The same number of hours in each day is given to everyone, but time-management skills are widely underdeveloped. If we can manage our time well, we can manage just about everything else. The ten suggestions that follow can help students increase their mastery over time:

Help students to see what’s in it for them to become better at time management: Help them to work out the benefits of well-developed time-management skills. Help them to see that personal productivity, personal efficiency and personal effectiveness are all connected to their ability to manage time. Allow them to work out that time-management skills have lifelong value and enhance all their other skills and aptitudes – and in due course enhance their empoyability too.

Get students thinking conciously about learning pay-off: Ask them what kinds of activity have a high pay-off in terms of learning. These can include discussing, explaining, summarising, problem-solving and quizzing each other. Ask them what kinds of activity have low learning pay-off, these can includ writing in copying mode, reading passively, and appearing to listen. Time is too precious to squander on actions that have only low learning pay-off.

Help students to stop and look back: Get them to reflect on things they have learned, rather than simply hope that the learning has happened by magic. Ask them to work out how their learning happened, exactly what they learned, exactly when the learning happened, and how it can be made more efficient next time.

Help students to spare themselves from the effects of procrastination: Show them how wasteful and miserable just thinking about work can be – compared with simply getting on with it. Time spent thinking about work has associations with a guilty conscience, and looming tasks. Time spent after work has been successfully completed is high-quality time – the most enjoyable sort of time. But recognise that this is a counsel of perfection, which we ourselves don’t always abide by!

Encourage students to get stuck in straight away: Remind them how often 90 percent of things tend to get done in the last 10 percent of the time available. Point out that it is therefore logical that most things can be done in the first 10 percent of the time available – leading to the luxury of having much more genuine ‘free’ time. Hint at the positive feelings and confidence that come with always having things done well ahead of schedule – and indeed the security of knowing that there is room to accommodate the odd unexpected hiccup or crisis.

Get students to set stage deadlines for themselves: Encourage them to set several stage deadlines rather than one final deadline. Encourage them to break large tasks into manageable chunks. Encourage them to set deadlines ‘early’ to allow for the unexpected.

Help students feel positive about getting ahead of schedule: Point out the benefit of doing half an hour’s work on a non-urgent task each time before starting an urgent one. The urgent one will get done, as there is pressure to complete it. The practice of doing a little non-urgent work gradually leads to a situation in which there are fewer and fewer urgent tasks. Point out that human nature is such that ‘urgent’ is often synonymous with ‘late’, but that this situation can be countered by conscious adjustment of study patterns.

Get students to do a risk assessment: Help them to identify the consequences for them of poor time management. Help them to see where their own particular risks lie. When they are aware of the risks and the consquences, they are much more likely to adjust their study habits to compensate for these.

Help students to maximise their use of peer support: Get them to use each other in setting and monitoring deadlines. Show them that the more people know about a deadline, the more likely it is to be met.

Convince students that minutes can count for more than hours: Few people have many free two-hour windows in their week; everyone has lots of five-minute windows. Using just some of the short time slots for study related tasks can pay much higher dividends than putting everything off until a two-hour window comes along.