Time Management Tips – Breakdown of a Typical Student’s Daily Schedule

Posted by Sam on 4/25/16 9:30 AM

Ever wonder where all your time went? Interested in liberating up to 50 hours each week that you never realized you had? Want a productive schedule that guarantees you a large chunk of time every day for fun and entertainment?

In this article, I’ll provide a full breakdown of the daily schedule of an average student in high school and college (contrary to expectations, daily time schedules for high school and college can be quite similar), showing you just how much more time you could have to be productive if you simply tried, and listing out the actionable steps you can take to get there. Hard facts and data do a better job at convincing than any amount of motivational rhetoric.

Let’s cut to the chase.


You have 24 hours each day

- 8 hours sleeping: That’s five 90-minute sleep cycles, which is about how much sleep that most students tend to get, plus 15 minutes to fall asleep and 15 minutes to wake up.

- 1 hour in the bathroom: Let’s say you spend an hour in the bathroom each day, brushing your teeth, showering, fiddling with your hair, shaving, washing your hands, urinating, etc. Yes, small things add up.

- 2 hours eating: Let’s say you spend 30 minutes on breakfast, 45 minutes having lunch, and 45 minutes eating dinner. Let’s say you prefer taking it slow and chatting with friends and family as you eat, even though you could totally wrap up each meal in 20 minutes.

- 1.5 hours on transportation: This means walking around, driving, or taking public transportation. Again, small things add up.

= 12 hours of free time – After subtracting the amount of time it takes to keep yourself biologically functioning (and being quite generous at that), we’re left with 12 hours, which is half of the time we thought we had at first. Ok, let’s continue. 

- 6 hours in class: For college students, this means having four 1.5h lecture classes each day, which is already a very packed schedule that most people don’t have. For high school students, this means starting school at 8AM and getting out of school at 4:30PM, with one 1h lunch break and 1.5h of breaks squished in between (some of which can be allocated to the 1.5h you spend on transportation).

= 6 hours of actual free time – This is how much free time you actually have to spend outside of school.

- 3 hours of social and personal activities: This includes time spent with a club, with a sports team, working out, volunteering, working part time, partying, hanging out with friends, and working on any personal hobbies - art, music, programming, reading, writing, even gaming and watching TV. Everybody needs a life.

= 3 hours of “spare” time for work – Seems fair to split your work and play time 50-50. Although let’s be honest: if you actually spent 3 hours hardcore studying every day, you’d be way ahead of where you are right now. So…

- 1 hour procrastinating: Let’s say you spend an hour idling around. Scrolling through Facebook, watching one Netflix video after another, doing laundry and cleaning out your room, chatting with your friends, hallmates, housemates, pretty much anybody you bump into, because you don’t feel like doing work.

= 2 hours for actual work


Two hours.

After allowing for an awesome schedule that prioritizes play over work, we still have two full hours to spare, which should be more than enough for homework and test prep.

Doesn’t seem like a lot?

How about this: Would you like to have one free day every two weeks? And not just any free day – a free supercharged day where you don’t have to sleep at all, you don’t have to eat every few hours, and you can just keep doing whatever you like doing without getting tired of it? Sure, the time may be spread out across the week, but the accumulated effect is the same.

If one year is 52 weeks, then you basically get 26 extra days. Which means, for every year you live according to this generous lifestyle, you basically get an extra February for free.  An extra supercharged February.


Still not enough?


How to free up even more time for yourself

According to the aforementioned schedule, these options should be totally feasible if you feel like being extra productive:

+ 1 hour by eating quickly: Previously you had 30, 45, and 45 minutes for each meal, respectively. Technically speaking, you could also eat quickly and spend 20 minutes on each meal, which cuts your time spent eating in half.

+ 1 hour by cutting back on your social life and entertainment: Let’s face it, 2 hours is plenty of time to chill and relax. 3 hours is great, but 2 hours is enough. 

+ 1 hour by not procrastinating: Duh.

+ 1 hour on weekdays by having a normal college schedule: Using class times at Wesleyan University as an example, most courses take 3-5 hours each week, which means if you’re taking five 5h courses, you’ll be spending 25h in class each week, not 30h. This means you’ll have an extra hour each day if you stick to a five-course schedule. Moreover, if you’re taking it easy with four 3h courses, you’ll be spending 12h in class each week, which means you’ll get over 3 extra hours of spare time each weekday.

+ 6 hours on Saturdays and Sundays: Because the original assumption was that you were a maniac who either taking extra classes or working full-time on weekends.

If you count all of that, you can basically have over 6 hours for work each weekday and over 10 hours of free time on Saturdays and Sundays. That’s 50 hours each week, which means you actually get two full supercharged days each week to spend on work.

Or, you know, you could spend half of that time on work, and the other half on other aspects of life.

For every week you live like that, you get an extra weekend. For every month you live like that, you get an extra week. For every year you live like that, you get three extra months, which is basically an extra summer break.


Motivated, much?


Check out our tutors if you’d like help managing all that extra time! We can help you design a personalized studying schedule to maximize your temporal returns.


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Interested in more hard and fast tips on managing your time? Check out our other blog posts on the subject!

5 Ways to Reduce Procrastination While Studying or Paper Writing

Here Are the Best Time Management Tips for Test Prep

Effective Study Skills: Obligation to Self-Determination


Tags: study skills