Time management is not something most instructors spend time covering in their courses, and yet it is often cited as one of the biggest student obstacles. We asked hundreds of instructors and college students to reveal just how confident they are in student time management skills. Try these helpful hints for improving your students’ time management practices. You may just find some helpful hints to use yourself.

As mentioned in our recent blog post, “Helping Students Find an Effective Time Management Tool,” we surveyed our  community of college instructors to determine that only 4% of instructors say all of their students demonstrate good time management. For the other 96%, a little advice can go a long way.

Students’ take on time management

What might students say about all this? To determine how students’ opinions of their own time management skills compare to those of their instructors, we asked over 900 college students: “Do you feel you demonstrate good time management skills with your classes?”

college student time managagement

Seventeen percent of students report that they “always” demonstrate good time management skills in their classes. While still somewhat low, this is significantly higher than instructors’ response of 4%. Thirty-two percent replied “usually” and 29% answered “sometimes.” Twenty-two percent admitted that they either “rarely” (13%) or “never” (9%) demonstrate good time management skills.

Opportunity awareness

It seems as though there is a significant disconnect between how students and instructors rank students’ overall time management success. As with any obstacle, the first step is addressing the issue at hand and ensuring that instructors make their expectations of quality known. This includes demonstrating the negative consequences of poor time management practices and letting students know when there is room for improvement.

If they need it, provide your students with a detailed checklist or rubric for more complex assignments. For example, if your students are turning in underdeveloped research papers, consider requiring checkpoints such as outlines and first drafts. This will get students into the habit of including these integral steps. If a student believes he or she can get by with doing work last minute, they will be poised to do so.

Instructors can often tell when a student has rushed — even within different places in the same assignment. When you notice these changes in the quality of students’ work, be sure to let them know. Some students may not be aware that this comes through their work so clearly, and this may encourage them to be more conscious of their efforts.

For actionable time management tips for your students, visit our recent blog post, “Ten Principles of Successful Time Management in College.”

What tips do you have for fellow educators looking to improve their students’ time management skills in the classroom? Share your ideas below.