How to manage your time and your priorities

Dana is a 3rd year Digital Culture BA student from Saudi Arabia.
Dana is a 3rd year Digital Culture BA student.

Hi, I’m Dana, and I’m going to tell you about managing your time and your priorities.

Being a student can be stressful on its own—from managing responsibilities to finances to adapting to new routines and schedules—but nothing stresses a student out more than the overwhelming workload and stress that come from uni. So I’m here to share a few tips on how to manage your time, your workload and how to relax during stressful periods.


Time management
During my three years at university, time management was key. It was what drew the line between an excellent essay and a fair essay. It might sound quite the classic and clichéd piece of advice, but only because it is something that needs to be emphasised! Time management is all about setting your priorities straight, yet maintaining a healthy balance between your education and your personal life.

As a student one of your top priorities should be university, so always make sure it’s on the top of your to-do list. And speaking of lists, always have one! Sometimes it can be helpful to have two lists, or even more, so you can separate the categories and not end up having a list that has a bunch of categories mixed together — such as education, social life and personal errands. Not that it is a bad thing to have one list for everything, but sometimes it can give you anxiety to look at a very long list that has different levels of priorities on it, leaving you confused with where to start.

If you get really stuck on where to start, check out this simple diagram I picked up from one of my lectures from the book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Cohen. It helps break up priorities into 4 quadrants.


Prioritising Tasks

Source: Stephen Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Urgent Not Urgent
Important Quadrant 1:

Urgent & Important

Quadrant 2:

Not Urgent & Important

Not Important Quadrant 3:

Urgent & Not Important

Quadrant 4:

Not Urgent & Not Important

  • Quadrant 1 is for the immediate and important deadlines.
  • Quadrant 2 is for long-term strategizing and development.
  • Quadrant 3 is for time pressured distractions. They are not really important, but some wants it now.
  • Quadrant 4 is for those activities that yield little if any value. These are activities that are often used for taking a break from time pressured and important activities.


Good luck!

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