Weekly Digest #34: Time Management
A frequent question that we receive from our students is about how to manage all of their various responsibilities and still have time to complete their studies. This week we dive into the somewhat murky area of time management. The internet is full of tips and tricks for time management, but it is difficult to discern which of these have research support. Below are resources which include some “tips” but others that provide information related to the (lack of) research support related to time management techniques.
1) Time Management for Students: a Psychological Explanation of Why We Struggle by Dr. Jennifer Jill Harman, @jenjillharmon
In this research-supported article, Jennifer Harman provides several explanations for why students (and others) tend to fail at time management and how time management can be improved. Specifically, she discusses the planning fallacy in which we are very poor estimators of how long it will take to complete a task, even when we have completed it before.
2) College Students’ Barriers to Effective Time Management by Tami Strang
Tami Strang describes a survey that was conducted by Cengage examining if and how students have trouble with time management. Included are the various reasons students report having difficulty with time management and some tips for how to solve some of those issues.
In this article, NYU provides 13 tips for time management with some realistic ideas for how to implement them. These tips can be applied to college, but also to anyone who has multiple roles and responsibilities. We want to note that these tips do not have very clear research backing, but they are straightforward and worth considering.
4) 6 Time Management Tips for College Students by Jess Mansour Scherman
Jess Sherman provides tips specifically for college students trying to manage the many different responsibilities that they have to juggle. Again, there is not necessarily a lot of research to back up these tips, they are good ideas for college students.
5) A Review of the Time Management Literature by Brigitte J.C. Claessens, Wendelien van Eerde, Christel G. Rutte, and Robert A. Roe
For our final resource, we wanted to provide one research study looking at the overall effectiveness of various time management tips and interventions. Unfortunately, most of the research is based on self-report and without clear definitions of time management. The findings do seem to indicate that better time-management results in better mental health outcomes, but not necessarily academic performance.
Take Away Points
- Humans are horrible at time estimates, college students included.
- There are lots of websites that are not evidence-based that will give lots of advice about how to improve academic performance using time management skills.
- While time management is important for giving students (and others) a sense of control and is associated with improved mental health outcomes, there is not enough evidence to conclude that time management interventions will necessarily increase academic performance.
Every Sunday, we pick a theme and provide a curated list of links. If you have a theme suggestion, please don’t hesitate to contact us! Our 5 most recent digests can be found here: