For College and Life: 5 Secrets to Mastering Time Management

Time ManagementSleep, good grades or a social life. I was told you were allowed to pick two in college.

But wait, what about an internship? Or a job? Now which two are you supposed to pick?

The biggest challenge most college students say they have is a lack of time to do everything. I have developed a pretty good mastery of time management and would like to share my 5 secrets with you.

Use a Calendar

It sounds pretty basic, but a lot of people don’t use a calendar to track their commitments. I use Google calendar synced with my phone, iPad and computer calendars. I color-code and enter everything from classes, internships and volunteer time, to trips I’ve planned to see my friends and football games. I’ve also set reminders for important assignments that are due soon. This calendar, without a doubt, helps me organize my life.

Make To Do Lists

Every day I make a “to-do” list of all the tasks I need to get accomplished that day; I even write down basic things like eat lunch and take a shower. Why? Because checking something off the list, regardless of how small the task, gives me a sense of accomplishment. To-do lists organize tasks and help maximize your time during the day… and enables you to celebrate little and big wins.


After I’ve written my to do list, it’s easy to see which tasks can be done at the same time. For example, I can eat lunch and do my reading assignment for class at the same time. Or I can do my laundry while I write my midterm paper. Doing tasks concurrently saves you ample amount of time in the long run, and frees up time for other important (and fun) tasks.

Overestimate Time

My biggest struggle is estimating how much time some tasks will take to accomplish. I used to think I could read 50 pages for my law class in an hour. Realistically, it would take me 2-3 hours, which pushed into time I had scheduled for something else.

Since starting grad school, I’ve started intentionally overestimating how much time I will take to do something. I could drive to school in about an hour, but I schedule 2 hours now. I get to school earlier, and feel much more relaxed. Plus, I have free time to check off another task on my to do list. Overestimating time is a good way to eliminate the feeling that you don’t have enough time to complete everything.

Plan Time to Relax

I plan everything including. Everything!

Naps, social events, watching TV and spending time with my friends and family. When I put a nap or a football game on my calendar I know that I am serious about completing that task. Making time for yourself a priority is important for your health and your success. You have to be able to blow off steam or take time away from work and school when you need it.

To help manage my busy life, I use these methods every day. I have two internships, am maintaining a 4.0, get a decent amount of sleep every night… and still have time to spend with my friends and family. I even have a little fun. And, man, do those naps feel good.

I didn’t choose two things from the list. I chose all four. And with these 5 time management secrets, you can, too.





LaurenK_AuthorAbout the Author: Lauren Kirkpatrick is YouTern’s Social Media Outreach Intern. She graduated from San Diego State in 2011, with a Bachelors degree in Public Relations. During college she interned for Integrated Sports Marketing, and has since worked for several San Diego area PR firms while developing her passion for social media.

In her personal life, Lauren is never more than 3 feet from her iPhone or Macbook – she says “they have their own side of the bed” – (and our guess is they probably also have their own iNames!) She’s a sports junkie, TV aficionado and expert baker. Follow Lauren on Twitter!


Image courtesy of… thank you!



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