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Study Skills

What is Time Management?

What is Time Management?

Time management is the process of planning how to divide your time between specific activities; effectively managing your time means you'll work smarter, not harder (The Mind Tools Content Team, n.d.).

Why is it Important?

As a student, why would time management be important to you? Losing track of or running out of time can be frustrating. Time management is critical when learning new things and is a skill applicable to every aspect of your life ("5 Reasons Why", n.d.).  Planning and managing your time will help you in the future with school, work, and other projects.  Developing a plan or schedule can help ensure you have enough time to devote to studying, so that you succeed in achieving your goals.

Time Management Benefits

Effective time management offers a lot of benefits.  On Indeed, author Herrity provides twelve benefits of practicing effective time management skills (listed below):

  1.  Decreased stress
  2.  Increased productivity
  3. Positive reputation
  4. More energy for free time
  5. Clear daily goals
  6. Improved focus
  7. Streamlined decision-making
  8. Reaching goals faster
  9. Improved quality of work
  10. More confidence
  11. Improved self-discipline
  12. Better workplace relationships

There are 168 hours in each week and it's important to prioritize our time. Time management expert Laura Vanderkam has discovered that many people drastically overestimate their commitments each week and underestimate the time they have to themselves. Watch the video to learn a few strategies to help find more time for what matters most:


5 Reasons why good time management is important for learning. (n.d.). AbbeyRoad Programs.

Herrity, J. (2021, January 22). 12 benefits of effective time management. Indeed.

The Mind Tools Content Team. (n.d.). What is time management? Working smarter to enhance productivity. Mind Tools.

Tips for Managing Your Time

College is an intense and life-changing experience as we learn to adopt a new perspective of thought. This requires commitment and much time in study, research, and writing, all of which require more time than we realize. Graduate students will take fewer courses than undergraduate students, but their courses are more intense and require deep, critical thinking, which requires time and energy.  At its heart, attending college will absorb more of your time than you realize and will squeeze you for energy and mental attention and focus in areas of your life where you may not even expect it.

Time Tips
Know the Structure of your Program

What courses do you need, when are they offered, and what else is going on in your life when you take those courses? Planning rigorous coursework outside of times of heavy personal demands can reduce the stress associated with time management and avoid potential setbacks.

Prepare for the Workload

Focus accordingly. Use free time for school and don’t let it get in the way of your day job. Having read this you must now consider whether or not there are crossovers between work for the job and work for education. There are times when projects at work will provide a good context for school projects. It’s always important to make sure that the employer understands what you are doing and how the structure of an academic project may result in useful work product. The benefit is that the time associated with work and school projects is maximized.

Manage the Isolation

If university isn’t challenging enough, in an online program we can feel isolated and adrift, especially if we are challenged by an assignment. And with this isolation can come feelings of hopelessness that also eat away at our time. Staying connected can help. If you are taking a challenging course, schedule a short phone call with your faculty several times during the course to stay connected and ask questions or for clarification on feedback to an assignment. The Commons is also a space to see what others share about these situations, their successes, and their challenges. It’s worth a few moments each week to check in The Commons and participate.

Take Care of Yourself

With juggling education and life responsibilities comes stress and stress is oftentimes a determinant of illness. At some point in your educational career you will need to take a short break from classes to catch up on personal responsibilities and obligations. It’s important to adhere to a timeline, but knowing when to step back is important too. An eight week break may get in the way of our personal goal of graduating at a certain time. But an unforeseen illness can work to delay our goals even farther. Know yourself and know your limitations and make good decisions.

Time Management on LinkedIn Learning

All current students have access to LinkedIn Learning, at no cost, as part of their student account. There are some high-quality courses on time management that can be found using a simple search.  Or feel free to check out this Time Management course: 

Haven't set up your account yet? Review the LinkedIn Learning LibGuide for more information.

LinkedIn Learning at NU

Chat with an Alumni Navigator or Come to Power Hours

If you are looking for some quick tips from someone who has “been there,” come chat with one of the Alumni Navigators or attend a Power Hours session.

Power Hour Sessions with picture of clock

To view information on the Alumni Navigators, access to request a 1:1, and Power Hours session details, visit the Navigators page.

You can also find more information on Power Hours, including the schedule by accessing the GSSC Calendar in The Commons.

Military Power Hour Sessions with picture of military personnel

Time Management