The Importance of Time Management for Working Students

Growing up I used to dream of going to college, getting myself a nice car, an adorable apartment. Only after graduation, was I going to get married, I was gonna keep my apartment, that way I could run to my place whenever we disagree.

See I had my life planned; I was going to build my parents a palace.By the time I was in high school, I knew there was no way I was going to make my dreams come true in the order at which I wanted them.

Going to College meant that I needed to have money to pay for my tuition. If I was going to rent an apartment, I would have to have an income.

Most of us have the desire to further our education but we do not have enough funds  to do
it. We need to find ways to pay for the tution and hence a large number of us are working students. So today, i want you to know that i may not be able to sponsor you but i've got you!
A working Student

I know the pressure that comes with a never ending to do list, the frustrations that come with only four hours of sleep. The hours spent budgeting, and also trying to keep up with your social life too.

At the very core of your life right now is good time management, it’s the only way you can achieve your academic goals and keep a good professional front at work.

So I invite you to take a few minutes from your time and empower yourself by reading this article.I hope when you are done reading this article you will understand the importance of time management and most importantly be able to apply the tips that I share to better your life.

This is not just about being the best employee or the best student but it’s about being able to live a full life, being able to keep your relationships and be successful in other areas of your life.

Some of the tips I will share here will usher you to being a successful person holistically, in family and friendships, in your career and health, so you must know that you have found gold. 

Understanding the Dual Responsibilities

I don’t know what course of study you are doing but the course I am studying is for lunatics. In the first year we had 8 modules, and class started at 8am each day and ended at 4pm, except on Fridays.

On a good day ,we had lunch and on a normal day we had 5 mins between each class (that was only enough to walk to the next lecture Hall). My parents were footing the bill that year so it seemed manageable.

Many few years later, I want to go back to school and they will not be paying for me, it’s 12 modules now and it’s still the same 365 days and the fees have tripled.

I have considered getting a job and i actually got a job, I then  realized that the working hours are never going to respect the  hours of school and the amount of material that I need to study takes a large chunk out the working hours. 

So I decided that I was going to be self-employed. We will talk about that later. Today we are going to discuss the expectations that your employer has and the demands your investments are making.

At work you are expected to always be on time, to work your full hours and be as productive as possible.  You are to give your employer their money’s worth and at school you must reap your money’s worth.

Are you feeling the anxiety too?  Take a deep breath

you may just feel better at the end of this article.

The Role of Time Management

Let’s talk about time management, time management is what will help you keep it together, it speaks to being able to work each day and do enough for each day that satifies your job and your studies.

Time management to you means getting time to rest, time to study and work on your assignments and time to work, it means making time to make that phone call and check on your parents, siblings or your friend.

Time management requires much discipline but focusing your energy on its practice will prove more rewarding that any other practice you have tried before.

It involves understanding that time is a valuable resource and giving it the respect it demands. It comes with planning, organizing and dreaming in script, it’s about setting and respecting priorities, assigning time per task and maximizing produce per task.

Good time management will help you get the opportunity to be a good employee and a good student, in one season.

Strategies for Effective Time Management

So let us get started, let’s talk about the strategies for effective time management. I am going to give you 5 essential tips to work on your time management, which include:


Create a to-do list

Time Blocking

Goal setting

Avoiding procrastination

Setting Boundaries

I will also add a bonus point on how to create a daily routine.

1.    Prioritization

Prioritizing tasks is the art of choosing what is important to you, deliberately choosing what benefits you or serves you the most in each given scenario.

It is being able to differentiate between a nice to have and a must have. I read the book the Subtle art of not giving a F***, and Mark says life is so short and we do not have time to give too many F***s.

Prioritization is exactly that, what do

you esteem as worthy of your energy?Seeing that you are reading this, it means you already know where you want to go or where you want to end up.

Now you are choosing the shortest route possible towards the goal. You have already established that your academics are important and so is work because it sustains your academics.

You have already done most of the work in Prioritization, now you must zoom into your day to day, you must take the same principle into the micro activities that make up your life and practice the principle of prioritization. 

identifying important tasks

Here is the thing, nothing was ever done that is done without putting it down somewhere, without being intentional about it and luckily for you, you have a smart phone and access to journals and digital journals.

So, the first step towards prioritization is to write down the tasks that you must do, at work and at school.When you have your responsibility list written, then you must start deciding on what is important, what is urgent and what is important and urgent.

I love to use the Eisenhower matrix, it’s a simplified way of finding out what tasks should be done first and what you do

that wastes your time. When we speak of the important and urgent. We are saying, all the things written in your to do
list are important.

However, there are some that are more pressing than others. Therefore, urgent and important tasks must be done first in that list, and the important ones should take priority later.

