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Career Success, Personal Growth, NSLS Blog

Time Management Hacks for Students

There is only so much time in the day. The difference between success and playing catch-up lies in how we manage our time.

As a student, graduate, or working professional with deliverables, deadlines, and goals, how you manage your time can make or break your success. Time management is one of the most valuable soft skills you can have.


Falling behind on tasks is stressful but it also significantly impacts the quality of your work. Good time management skills can make the difference between getting an “A” on that exam, meeting a deadline, and acing that job interview you’ve worked so hard to get. 

Here are some strategies that can help you work smarter and stay productive.

1. Eliminate Distractions

We all get distracted by the disruptions of daily life. Becoming aware of your biggest time-wasters is the first step to gaining back valuable time. Interrupting your workflow to reply to a text, answer an email, or check social media can take up a ton of your time without you realizing it. 

As you go about your day, be mindful of how much your digital devices interrupt your work. Check your screen time and set limits, turn off unnecessary notifications, and use productivity apps to stay focused. Choose set times to check your emails and instant messages, rather than replying to them in real-time.

2. Structure Your Day With Helpful Tools

In addition to distractions, there are other behaviors that can waste your time. Multitasking, disorganization, taking too many breaks, and creating hefty to-do lists can thwart your productivity.

  • Use a planner to keep important tasks, due dates, reminders, and your schedule in one place. 
  • Dedicate time on your calendar to specific tasks. This helps you set your schedule for the day and ensures you have the time you need to get your work done.
  • Use timers. The Pomodoro Technique has proven to be a useful productivity hack. Set a timer for 25-50 minutes, depending on your preference, for distraction-free focus time. After each working interval, take 5-15 minute breaks. This technique can be especially helpful in breaking up larger projects or managing open-ended, time-consuming tasks like studying. 
  • Take time to write a checklist at the end of the day with three main tasks you need to complete.
  • Focus on one thing at a time. There’s a difference between being busy and being productive. While multitasking might make you feel like you're getting more done, it actually makes you less productive.

3. utilize goal-setting techniques

Setting and accomplishing goals isn’t easy. Having a solid game plan is the key to successfully achieving them. Strong goal-setting strategies like SMART and PACT can help you turn your plans into manageable tasks.

4. Take Breaks

When we’re stressed, staying productive is a struggle. While it might seem counter-productive, taking breaks is part of time management. If you feel yourself spinning your wheels, spending too much time on a task, or are too stressed to get started, take a break. Walk, stretch, get a snack, or do some breathing exercises.

5. Join a Leadership Honor Society

Joining a leadership honor society at your school can help you learn valuable time management skills like: 

  • Overcoming procrastination
  • Staying organized 
  • Delegating 
  • Prioritizing 
  • Goal setting 
  • Strategic thinking 
  • Planning and scheduling 
  • Communicating effectively

Plus, you’ll be able to learn more about your leadership style and build strong leadership skills that can help you advance in your academic and professional career. 

As the only accredited leadership honor society in the nation, The National Society of Leadership and Success can help you learn how to get the most out of your time.