In this module we will cover time management skills. Your time is valuable. Treat it accordingly by getting the most you can out of it. You are likely a busy person who is trying to take one or even a few online classes.

Many of you are either part-time or full-time students, who may or may not work. Because of these reasons you may find that there are not enough hours in the day to help you get everything done.

After completing this module, you will:

  • Learn what time management is and what your time management style is
  • Find out your personality type
  • Learn to create a schedule and discover some of the online scheduling apps
  • Discover how to prioritize your time
  • Learn to avoid procrastination with some helpful tools

What is Time Management?

Discipline, responsibility, motivation — these are characteristics that all students need in order to get the most they can out of their classes.

It is the ability to plan to control the amount of time you spend on activities. So how do you control and manage your time with your online courses?

What is your Time Management Style?

You can identify your time management style by answering these questions. We have created the following questions to help your understand your personality profile.

  • Your instructor just gave your class the prompts for your first essay, which is due in two weeks. How do you proceed from here?
  • You are working on a group assignment that requires you to split up responsibilities with 3 other classmates. When would you typically finish your part?
  • Your instructor just posted the instructions for your next assignment and you read them but don't quite understand what he's asking for in a certain part. What would you probably do?
  • You have an important assignment due Monday morning, and you have a social/work/family obligation that will keep you busy for most of the weekend. It is now the Wednesday before the assignment is due. How would you approach this dilemma?
  • You must read 150 pages before your next class meeting. You have 4 days to do so. What would you most likely do?

There are no right or wrong answers here. This is merely a chance for you to identify your time-management personality. Has your previous way of doing things worked for you, or do you think it is time for a change? You know that you can always improve.

Personality Types

The Early Bird

a. You are in control
b. Motivation is not a problem
c. You are very organized — But remember to also take the time to enjoy learning

The Balancing Act

a. You have the basic organizational skills
b. You are not always consistent
c. Remember to push the boundaries of your own expectations for yourself

The Pressure Cooker

a. You get things done always at the last minute
b. You work well under pressure, but procrastination is your weakness
c. Remember it’s a lot more enjoyable to not be stressed out when working your homework

The Improviser

a. You wait until the last minute, and miss an assignment or two
b. You think quickly but it doesn’t always pay
c. Remember, you can turn this around, and plan to organize your time in a reasonable time - don’t be afraid to ask your professor for help

Creating a Schedule

The best schedules have some flexibility built into them, as you will undoubtedly have unexpected situations and circumstances arise during your time as a student.

Now that you've evaluated how you have done things in the past, you'll want to think about how you might create a schedule for managing your time to improve on that!

Your schedule will be unique to you, depending on the level of detail you find helpful. There are some things — due dates, exam dates, and discussion times, for example — that should be included in your schedule no matter what.

But you also might find it helpful to break down assignments into steps (or milestones) that you can schedule as well. Again, this is all about what works best for you — do you want to keep a record of only the major deadlines you need to keep in mind?

Or does it help you to plan out every day, so you stay on track? Your answers to these questions will vary depending on the course, the complexity of your schedule, your own schedule, and your own personal preferences.

Your schedule will also vary depending on the course you're taking. So, pull out your syllabus and try to determine the rhythm of the class by looking at the following factors:

  • How often does your instructor expect discussion board contributions? When are they due?
  • Will you have tests or exams in this course? When are those scheduled?
  • Are there assignments and papers? When are those due?
  • Are there any group or collaborative assignments?

You'll want to pay particular attention to the timing of any assignment that requires you to work with others: they take a longer time to complete when you are learning online because it can be more complicated to schedule times to get together.

Online Applications for Scheduling?

You can find many useful resources online that will help you keep track of your schedule.

We all have exactly 168 hours per week. How do you spend yours? And now that you're a student, how much time will you be willing to devote to your studies?

The following are some very important questions that some of you might be asking.

  • Do I really need to create a study schedule when I'm taking an online course? I can honestly keep track of all of this in my head.
    • Answer:
  • Realistically, how much time should I spend studying for this class?
    • Answer: Realistically, A good rule of thumb for studying is to study two hours for every hour of class.
  • So aside from class time requirements, should I account for anything else as I draw up my schedule?
    • Answer: Determine when you are most productive and efficient. When are you the most focused and ready to learn new things, in the morning, afternoon, or evening?
  • My life and school requirements change on a week-to-week basis. How can I possibly account for this when making a schedule?
    • Answer: Try creating a variable schedule in case an event comes up or you need to take a day or two off
  • What's wrong with cramming? (It's what I'll probably end up doing anyway…)
    • Answer: There is nothing wrong with cramming. The question is how long will be able to keep it up? One month, one semester, or your entire college time. It can get very intense and nerve racking.

Prioritizing Time

  • What needs to get done today?
  • What needs to get done this week?
  • What needs to get done by the end the 1st month of the semester?
  • What needs to get done by the end the 2nd month of the semester?
  • What needs to get done by the end of the semester?

Procrastination (Avoid it)

You're already spending a lot of time, energy, and money on the online classes you're taking — don't let all that go to waste!

Are you the type that:

  • Waits until the last minute to start working on an assignment
  • Pulls an all-nighter
  • Asks for extensions
  • Uses the excuse that the Internet was down

If these sound familiar, then you might want to think seriously about whether you have the tendency to procrastinate and you want to deal with it.

Here are few suggestions to help you overcome these challenges and win this battle for your own good:

  • Manage your time accordingly by dividing your assignments into smaller chunks.
  • Turn off your phone, close your chat windows, and block distracting websites.
  • Study in a place reserved for study, where you won’t get distracted, like the library.
  • Create a “to do list” and use it to check off tasks as you move forward with your work.


Great news! You're well on your way through this Quest for Online Success course. In this module we've provided many ideas for time management and how to determine your time management style and your personality type. We also covered some tips on creating a schedule and prioritizing your time.

As stated, avoid procrastination at all costs. Easier said than done but try your best! You can find additional tools and strategies online that will work well for your individual style.

Help Links

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