Sticking to your priorities through your planner and to-do list can make a big difference. Choose to tackle one task at a time and you’ll find yourself being more efficient and feeling better about your work.


Do you tend to deprive yourself from breaks thinking this will help you finish a task, but somehow you still can’t manage to finish? Do you push yourself to get things done at night when you know you focus better in the morning?

Being consistent is important in achieving things, but so is flexibility. Because deep focus is tiring, taking breaks is necessary when doing something that requires complete attention – especially when you notice a decrease in focus. Also, peak performance occurs when work is done during an individual’s prime work time. So, pay attention to what works best for you in terms of space and time of day.

While going on social media is often seen as a tempting way to unwind, consistent use of social media can actually reduce your ability to focus and learn effectively. Consider exercising, meditating or taking a short nap instead to increase your productivity.

It really is a question of balance. If you’ve worked on your planner and prioritized your to-do list taking into account your personal, optimal times for focusing, it’ll be easier for you to decide when to allow yourself breaks and when you will find yourself more energized and available for work.