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Student Success and Survival Guide: Time Management

Books & Ebooks

Time Management Matrix

Covey Stephen, R. (1989). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Simon & Shuster, USA



Specific: Detailed and clearly defines what you plan to do and how it will happen.

Measurable: Clearly defined criteria that will indicate evidence that you have accomplished your goal.

Attainable: Actionable items, slightly challenging, but realistic enough to be able to achieve.

Relevant: Results-focused on relevant, measurable outcomes, not activities.

Timely: Time-bound and linked to specific times to help produce a sense of urgency.

How long will it take?

Using SMART to plan time management:

  • Identify a specific task
  • Record the start and stop time
  • Quantify the work (example: record the number of words written or pages read)

Now you've got your baseline. Continue recording information for a few days/weeks (depending on the intensity of the task). Variation in times will help to create an overall estimate:

  • Optimistic Estimate – your best recorded time (To)
  • Most Likely Estimate – your most commonly recorded time (Tm)
  • Pessimistic Estimate – your worst recorded time (Tp)

Using the formula below, plug in your estimates:

  • (To + 4Tm + Tp) / 6 =  time estimate

Always allow for a buffer, like an extra hour set aside at the end of the day. Unexpected things happen--a buffer can help lessen the impact of unexpected disruptions. 

Adapted from University of Cambridge Wolfson College Academic Skills: Time Management


Time Management Apps & Tools

Calendar Icon - Download in Colored Outline Style


Use the calendar available from your email provider and/or your device

TimeandDate - downloadable desk calendars