The Time Budget

The Time Budget

You spent the last 18 years having everything structured and controlled for you by others.  Think about it… your waking times, meals, class schedule, co-curricular activities, bed times, work hours, and weekends were all structured by teachers, parents, coaches, employers, and so on.  Now you are in college where no one controls your time except YOU.  Here are a few hints on how to get started with taking control of your time.

  1.  Complete the Time Budget below by starting with the Actual column.  Honestly fill in how many hours you spend during a 7-day week (including weekends) on each activity/category.  If there is something that you do that does not have its own category, place it by miscellaneous.  Total up the number of hours you are spending and subtract it from 168, which is the total number of hours in a 7-day week.  How many hours do you have left over?
  2.  What do those left over hours mean? If you have less than 10 hours remaining you may have too many obligations and need to eliminate some.  If you have more than 20-25 hours left over, you are probably not structuring your week as you should.  Being structured is what will help you make sure that all of your priorities are completed and it will also ensure that you will have time for yourself to do the things you enjoy.
  3.  Now use the Ideal/Goal column to list the number of hours you would like to spend in each category in order for you to be successful.  Keep in mind that you are here to be academically successful but you must also have a balanced schedule with time for recreation and friends. HINT: For every hour in class, a successful student will spend 2 – 3 hours (minimum) outside of class reading, reviewing, and studying.
Activity Actual Ideal/Goal
Class time (# of hours sitting in class and lab)
Studying (reading, homework, papers, etc)
Employment or Volunteer Time
Recreational Activities (exercise, shopping, etc.)
Involvement (student organizations, Church, etc)
Watching TV, computer time (IM), games, etc.
Social time  (friends, phone, etc.)
Miscellaneous (errands, laundry, travel time, etc.)

Total Hours __________

168  – _______(TOTAL HOURS)  =  ______ (REMAINING TIME)

Questions to Consider:

  • On what activity do you spend the most amount of time?
  • On what activity do you spend the least amount of time?
  • What needs to change for you to be successful?