Do you ever feel like your days just get away from you? School assignments, work schedules, family commitments – there’s a lot to keep track of! With so much going on, it’s essential to develop good time management skills. Try these three tips to control your schedule and maximize your day.

Know your time wasters.

What habits do you have that steal your time? Does a peek at your phone lead to a half hour of checking social media posts? Has watching an episode of your favorite series resulted in a binge-watching marathon? Does playing one YouTube video stretch to ten more? While it is important to take breaks and have downtime, sometimes we can get lost in our diversions. Becoming more aware of how much time you are spending on these activities can help you set better limits.

Learn to say “no.”

Do you want to instantly add more time to your day? Get comfortable saying “no” to requests for your time from family, friends, neighbors, etc., when you truly do not have the capacity or interest to meet their needs. Remember that “no” can be a complete sentence. It is not always necessary to justify why you cannot offer assistance to someone. If saying “no” is uncomfortable for you, say, “Let me check and get back to you.” This will give you the time to consider if this request is something you really have time for.

Find a planner or calendar that works for you.

How are you keeping track of your life? Whether it’s an app on your phone, the MyIvy calendar, or a hardbound planner, choose a method that fits your style and is easy to use. Record your work schedule, kids’ schedules and activities, appointments, family obligations, errands you need to run, exercise time, and downtime. Be sure to jot down the deadlines for your school projects and tests, but also pencil in the start dates for when you need to begin working on assignments and studying for exams. Refer to your planner or calendar every day and update it often.

Learning better time management skills is a matter of turning a few positive behaviors into long-term habits. While it may take a little time and practice, the reward for your effort is feeling more productive, less stressed, and ready to take on whatever your day brings.

This Tips & Tricks column was written by Ivy Tech Indianapolis’ Student Success and Retention Office. Want to have a more successful college experience? Contact the office at

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.