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Time Management Strategies

Tips to Make Studying at Swarthmore a Little Easier


  • Start with the big picture. What are your goals? Decide on your priorities for the semester. What things are most important to you? What do you value?
  • Plan for the short-term and the long-term. Focusing on one at the expense of the other can lead to conflicts and forgotten obligations.


  • Create a calendar for all of your assignments. Mark the due date for each. Then determine the date on which you need to begin working on each assignment. Reach out to a Student Academic Mentor (SAM) if you would like help with your planning. Be realistic. Things often take longer than planned. Break large assignments like research papers into smaller, more manageable tasks.
  • Create a weekly schedule. Divide each day into hours. Plot out the time for your classes, studying, study breaks, extracurricular activities, eating, sleeping, socializing, exercise and other commitments. Be sure to include time for rest and fun.
  • Allow for flexibility in your weekly schedule. The unexpected can happen. Don’t feel that you need to schedule every hour rigidly.
  • Study for challenging subjects during the times of day when you are most alert. Be honest about your concentration level. Everyone’s attention span and style of working is different. Give yourself permission to take breaks when you need them.

Additional tips

  • Use small pockets of time to your advantage. For example: if you have ten minutes before your next class, review your course notes from your most recent class.
  • Be aware of procrastination. If you find yourself spending hours planning your schedule, you might be procrastinating. Turn off electronic devices that might distract you from your work (e.g. cell phone, social media, etc.).
  • Give yourself a reward for accomplishing a task. Spend time talking with friends, play, have fun, listen to music, read for pleasure. It is important to have down time. Time spent rejuvenating will benefit you in the long run.