What happens to the urgent but not important you ask? Well, you forget that you even spent energy adding it to your to do

list. The point is you need mark what you should do

Whether you choose to have a key and color code stuff or choose to write the list in order of prioritization or whatever method your wonderful brain is suggesting. Dear doer, make sure that you understand the hierarchy.

2. Create a to-do list

It is of paramount importance to be able to create a to-do list and I will show you how to go about it. but just to highlight why I find lists so important.

I have never been to the doctor to get this diagnosis, but I believe I may be suffering from ADHD. My brain is just way too active, in any given 10 minutes, if my thoughts were to be given a physical representation they would look like the roots of an avocado tree.

My brain seems to be in a constant search for getting everything done, from chores, to work projects, community responsibilities, then family and friends.

When I say family and friends, I mean individually, i think about contacting my parents and siblings at the same time. I think about my Friends and cousins every second minute of my lif, its crazy!

Lists have helped  me in that, at the beginning of each week, I get a chance to offload all my ideas and responsibilities into a space that I can look at. Once I can see it then I take a deep breath, (because best believe that list is longer than your grocery slip), then decide what can be achieved that week.

You may be reading this and thinking, “I have one list”, noo, i strongly believe it’s not enough. Listen, I have a list for my work goals, a list for my house/home goals, I have a list for my church goals, a list for my school goals.

At the beginning of each week, I take each list and see how I can split the items across the week. Is it a lot of work? Perhaps, but it gives me a sense of direction, reduces my anxiety and stress levels.

I truly believe I am more productive on the weeks that I prepare my lists than on the days I do not. Because even when it is lazy day, best believe at one thing is going off the day’s list.

Here is how my lists are structured. They are not perfect but they are working for me, you are welcome to use the same structure if you believe it will work for you. 

  • Outline your responsibilities – I find that my cell phone’s notepad suffices for this. This is not the actual to do list, it is just about acknowledging what makes you who you are. It should look like this:
  • I am a father
    •  Taking the kids to school
    • Spending time with the kids during the weekend
    • Attending parents meeting
    • Helping with homework
  • I am a manager
    • I must always be on time for work
    •   Always communicate with my team
    • Follow up with my team
    •  Drive the work vision
  •  I am a Son
    •  Must support my parents
    • Must make time for my parents
  • I am a Brother
    •  Must lead my siblings by example.
    • Must keep contact with my siblings.

I’m sure you get it now, it’s about acknowledging that you are alive and what roles you take up in the world. 

Then you create different lists stemming from the responsibility chat. The lists are inspired by your responsibilities. For example, as a manager what are you supposed to do this week? As a son, what are you supposed to this week?

  •     Work
    • Must bake 120 muffins for the order placed by ‘Potato’.
    • Must sell at least €80 worth of my weekly bakes.
    • Must make special combos for the next Holiday.
  • Home
    • Clean the house.
    • Do the laundry.
    • Mow the lawn.
  • Family
    • Visit the rents.
    • Skype my sister
    • Send my Brother money.
  • School
    • Study and finish the chapter about Inflammation.
    • Practices the respiratory tests.

As you write this list you are trying to be reasonable as you write what you need to do. Once that has been completed try to fit into a day. Be mindful that one task can span through the whole week.

You can mow the lawn in three days, having sectioned it in three parts. My advice is, whatever you choose to do, make sure that you do at least two tasks a day and the tasks that must be repeated should be done at least thrice a week.

3. T

I like to think of time blocking as a mental bubble of productivity, it’s the mind your own business of business. Time blocking is the effort (I say effort, because like I said my brain is faster than the fastest Koenigsegg) of focussing on one task at a time.

No multitasking, and no distractions, It also involves specifically scheduling the tasks of the day into times of the day, in the same way, you need to assign time length per task. It looks like:

  • Mowing the loan – from 07:00am -10:00am (2 hours)
  • Rest – from 10:00am – 10:30am (hot shower while at it)
  • Study -from 10:30am – 02:30pm (practice the pomodoro here)

I think you get it now. For emphasis, time blocking is maximising your focus on a project at hand within a bracket of time.

4. Goal Setting Setting short-term and long-term goals

I am not going to drag this one because I believe that you already know what goals are and what yours are. This is meant to be a quick reminder and an encouragement, to let you know that your efforts are not in vain.

Goals will keep you focused on the price, I find that no matter how playful I choose to be, there are little efforts I make to make progress, even if it’s half a step towards it, it Is a step.

Goals, more than being reminders, are purpose, they give the planner a purpose to live and make you feel guilty for being lazy.😏 Goals inspire our to-do lists; they inform what makes the list.

