NCI Blog

6 Important Time Management Tips for New College Students

Posted by Conor Sisk on 28 August 2023

Six Important Time Management Tips for New College Students

Starting college is an exciting and significant milestone in any individual’s life but it can feel quite daunting. Meeting new people, possibly moving away from home for the first time, combined with assignments and study can all lead to a sense of being overwhelmed, which can affect your day-to-day life.

Effectively managing your time can be a great way to deal with this anxiety as it will help bring clear structure and balance to your busy lifestyle, ensuring you can enjoy the fun, social activities of college life as well as successfully fulfilling your academic responsibilities.

We’ve compiled a few time management tips to help new college students thrive, check them out below:

1. Create a Study Schedule

A study schedule is an excellent tool for effective time management, as it will clearly outline what you need to study, how long you need to study and bring some clear and concise structure to your studying.

A schedule will also provide regular and consistent study sessions, which are more effective than cramming before exams. For example, studying for 4 hours a week for 8 weeks is more achievable (and better for your wellbeing) than studying 20 hours a week for 2 weeks as you near your exams!

Finally, a schedule can also improve your focus and productivity, as you know in advance exactly what you need to study, leaving less room for wasting time.

2. Take Study Breaks

While it is important to dedicate time to your studies during college, it is also important to know when to take a break and avoid burnout.

A popular method to help with this is the Pomodoro Technique. This involves dedicating a set amount of time to one particular task (20-30 mins for example), taking a short 2-3 min break from that task when the time has elapsed and then repeating the process. After 3-4 sessions, take a longer break.

Students find this technique to be effective as it creates a sense of urgency by creating a deadline. However it still affords you the time to stop, take a break and recharge. Not only does it help you study what you outlined, it also gives you the opportunity to take the time you need to switch off and refocus.

There are a number of apps available for you to download if you’re interested in trying this method, including Pomodoro Timer, Forest and Toggl Track.

3. Keep Note of Key Dates and Deadlines

After receiving your timetable for the upcoming semester, highlight the key dates in your calendar, including when assignments are due and when exams start. If this is not clearly visible on your timetable, talk to your lecturer who will be happy to assist.

Knowing the important dates in advance allows you to properly prepare for each deadline, ensuring you complete the work on time and to a high standard. Leaving projects until the last minute will no doubt cause you significant stress and the work produced will likely be sub-standard.

4. Remove Distractions Whilst Studying

TikTok, Twitter and Instagram are apps that provide endless hours of entertainment, but there is a time and a place for them, and it is not when you are studying!

Whether you are in a lecture, the library or studying at home, you should ensure that your phone is on silent and not within your eye line. Phones are the ultimate distractor and can seriously disrupt your time management.

When studying, ensure you are in a comfortable work environment, free of other distractions such as televisions, gaming consoles or family, housemates and/or friends. By committing 1-2 hours (or whatever length of time suits you) to focus entirely on study, you are allowing yourself to hit your academic targets. After the time is finished, you are free to use your phone all you want!

5. Stay on Top of Your Coursework

Your first few weeks in college are an exciting time, where you meet new people, join clubs and societies and socialise with your new classmates. But while the social elements of college are important, you need to ensure you stay on top of your coursework from the beginning and not risk falling behind.

It is inevitable that you will miss the occasional lecture or study period you have scheduled due to unplanned commitments which arise and this is is completely understandable. However, should this become a habit and you start falling behind in your work, you will find yourself scrambling for help and information when it comes to exam season.

By staying on top of your work, you are ensuring that you are learning the information at a suitable pace, completing your assignments with time to spare, and giving yourself plenty of free time to carry out extra-curricular activities.

Attend your lectures, take notes and ask questions as much as possible. Information that may seem unimportant at the time could be the answer you need in the final exam that pushes your paper up a grade!

6. Get Your Rest!

It may seem counter-productive but one of the best ways to manage your time is to stop and get some rest! Between assignments, lectures, commuting, extra-curricular activities, family commitments, and possible part-time work obligations, a student’s life can be hectic.

Juggling all of the above, whilst still finding time to study, can lead to burnout which can negatively affect all areas of your life.

Make sure you take time out of your schedule to rest, relax and recharge, leaving you with plenty of energy to accomplish your goals.

We have a list of fun activities available to do in Dublin for those days when you’re looking to unwind. Check them out here - 14 Fabulous Things To Do For Free in Dublin.

Interested in learning more?

If you are a part-time student looking for guidance on time management, check out our blog “How to Balance Work and Study as a Part-Time Student” which provides tips on how you can successfully integrate your college duties with your work obligations.

If you are a new student to National College of Ireland, be sure to check out our New Students section, which provides useful information on how to get settled into college life.

Topics: CAO, Advice, time management