We recently asked hundreds of college instructors for their best time management tip for college students. They responded with many helpful suggestions ranging from tools to simply changing your outlook on education. But the largest majority recommended planners!

Instructors who have seen thousands of students come in and out of their classrooms over the years believe that a planner is a vital tool for staying organized and getting ahead. It can be as simple as that. Share these hints with your class for getting organized.


You may well know that a planner is a highly useful time-management tool that can help you keep your important activities and responsibilities in order.

If you’re the type that has a jam-packed schedule year round, you may even find it necessary to schedule time for more than just school work. Make sure there’s space in your calendar to eat three times a day, sleep well, and stay active too! Canceling out just one of these things will make school even rougher.

Digital tools

Choose whichever type of planner works for you. The only wrong option is to not use one at all. As many of us are accustomed to using technology to simplify our lives, you may choose to use an electronic tool like Google Calendar that you can easily plug your schedule into and move around as you need.

Cengage Learning’s MindTap has been shown to improve learning outcomes by making it easy for students to stay organized and on top of their lessons. Digital classroom tools like this allow students to be more in-tune with the course material and better prepared for class.  For example, 61% of learners who use MindTap feel it saves them time, while two-thirds say the tool improves their organization.

Instructor advice

Our blog post, “Tips for Students: Advice from Instructors for Setting Priorities” lists ten suggestions from instructors themselves, such as:

  • Create a schedule of work and study and learn how to say no to low-priority items.
  • Plan to study at least a little bit for all of your classes every day.
  • Calculate how much time you need to devote to your activities, prioritize what you have time for, make a weekly schedule that reflects your commitments, and stick with it.
  • Set specific, not vague goals.

What time-management tools and strategies do you encourage your students to use? Share your ideas below.