You probably have goals only at school and work, but you can set goals even within your responsibilities as I have demonstrated. The idea of good time management anchors on goal setting, it is very important to be able to set goals and follow.

5. Avoiding Procrastination 

Strategies to overcome procrastination

My biggest struggle in productivity is Procrastination, I am a big dreamer, I have goals for days. I have lists, upon lists, I can plan for days but between me and success is doing.  Procrastination is my biggest enemy and I am almost sure that I am not the only one in this boat.

Procrastination is the little feeling of false comfort that comes with reasoning around a task you have already decided to do. It’s that conversation in your head, that you did not plan to have and that you should be not having.

That little voice in your head that tells you that you will wake up In 5 minutes, that voice that tells you that you will do

it after the episode ends, that evil voice in a sweet tone.

That voice is the reason why you are failing the module, it’s the reason you are always late and before it swallows up your career efforts and flush out all your dreams we will try to conquer it together.

We can begin with breaking down each task into a smaller, less intimidating task. For example, you are looking into building a house from scratch, instead of leaving that project as,’ build house’. You, again, write a list to break it down

  • House
    • Foundation
      • Buy 600 bags of 50kg Cement
      • Get Contractors 
      • Work out a payment plan with the contractors 
      • Etc…

Secondly , set clear deadlines, put a time frame to this project, otherwise it will take forever to be completed. Lastly, avoid distractions, the last one is pretty hard because it requires a yay amount of discipline. Unfortunately, there is no way around it,we all need to  master discipline.

Other things that you could do to stay motivated is having a vision Board, you must look at that board as often as you can so that you keep the flame for the dream burning. You could also create a reward system that you use to encourage yourself in productivity. 

5.Setting boundaries and managing commitments

  Learning to Say No 

I truly believe that saying no is as complicated as proving the congruence of more than 2 shapes. We do not always know what we should say and we are almost always caught off guard.

My default answer is always yes or i will see what i can do and a lot of hours after accepting to do

this favor, i start asking myself, why did they not do
it themeselves?

I never really get an answer, but I definitely accumulate more work. I find that, because of my overly understanding nature, I have a daunting to do list.

I have come to realize that each time I take up new projects, I risk the excellence of the ones I am already working on. The new project has to share in the time and energy that are allocated to the existing projects. 

The other thing that I struggle with is fatigue. This is because, the more tasks and projects you add, the more of you, you need to satisfy the demands of those things.

I slice myself too thin, there is never enough of me, when I keep amassing stuff to do, I always forget, unless I employ someone to help me, there simply isn’t enough me to do everything.

I have been trying to practice a few things to help myself and try to manage my workload. Here is what i have trying:

  1. Always remember that you are doing something – always remember that you are already busy with a task or project. Therefore, with this in mind, I believe it gives me a second heartbeat before replying to a request. It gives me a moment to reflect on what it is that I am currently working on and see if I can fit the request somewhere.
  2. Think about it – I realized that there is actually no need to reply on the spot, take time to think about it, if it’s urgent, remember it is not your emergency, think about it. You can think fast because you are kind, but take a moment to think about it, the effort needed to complete that task, the consequences of taking it up and how far you are willing to go. 

Apply these two techniques and let me know how it goes. 

Tips for Implementing Time Management in Daily Routine

  • Create a daily Schedule 

you are more than welcome to reread parts of this article that speak to creating a daily schedule

Utilizing productivity tools and apps

 I am not the most organized person I know, in fact I rank very highly in the disorganized club of people. Sometimes when I get anxiety, I flip that to-do list, I start anywhere on that list and I take such long breaks, they give me even more anxiety.

Lately I have been trying to use all the help I can get. I use apps, journals and peers to stay organized and productive. I find that apps like the google calendar, phone note apps, other productivity apps like Trello and Evernote.

I encourage you to try using productivity apps and see if they can work for you, you have very little to lose and a lot to gain. I have a number of applications you can check out, however you are also welcome to find an app that you prefer.

  • Applications
    • Google calendar – I use it for scheduling important appointments and due dates. Here are some other calendar apps you could use:
      • Any-do
      • Fantastical calendar
      • Microsoft outlook calendar.

Here are apps that you could use for your to-do list:

  • Jira
  • Trello
  • Google tasks
  • Todoist
  • Task management

Here are some time tracking apps that help you track where your time goes:

  • Rescue time
  • My hours
  • Simple time tracker
  •  Taking breaks and managing stress

You are not a macho man and even if you are you will fumble at one point, so remember to take breaks from your productivity schedule and regroup. Be graceful, and even during your studying and remember to be kind to yourself in the journey of becoming great.

Also bare in mind that grace and kindness do not substitute discipline and hardwork on priorities and maintain as much order as you can. Get some rest whenever possible and remember to workout.