Time Management for Students Matrix

The time management for students matrix shows you ways to spend your time more wisely.

168...this is the number of hours in a week. If you are student this probably does not feel like it is enough to get all of your assignments done, projects to do, or tests to study for.

It is no surprise that many of us want to use our time more wisely.

The time management for students matrix gives you a sense of how you are spending time and ways that you can spend your time more productively. 

The time management for students matrix

Think of how you currently spend your time on the different activities that you do as a student across an average day, an average week, or an average year.

With these activities in mind consider the matrix below.

How much time do you spend in each of these quadrants? You can see that I have filled the quadrants out with activities that I consider sit in each...yours could be different.

time management for students

Ask yourself: Is the task important?

Important tasks for the student are those that are essential for achieving success in your student life. For many, this may be

  • spending time studying and working towards a career, 
  • maintaining and enhancing your health, or 
  • sharing time with family and friends.

Activities that are important are those that contribute to your goals. These exist in Quadrants 1 and 2 of the time management student matrix.

Unimportant tasks are such things as

  • surfing the Internet for various cat videos, 
  • watching TV longer than you really need to, or 
  • taking unimportant phone calls. 

Focusing on these tasks at the expense of more important tasks leads to feelings of lack of purpose as you are not moving towards your goals. These tasks exist in Quadrants 3 and 4.

Time management tip

Become a Q2 student and spend more time in the Q2 quadrant. To do this ensure that you lock in the vital few with your weekly study schedule

Ask yourself: Is the task urgent?

Asking this question is probably a good indicator of the amount of stress that you feel as a student. Urgent tasks are those tasks that are ‘tapping you on the shoulder’ and asking to be done now.

They are Quadrant 1 and Quadrant 3 tasks.

Quadrant 1 tasks are are the Urgent/Important 'must do' tasks that require immediate attention! They may be a

  • crunching assessment deadline or 
  • the study that you must do for tomorrow's exam.

Quadrant 3 tasks are not important but they are asking for our attention. For example some interruptions, emails, etc.

3. Use the time management for students matrix to prioritize your time

The symptom of poor time management is spending too much time in Quadrant 1. The cause of the time management problems is spending too much time in quadrant 3 and 4.

time management for students

The cure for your time management problems is to:

  1. reduce your time in quadrants 3 and 4 and spend more time on quadrant 2. Use your academic planner and your study schedule to do this.
  2. focus your immediate attention in quadrant 1.

By spending your time on Quadrant 2 activities you devote time to important activities before they become urgent.

The problem is that often with so many different responsibilities to juggle, students can become dominated by the tyranny of the urgent.

Overcome procrastination

Do you have the best of intentions to start studying early but you fall into the same habit again and find yourself cramming the night before. If so then goal intentions are not enough. You need an implementation plan so you don't fall for your own procrastination pick-up lines....again.

4. Good student time management involves more Q2 time

If Quadrant 2 is so important to good student time management, how can I get more time in this quadrant?

You can spend more time in Quadrant 2 by:

If you want to spend more time in Q2 and study smarter (rather than longer) consider our free study skills course.

  1. Clarify what is important. Use student goal setting to focus on your important goals. In student goal setting you can download a goal setting plan that builds upon a foundation of the values and beliefs that are important to you.
  2. Know what your timewasters are. Once you identify them (using a time management log makes it objective) then you set goals to overcome procrastination, manage interruptions, and schedule your time.
  3. Use a student planner. Develop a semester and weekly plan that focuses on activities that are important to you. Download free student planners that enable you to plan your work and then work your plan.
  4. Maintain good study techniques. Now that you have planned the time to study and put it into your schedule it is important to maintain good study habits that maximize the use of your time at the desk. I talk more about developing good study techniques that are effective time management for students.

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