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Time Management is Self-Management

The difference between students who manage their time well and students who don't is not the amount of time they have available.  Every student has the same amount of time available each day - 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, and 86,400 seconds.  The difference lies in how students choose to manage themselves.  Those with good time management are those with good self-management. 

Self-management is a process of evaluationprioritizing and organizing one's tasks.  Once committed to this process students should feel less anxiety and more satisfaction at the end of the day.


Before you begin managing your self and your available time, it is important to know what you value and your personal goals. 

  • What do you value?
    • Whether we are cognizant of it or not, we make choices based on what we value.  We are most happy with our choices - and feel satisfied with our day - when we spend our time on what we value most.
  • Personal Goals
    • What do you want out of life?  Why are you attending college at Purdue University?  It is important to understand your answers to these questions and define goals centered around them.
    • Personal goals should always:
      • Be measurable and clear.
      • Include both short and long-term goals.

Degree Planning Worksheet  (PDF) (Excel)

Most of our students, albeit all of them, want to graduate within 4 years with a degree from Purdue University.  Use this to keep track of courses completed and plan future semester coursework.  Students are also required to use the Student Educational Planner (SEP; video) in myPurdue Plan.  MyPurdue Plan is a web-based tool used to monitor academic progress toward degree completion.  Purdue University expects all students to plan coursework using the SEP for at least three semesters in advance to help the University better establish demand for courses. 


Once you know what you value and your personal goals, it is important to prioritize. 

We all need to make choices and sacrifices from day to day.  To help do so, students should determine the priority of tasks:

  • Urgent
  • Important
  • Not important

If one self-manages well, there should be less urgent tasks to have to focus on.  Good self-management reduces these.  However, things do come up and a good time management plan will allow for flexibility so that urgent tasks can be completed.


Once you have identified tasks and prioritized them, it is helpful to organize your time.  There are a variety of tools to help students do this - planner, schedules, to-do lists, project boards, apps, etc.  What works for one person may not work for another.  Try everything until you find something that works well for you!

Weekly Time Planning Worksheet (PDF) (Word)

Use this to plan your weekly schedule.  This may serve as a "master schedule" for your week or as a substitute (or supplement) to an academic planner.

Long-Range Planning Worksheet (PDF(Excel)

This is a 16-week calendar to help you see when exams are scheduled and assignments are due throughout the semester.  This worksheet will help you better plan for those busy moments in the semester when "everything is due."


Self-management is a continuous process.  It is important to reexamine your time management plan.  Are you spending your time on what you value most?  Are you meeting your short and long-term goals?  A good sign that your time management plan isn't working for you is feeling anxiety and dissatisfaction.  If this is the case, don't be afraid to ask for help!  Contact your advisor or visit the Academic Success Center.

Academic Progress Report (PDF) (Word)

Want to know your grades at any point in the semester?  Use this to keep track of your performance in your classes.

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