Ever feel overwhelmed with approaching deadlines or anxious about having many things to do and not enough time to do them? While it’s natural to feel that way at times, learning to manage your time and having a plan to help you get organized and set priorities will help ease the stress.

cartoon of Healthy Dawg juggling clocks set at various times

Time Management Tips: Remember A-B-C-D

  • A = Anticipate and plan
  • B = Break tasks down
  • C = Cross things off
  • D = Don’t procrastinate

Anticipate and Plan

To keep track of your busy life you need to have a tool–whether it’s a calendar, a day planner, or even a note pad, it needs to be something you can carry with you and that you can see at least a week at a time so that projects or tests don’t sneak up on you. Many things take longer than we think they will. If you think about things in advance and plan for the certainties, you’ll have enough flexibility in your schedule to handle those unexpected things that inevitably come up. Put everything in your calendar…tests, projects, study time, activities, etc.

Break Tasks Down

Whether you’re faced with a big task, such as graduating in 4 years, or smaller tasks, like studying for a final, it helps if you break it down into smaller, more manageable, and less intimidating parts. Here’s how!

  1. Look at the big picture. Make sure you understand what the end product is supposed to look like. Ask for examples.
  2. Examine all the parts and figure out what you need to do step-by-step. What pieces will enable you to get to the whole?
  3. Think about the logical order of completing the pieces. What should you do first, second, third?
  4. Create a timeline for completing your tasks.
  5. Have a plan to help you stay on track, and stick to it. Put the time you will spend on the project into your study schedule so that you can set aside the time for it.
  6. Complete it early enough so that you have some time left for a final review.

Cross Things Off

Make a “to do” list. This is an essential part of effective time management by helping you see everything that has to be done and by jogging your memory to remind you of what is yet to be crossed off the list. You can make immediate to do lists and longer term to do lists — putting a date when tasks are due is helpful. Once you make a list, be sure to put it where you’ll see it easily and often!

Example of an Immediate To Do List:

  1. write outline for psychology class by Friday
  2. do laundry Saturday
  3. meet with study group Sunday afternoon
  4. call mom Sunday night

Don’t Procrastinate

Following the belief of “don’t do today what you can put off until tomorrow” can lead to stress and many sleepless nights (literally!) and can contribute to academic and personal difficulties. Procrastination may simply be a way of life for many students, and this can be stressful for them as well as others around them. It might be hard to do, but take care of business first, and then do fun things. See the list below of resources on campus that can help you learn how to deal with procrastination so that you can get your work done in a more productive way.

Advantages of Being a Good Time Manager

  • You will have less stress in your life.
  • You will have more time for the things you want to do and that you enjoy.
  • You can be a better-rounded student and enjoy many aspects of college life.
  • You will be able to spend more time with friends.
  • You can learn more: efficient learners get more from classes than those who keep trying to figure out how to study and learn effectively.
  • You will be able to play more.
  • You will feel good about yourself. When you feel good about your academic accomplishments, it spills over into other parts of your life.


The UGA Health Center (UHC) wants to support you in succeeding and enjoying your experience at UGA. Experts at UHC offer knowledge and programs concerning stress management and college life.

Written by: UHC CAPS and Communications