How to master time management as a college student in 2024

Get the most out of your time at college in 2024 with our top tips for time management. From studying techniques to self-care, here's how to juggle all of your commitments while enjoying all that college life has to offer!

How to master time management as a college student in 2024
Photo by Element5 Digital / Unsplash

Your college years are some of the best of your life. But they’re also some of the busiest, and the most full of commitments! As a student, how are you supposed to juggle studying, internships, and hobbies with self care, life admin, the gym, and your social life?

Having a balanced, happy time at college is all about getting to grips with time management. But don’t worry - it’s not as complicated as it sounds!

Here are some of our top tips for staying organized and managing your time this year - so you can feel in control of your most precious resource, and get the most out of 2024 💪

  1. Create a schedule

First things first, you can’t manage your time properly without creating some kind of schedule.

At the start of each week, you can sit down and write out everything you’ve got coming up over the next 7 days - and everything you need and want to achieve. This will include ongoing daily reminders, when your assignments are due, when you’re seeing friends, when you plan to work out, and even when you want to block out some time just for you. 

You can always just use the notes app on your phone for this, or you can be super organized and buy a weekly planner to block out your time. After all, this is a great excuse to get yourself a cute new accessory: why not treat yourself to a special 2024 planner so you can keep track of your assignments, extracurriculars and social plans? 

  1. Prioritize daily tasks

When you’re working on creating your weekly schedule, don’t overload yourself with too many goals for one day. Think about what you need to get done today, and create a list of ‘must-do’s’, then create separate lists of things you need to focus on over the course of the week and year, and of your overarching goals. 

This way, you’re making yourself aware of all you need to get done - without overwhelming yourself. And speaking of not overwhelming yourself, let’s move on to tip three:

  1. Break down daunting tasks and set realistic goals

An assignment can quickly get overwhelming when you leave it to the last minute, then try to tackle it all at once! You know what that leads to? Having to cancel all your plans and deprive yourself of sleep while you’re stuck in the library with your head down for three days 😱

A better way to manage those big demands and deadlines is to break them down into small, achievable tasks and tackle them over the course of your term or year. That might mean you have to be a bit disciplined and set aside 30 minutes a day to get your reading done, or break up an assignment into research, writing, referencing and proofing tasks and split those mini goals up over a few weeks. 

Quick tip: When you’re looking at your schedule or diary, you can take all the weekly tasks and assignments you’ve identified, and break them down into smaller chunks that you can then assign to different days. 

  1. Limit distractions

This might sound like an obvious one, but it’s always worth mentioning: don’t use your phone or look at social media while you’re busy studying! And the reverse is also true: don’t stress about work when you’re meant to be relaxing or spending time with friends. 

The great thing about managing your time effectively is that you’ll be able to be present and focussed on whatever you’re doing in that moment - so you can be free from study worries when you’re enjoying a movie night with your friends, and completely undistracted by the group chat when you’re working on your essay. 

  1. Try the Pomodoro Technique

If you struggle to stay focussed while you’re working or studying, why not try the Pomodoro Technique: a time management method based on 25-minute stretches of focused work broken up by 5-minute breaks. 

If you’ve got an hour of work to do, you can put your head down and get to work for 25 minutes, knowing that at the end of it you get five minutes to relax, grab a coffee, or text back your friends, and then switch off your phone and get back into work mode for another 25 minutes. It makes the work feel much more manageable, and the short break gives you a mini ‘reward’ to look forward to so you can keep pushing through!

There are also a whole bunch of apps and websites which can help incentivize you to stay focused. Take Forest App, which lets you plant and grow trees while you work, or Pomofocus; a site which lets you put the Pomodoro Technique into practice with timed work sessions and breaks. Your Alexa timer will work perfectly, too! 

  1. Make use of services which save you time on shopping for essentials, and returning your items

Did you know that you can set up subscriptions for deliveries of everyday essentials that run out, like razors and toilet paper? If that sounds like a life-saver to you, we recommend giving Bumboo or the adorable Estrid razors a try. This is also a cost-effective way to shop for household essentials when you have college housemates, as you can all split the bill each month so no one has to do all the household shopping.  

As a college student, we know you’ll also probably be doing a lot of shopping for clothes online! And we also know those returns can be a real time drain - especially if you don’t have a post office nearby. With the ReturnQueen app, you can save hours of time on packaging, posting and keeping track of returns by scheduling your returns to be picked up right from your college dorm. ReturnQueen will make sure you never miss out on a refund again - and help you tick returns off your to-do list as often as you need, without any of the hassle! Just download the app to try it yourself - your first 7 days are completely free! 

  1. Practice self care

This is an important one. You won’t do your best work - or be able to get a good handle on your time management - unless you’re making time for yourself each week, and each day. 

Since self care should be one of your top priorities, we’d recommend writing it into your daily schedule the same as you would if you were going for dinner with a friend. Block out time to have a bubble bath, do your skincare or read your book in the evening! 

Once you know all of your other priorities will all be taken care of in the time you’ve allocated for them, you can enjoy your ‘you time’ guilt-free, and have your most relaxed and productive year yet. 

  1. Review and reflect

Every so often, it’s a good idea to take a look at your schedule and how you’re spending your time. Are you happy with how much time you’re spending with your friends, studying and doing your hobbies? Are you getting enough ‘you time’? You might realize there are parts of your life you want to be spending more time on, or things you should be doing less. 

Your schedule may never be perfect (as life always throws curveballs our way!) but stay flexible and adjust your diary accordingly to make sure that on the whole, you’re always happy with how you’re spending your time. 

You’re ready to use your time wisely!

Once you’ve started putting all the tips above into practice, you’re well on your way to being an organized, productive and balanced time management Queen. Now go and enjoy all that college life has to offer!

To start saving hours of time (and a whole bunch of money!) with hassle-free returns, find out more about how ReturnQueen works and download the app here.