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Where Does My Time Go?

To develop a better sense of your current time management, reflect on:

  • Your current habits. 
    • Consider your likes, dislikes, and energy levels.
  • What you currently have to juggle in your life.
    • Consider things such as work, school, and personal matters.
  • What your average day looks like. 
    • Consider how much time you spend on routine tasks.

If you aren’t entirely sure where your time is going, spend a week keeping an accurate record of where you are spending your time:

  • Be as accurate as possible.
  • Be honest with yourself! 
  • Review your findings. 
  • Were there any surprises? 
  • Ask questions 
    • Was this a typical week?
    • What days or times did I study best?
    • Did I make enough time for self-care and relaxation?
    • What distracted me or prevented me from accomplishing different priorities?
    • How will the decisions I am making right now help or hinder me in the future?
    • How often do I need breaks?
    • When do I feel the most energetic and alert? 
    • Reflect.
  • Think about what you want to change or do differently.

Check out the following resource from Lumen Learning, which provides many strategies and self-assessment tools to help you manage your time.


Time Management Inventory

This self-assessment survey will help you identify the time management strategies you use and the skills you need to develop to refine your organization and time management.
Take the survey - Time Management Inventory
Score each statement from one (this is not typical of me) up to five (this is very typical of me).

1. I find myself pacing and planning my tasks throughout the term, and I am rarely stressed about deadlines and commitments.

2. I set aside time every week for planning, scheduling and setting out my priorities.

3. I create a realistic and achievable daily “to do” list.

4. I know which tasks are high, medium and low priority. 

5. The tasks I work on first during the day are the ones with the highest priority.

6. I prioritize the tasks I have to do in terms of their importance and urgency. 

7. I begin working on semester-long projects early in the term.

8. I begin reviewing my notes and studying for an exam from the first week that material is assigned or covered in the lecture.

9. I set specific, achievable short-term goals to help decide what tasks and activities I should work on and determine what I should study.

10. I think about the future, set long-term goals for myself, and understand the steps required to achieve these goals.

11. I leave contingency time in my schedule for unexpected or unplanned interruptions.

12. I take breaks and practise self-care, and I have developed clear boundaries between my social life and work life.

13. I begin my study time with my most difficult tasks first. 

14. I break down my tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks.

15. I use small gaps in my schedule to chip away at relatively complex tasks.  

16. I set deadlines for myself if they are not provided for me, and I share my plans and goals with others to increase my accountability.

17. I anticipate things that will distract me, and I manage or minimize those distractions so that I can focus on my work.

18. I complete most of my studying during my most productive hours each day. 

19. I use a calendar or spreadsheet to track all of my assignments and test deadlines.

20. I study one to three hours for every one hour I spend in lecture.

21. I know how much time I spend on the various tasks I complete.

22. I use a study planner to keep track of the hours I spend studying and ensure I review course content at the most optimum times.

23. Before I take on a new task, I assess whether or not I can balance it.

24. I concentrate on one important task at a time, and I avoid multitasking. 

25. I think of being a full-time student as I would a full-time job.

These statements are all strategies to manage your time effectively! 

There are 25 statements in this list, and each is ranked from 1 to 5. Your total score can range anywhere from a low of 25 to a high of 125. If you scored at the lower end of this range – say, below 50 – you need to work on your time management strategies. You have already developed some robust time management strategies if you scored at the higher end of this range – say, above 85. See if you can get all of your scores to a 4 or 5 to meet your deadlines and commitments consistently.


“Time Management Calculator: Where Does My Time Go?” (n.d.). Ferris State University. Accessed at: 

The self-assessment survey was adapted from the following sources:

“How Good Is Your Time Management?” (n.d.). Mindtools. Accessed at: 

“Study Skills Inventory.” (n.d.). University of Redlands, Academic Success & Disability Services. Accessed at: 

“Time Management Inventory.” (n.d.). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, The Learning Centre. Accessed at: 

“Time Management.” (n.d.). Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. Accessed at: